Christmas Traditions in Virginia
In the south, those who could shoot them or afford to purchase one, Christmas meant a Turkey dinner. In the mid- nineteenth century, traveler Adam Hodgson passed through Alexandria, Petersburg, and Norfolk, Virginia during the Christmas holiday season. For lodging he did what most folks did before the advent of hotels, he stayed at inns, taverns, or rented a room at a private home. In his travel account Hodgson’s notes the centrality of the Turkey on the Christmas holiday table in circa 1820 Virginia. “At dinner, there are frequently four or five turkeys on the table,” meat, pastry, and tea. “While on the subject of eating . . . I will mention, that I do not recollect to have dined a single day, from my arrival in America till I left Virginia, without a turkey on the table; often two, in gentlemen’s houses. On Christmas-Eve, in the little town of Norfolk, Virginia, it was said that “6000 turkeys were [sold] in the market,” in preparation for the Christmas day meal.