Christmas 1847 in Salt Lake Valley was full of warmth, gratitude

It was a warm Christmas, made even warmer by the day's activities. The Mormon pioneers spent their first Christmas in the Salt Lake Valley working. Some gathered sagebrush for fires. Others plowed fields. Some hunted rabbits. Others worked on their tiny cabins.

"We had no floor but the ground, but we were thankful for a roof," Mary Jane Mount Tanner wrote in her autobiography. "My father laid the floor on Christmas Day, and my mother called it a merry Christmas. It was indeed a time for rejoicing; we had been so long without a home and suffered so much living in a wagon during the cold weather, for we had no stoves and the only chance we had to warm was by the fire out doors which was also used to cook by."

The warmth of the last week seemed like a divine tempering of the weather, but it brought some wet challenges as well. Parley P. Pratt wrote that "nearly every house leaked during the first winter, and umbrellas, where such a luxury as an umbrella was owned, were frequently in demand to shelter those engaged in cooking."

One pioneer spent part of the day rigging a canvas cover to keep muddy drips coming out of the sod roof off the baby cradle.

Food was scarce -- making every bit seem like a feast. Eliza R. Snow wrote about a small afternoon lunch party at Lorenzo Young's home.

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