A Surprising Way to Celebrate Christmas and New Years in the Early 1800s

A Surprising Way to Celebrate Christmas and New Years in the Early 1800s

A surprising way those living in the country celebrated Christmas and New Years in the early 1800s was with Shooting and Raffling Matches.

A generous person bought gifts

Someone in the community bought generous amounts of coffee, tea, and other goods and wrapped them in many small packages. These goods would then be raffled off at a specific price per chance.

Shooting at a target took place during the day with a rifle. Raffles happened in the evening.

Raffle winners found by coins in a hat

To find raffle winners, copper cents were tossed into a hat, shaken up, and thrown on the table by a chance holder. The most number of heads in a certain number of throws decided the winner of the prize.

Shooting New Year

Shooting New Year was another surprising annual event. A group of men, wearing masks, went from house to house to wish neighbors “Happy New Year.”

It didn’t upset these neighbors to be awakened at midnight. They invited the men inside for cider, apples, and cake.



Welker, Martin. 1830’s Farm Life in Central Ohio, Clapper’s Print, 2005.

Award-winning author Sandra Merville Hart loves to uncover fascinating historical facts for her novels and stories. She was an editor and writer for DevoKids, its Executive Editor, and now Editor Emeritus. inistry for children.

Sandra writes historical romance novels. A Musket in My Hands, where two sisters join the Confederate army with the men they love, is the 2019 Serious Writer Medal Fiction Winner and a Selah Award Finalist. A Rebel in My House, set during the Battle of Gettysburg, won the Silver Illumination Award. A Stranger on My Land was IRCA Finalist. Surprised by Love in “From the Lake to the River” is set during the disastrous 1913 flood in Troy, Ohio. Trail’s End, in “Smitten Novella Collection: The Cowboys” “Smitten Novella Collection: The Cowboys” released on August 15, 2019. Not This Year is her nostalgic story in the “Christmas Fiction Off the Beaten Path.”

Find her on her blog at: sandramervillehart.wordpress.com


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