Although the details of Christmas celebrations have long been features of 1-year or 5-year diaries, in 1899 Bowling Green merchants L. D. Potter & Co. gave their customers a little pamphlet-style “Christmas Diary” to make a special record of the season. Cora (Gossom) Morningstar (1866-1926) picked one up and used it to note few incidents of her Christmas Day. She arose at 7, and breakfasted at 9. Under “state of weather,” she wrote “cold and snow.” She enjoyed a Christmas dinner of turkey, cranberry sauce, biscuit, macaroni, oysters, olives, sweet potatoes and peas; for dessert there was ice cream, cake, nuts and raisins. Cora’s dinner guests were two friends from Louisville, but perhaps their meal was a quiet one, since she made no notations under the heading for “Table Talk.”
That evening, it was time to open presents. Among Santa’s gifts to Cora’s 5-year-old son Roy were a policeman’s uniform and patrol wagon, building and picture blocks, and some toy soldiers and guns. Cora received some cut glass – a bowl, celery dish and tumblers – and (perhaps to christen the tumbers) two bottles of whiskey.
Cora (Gossom) Morningstar’s Christmas diary is part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library. Click here to download a finding aid. And (to quote her diary) “At this glad season of the year, / May health and plenty you attend, / May friends be near, / your heart to cheer, / And smiles with words of kindness blend.”