Christmas Day at the Nauvoo Mansion House  – 25 December of 1843

An extract from The Joseph Smith Papers: History, 1838–1856, volume E-1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844]

(The observance began early; an hour after midnight Joseph wrote): This morning about 1 o’Clock I was aroused by an English Sister, Lettice Rushton Widow, of Richard Rushton Senior, (who ten years ago lost her sight—) accompanied by three of her sons, with their wives, and her two daughters with their husbands, and several of her neighbors, singing “Mortals awake with Angels join” &c., which caused a thrill of pleasure to run thro’ my soul.

All of my family and boarders arose to hear the serenade, and I felt to thank my Heavenly Father for their visit, and blessed them in the name of the Lord. They also visited my brother Hyrum [Smith]  who was awakened from his sleep, he arose and went out of doors to them, he shook hands with and blessed each one of them in the name of the Lord, and said that he thought at first that a cohort of angels had come to visit him, it was such heavenly music to him.

(A huge feast was prepared and set before about fifty couples.)  A large party supped at my house, and spent the evening in music, Dancing &c. in a most cheerful and friendly manner. During the festivities, a man with his hair long and falling over his shoulders, and apparently drunk, came in, and acted like a Missourian. I requested the Captain of the Police to put him out of doors, a scuffle ensued, and I had an opportunity to look him full in the face, when to my great surprize and joy untold, I discovered it was my long tried, <warm but cruelly persecuted friend> Orrin Porter Rockwell, just arrived from nearly a year’s imprisonment without conviction in Missouri.

(Click here to read the original source.)

Christmas was then as it is now, a time of family and friends, festivity and reunion.