December 15, 2004
    Hopedale History
    No. 28
    Christmas, 1854

    I’m keeping it short this time.  For the two or three of you who might have the time for something longer,
    I’ve added two more stories from Hopedale Reminiscences; one written by Ida Smith and the other by
    Ellen Patrick. Click here to get to them on the Hopedale Reminiscences Menu

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    The Friends of Historic Hopedale recently announced tickets are now on sale for the 2005 Crystal Ball
    dinner and dance.  The second annual event, a celebration of Hopedale's historic past and future, will
    take place at the Regency Ballroom of the Radisson Hotel Milford on Saturday, January 29, 2005.  The
    well-known and highly regarded Fantasy Big Band will provide musical entertainment for the “black tie
    optional” ball.  The event kicks off at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour, followed by dinner and dancing from 7
    p.m. to 11 p.m.

    “We are excited to be able to offer this event again in January; it was very well received last year and
    helped raise much-needed funds toward the restoration of Hopedale's Little Red Shop,” explained
    Theresa Ryan, co-chair of the Friends of Historic Hopedale, event sponsor.  “With the recent grant of
    $100,000 toward the Shop's restoration and conversion into a museum, the funds we raise this year
    will be critical toward helping finalize that effort,” she said.

    The Crystal Ball is open to everyone.  Tickets are priced at $50 each, with a discounted rate for tables
    of 10 ($450).  For tickets or information, call Theresa Ryan at (508) 473-5020 or Friends of Historic
    Hopedale co-chair Elaine Malloy at (508) 473-2779.  In addition to ticket sales, local businesses are
    invited to participate in a keepsake advertising booklet and/or through donations for a raffle to be held
    at the Crystal Ball.  Those who have not yet been contacted who would like to help sponsor this event
    should contact Sue Gallagher at 508-478-6282.

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    Hopedale’s most momentous celebration was Christmas, held in December to commemorate not so
    much Christ’s birth – which was supposed to have been in the spring – as his example.  It was a
    conscious defiance of New England’s religious past, when Puritans had spurned Christmas as a
    heathen holiday.  In 1854 Heywood [Rev. William S. Heywood, Ballou’s son-in-law] began his address
    to the assembled residents by making “a very unpuritanical wish,” that they have a Merry Christmas,
    one that would combine an earnest appreciation of Christ and of the Christian mission with “our idea
    of fraternal affection and sympathy in connection with social pleasure.”  After the evening service, a
    large Christmas tree was unveiled loaded with “many golden and glittering treasures, and not a few
    fantastic toys.”  Adults as well as children received gifts; an unnamed giver left a cow worth forty-five
    dollars in Ballou’s barn, while another anonymous donor placed thirty copies of Ballou’s latest book
    under the tree for distribution among the members.  Edward K. Spann, From Commune to Company
    Town  1840 – 1920, p. 82

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