Newspapers provide windows into daily life throughout history.  Digital newspapers allow us to easily track how people celebrated the end of the year, across many years and many miles.

The Denison Press article, “Winter Solstice Period of Many Ancient Rituals,” explains, “The Winter Solstice, when the sun swings toward the earth once more, has been celebrated as a festival of some sort by the various peoples of the earth since, and even prior to, the recording of history.”  In Texas, these rituals range from stately and glamorous to community-building to just plain peculiar.

  • Early Texans celebrated Christmas while living in a warmer climate during the winter months. The November 24, 1838, issue of the Telegraph and Texas Register reveals that Velasco celebrated with daytime horse races that concluded with evening masked balls over a series of five days.
  • Soldiers stationed at Fort Hood mulled over their New Year’s resolutions in the December 21, 1973, issue of the Fort Hood Sentinel.  Quitting smoking seemed to be the most frequent resolution for folks that year.
  • Two decades later, from Houston, the Rice Thresher advertises the “Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa celebration for the Second Annual Holiday Festival,” which would be “celebrated with buffet dinner and dessert, along with photos with Santa.”
  • Children from the town of Canadian, in the Texas Panhandle, eagerly write to Santa with their wishes, one of whom  hopes for “a palm pilot and real beagle puppies” in the December 23, 2004 Canadian Reporter
  • And the University of North Texas’ Holidaily 2007 poses the timeless question: Who would win in a battle of the Santas? Santa Claus or Santa Anna?  (You’ll have to read the comic to find out!)

However you celebrate the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014, the Digital Newspaper Team wishes you joy!