Our choir's Christmas concert connects us to our congregation's Christmases many years ago. From the Reading Chronicle, 12/23/1871: The Christian Union Society [for so our congregation was known then] will hold a Christmas Tree Festival, Monday evening, Dec. 25th, at 7 o'clock, at their church [which at the time was in Reading Center]. The programme will be an interesting one, and consists of three parts, viz.: Part first, Organ introductions, Christmas chorus, by Sabbath School. Part second. A vocal concert, consisting of choice songs duets, trios and quartettes, by Miss Nellie Pinkham, Mrs. Wm. Reed, Miss Lizzie Cox, Miss Belle Dinsmore, and Messrs. F. C. Harnden, W. S. Richardson and C. D. Wright, with Miss Laura Dinsmore at the organ and piano. Part third. Distribution of Gifts. Admission ten cents.
Also from the Reading Chronicle, 12/23/1871, re our UUCR ancestress Emily Ruggles, who had a dry-goods store in Reading Center: Miss E. Ruggles, in Lyceum Hall building, has opened a holiday department, under the peculiar patronage of the child's saint, Santa Claus. The poet, inspired by inspection thereof, thus rhymes about a few of the attractions: "But just go where the toys are / Oh, 'My!' ain't it jolly and gay? / Little trunks that a fairy might envy / For packing her wardrobe away. / Fancy workboxes, desks, and decanters, / Drums, building blocks, ten-pins, and balls. / Splendid tea-sets of silver and pewter, / And at least seventy bushels of dolls." Heads of families, and branches of families will be sure to find their wants supplied and their tastes gratified by a call at Miss Ruggles'.