Christmas Traditions in Fort Bend County

Caitlyn Hill, Catherine Dobbs and Elizabeth Devereaux celebrating old-fashioned holiday traditions at the George Ranch Historical Park’s 2015 Campfire Christmas.

Caitlyn Hill, Catherine Dobbs and Elizabeth Devereaux celebratingold-fashioned holiday traditions at the George Ranch Historical Park’s 2015 Campfire Christmas.


Photos by the Fort Bend County Museum Association.

Christmas is the most anticipated and celebrated holiday of the year for many people. Both religiously and secularly, people around the world observe this special day with traditions and customs. Most Americans celebrate Christmas with family visits and an exchange of gifts. Catholic Christians traditionally spend Christmas Eve observing Midnight Mass. Decorating Christmas trees, sharing meals with family and of course, waiting for Santa Claus adds to the intrigue. Fort Bend residents take great care in the preparation and commemoration of this magical time.

The early settlers celebrated Christmas Day with food, friends and family. Decorations were all natural material. Holly, berries, evergreen, mistletoe and bay were sewn together for wreaths and garlands and tastefully placed on the Christmas tree. Other decorative traditions included candles, fires and trees decorated with apples, nuts and homemade treats. Small gifts,
little treats and cash were hung from the branches in anticipation of this special day. Poinsettia plants came from Mexico to America in 1828 by Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister.

The Christmas card was a 19th century English invention with pre-printed, special holiday borders and hand scripted in the best penmanship. These cards were considered a novelty, a privileged gift that was treasured by the recipient. Christmas food and beverages were a top priority for the rich and the poor. December was the right time for slaughtering, so fresh meats were available, as well as goose, ham and turkey. Brandied peaches, canned foods and mincemeat pies added to the feast. Wine, brandy, rum punch and other homemade alcoholic beverages were served in abundance during this special season.

The historic Moore Home in Richmond.

The historic Moore Home in Richmond.

In the cities of Richmond and Rosenberg, families and friends gathered to celebrate this joyous time of the year. The Moore Home was well-known for hosting Christmas parties. John and Lottie Moore invited guests from all over the area to join in the festivities. Families met to eat, drink, sing, dance, play games and discuss politics. Today, the Moore home continues this tradition with the renowned annual Candlelight Tours. The Fort Bend Museum Docent Society spends all year preparing to decorate the Moore Home in the most authentic fashion for Christmas. Christmas cookies and wassail top off a night of good cheer.

Henry and Nancy Jones lived on a 23,000 acre working ranch in Richmond and celebrated Christmas with the workers and local neighbors. When A.P. and Mamie George inherited the property, they continued the legacy of generosity and festivities. Today, George Ranch Historical Park continues the holiday tradition by hosting a campfire Christmas and hayride. Guests explore the customs and decorations from 200 years ago, sample wassail and Christmas treats and visit with Santa Claus during Treehouse Story Time. The spirit of Christmas is alive and well at George Ranch Historical Park.

In Rosenberg, the downtown area was always the place to be at Christmas. The mercantile, drug store and business offices were decorated for the holidays, and residents gathered downtown to go to church and share their cooked specialties. Local talent played while the community drank, ate, danced and celebrated.

Today, the City of Rosenberg hosts a traditional tree lighting ceremony with everyone invited to participate. Music, food and entertainment fill the air, and retail stores stay open late to kick off the holiday season. The rich history and traditions are reenacted, and the city is transformed into a Christmas wonderland. It is a magical time of year in Fort Bend. Merry Christmas!