Her father and Uncle Peter each had a pair of new, warm mittens, knit in little squares of red and white. Her mother and Aunt Eliza had made them.
Aunt Eliza had brought Laura's mother a large red apple stuck full of cloves. How good it smelled! And it would not spoil, for so many cloves would keep it good and sweet.
Laura's Mother gave Aunt Eliza a little needle-book she had made, with bits of silk for covers and soft white cloth pages into which to stick the needles. The cloth would keep the needles from rusting. They all admired mother's beautiful shelf and Aunt Eliza said that Uncle Peter had made one for her - of course, with different pictures cut into them.
Santa Claus had not given them anything at all. Santa Claus did not give grown people presents, but that was not because they had not been good. Her father and mother were good. It was because they were grown up and grown people must give each other presents.
Then all the presents must be put away for a little while. Her cousin Peter went out with her father and Uncle Peter to do the house work. Alice and Ella helped Aunt Eliza make the beds. Laura and Mary set all the plates and cups and knifes and spoons and forks on the table, while her mother got breakfast.
The original old English Christmas was a pagan (non-Christian) holiday, with its name changed. About 400 years ago in England there were strict Christians called Puritans. They believed in Christianity from the Bible and not what priests said. Puritans read the Bible for themselves. The Puritans ruled England in the mid-seventeenth century, under the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. They passed a law against Christmas. Many of the Englishmen to first immigrate to the American colonies were Puritans. So in early America many Christians did not celebrate Christmas, unless they had children. The early American Christmas celebrations in families like Laura's were a simple family party. Christmas was not the big shopping holiday it is today.