Celebrating Christmas for the last time during Territorial days, the citizens of this area had great plans. All churches in town were having special services, and most communities had such services at their schools or in larger homes.
The town was decorated as it had been for several years with simple items and much greenery. Wires were strung across Main Street, and the greens and other decorations were attached. Most businesses had Christmas trees in their windows, and all windows were dressed for the occasion. Of course, lighting was minimal, but that didn't really detract from the simple beauty.
The communities usually had Christmas trees at their gathering places and often held their programs by candle light. Again, the simple beauty was delightful to behold as each child and each family entered. The warmth of the occasion made those few hours special to all who attended. Programs were often held at those gatherings, thus giving the children an opportunity to show off their talents and the adults the joy of watching the activities.
At both town and country gatherings, the singing of Christmas carols was an important part of the evening. At times, soloists performed, but most of the time all the people in attendance enjoyed singing. Good friends and good neighbors were most pleased to spend Christmas Eve together, even if they had to travel a distance by wagon. Of course, in town, most people could walk to the churches and could make the round trip rapidly.
At most gatherings, Santa Claus made an appearance and handed gifts to all the children in attendance. He was seen throughout the county and made many children very happy by handing out gifts of candy, nuts, and fruit. He knew each child's name and didn't hesitate to use it as he handed the gift.
Actually, little has changed in much of our celebrating. Lights have been added in most areas, but the feeling of happiness at Christmas time is still prevalent. We have special programs at some churches and community gathering places, and we enjoy the company of friends and neighbors as we attend. The last celebration of Christmas before our becoming a state was not really any different from the first one as a state.
Let's enjoy the holidays, and may each of you have a most merry and blessed Christmas.
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.