Miss Ellen writes about Christmas dinner with "Uncle Taylor," who lived on the other side of First Baptist Church. (Image of his house below.) The feast was held for over two dozen people and "the table extended from the front windows to the back. They prepared for this dinner for weeks."
Decorations were different also. While Victoria's husband, Albert, introduced the Christmas tree to England, and the custom spread to the United States, it was slow to come to the South. Tabletop trees, and swags made of greenery were more common. Miss Ellen writes that "The house was always decorated with holly and mistletoe and other greens." These decorations could be as simple as a green wreath at each window, or very elaborate designs for walls, chandeliers and doorways. Garlands and wreaths were the favorite, with roping around posts and stairways. Colored ribbons and gilded nuts and berries were used to ornament the greens.
Since the Christmas Dinner was such an important part of celebrations, the table was elaborately decorated. Miss Ellen was very impressed by "a pyramid of glass which extended up to the top of the ceiling and was decorated with flowers and fruit."
Ornaments that would be typical include: glass, wax, paper, card board or paper mache ornaments; brightly wrapped boxes; small metal baskets; wooden toys and dollhouse furniture; small musical instruments made of metal. These were used on trees, mantelpieces, and swags.