Byers Choice Carolers

Caroler Chronicle Edition II - 2002



An American Christmas Tradition!


The cover page of the January 3, 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly showed an illustration by Thomas Nast of Santa bringing gifts to the Union troops. Some believe Nast, a German immigrant, used “Pelz Nicol,” a Bavarian Santa, as inspiration for his illustrations. Others believe the description in Clement Moore’s Visit from St. Nicholas shaped his characterizations. Whatever the inspiration, this renowned national cartoonist with forty years of illustrating this “jolly old elf,” has given us the character America knows today as Santa.

Nast, a staunch believer in anti-slavery, was very pro-Union. His cartoon shows Santa seated on a sleigh pulled by reindeer. He wears a short jacket covered with stars and trimmed with fur. His pants are a bold stripe. His hat, with a headband of fur, comes to a point with a tassel. Because the illustration is in black and white, one must assume the jacket is navy and the pants are red and white. The picture shows an American flag flying over an Army camp where a large group of soldiers are receiving packages. One soldier is pulling a sock from his box. A drum is nestled into the sleigh, and Santa holds a Jumping Jack that looks very much like Jefferson Davis. President Lincoln commented about Nast’s drawings of Santa Claus “as the best recruiting sergeant the North ever had.”

The large display Santa pictured above is a copy of our regular Civil War Santa. Only 250 display Santas have been made.


Old Sturbridge Village

We have worked with the curators of Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts to bring you this Man and Woman dressed in a style typical of the early 1800’s. We really love his tall straw hat and her bonnet. These pieces will only be sold in New England. For more information about visiting Old Sturbridge Village, a recreated 19th century farms community, check their website at

Lavender Couple


The remedial properties of lavender date back to 77 A.D. when a Greek doctor wrote that it was good for the thorax. At about that same period of time, Roman soldiers used it for dressing wounds. Over the centuries, lavender has been touted to relieve migraines, induce sleep, decongest sinuses, repel insects and even protect one from the plague.

By the 19th century, the rolling hills of Mitcham, England were covered with lavender. Most of it was harvested, and the oils were extracted to be used in the perfumes and soaps fashionable in Victorian England. Today Provence, France is the center of the perfume industry and, consequently, the world’s largest grower of lavender.

Harvest time is critical. It is usually in the end of July or the beginning of August when the flowers are fully ripe and contain the maximum amount of oil. Rain can cause disaster as the flowers will brown and drop off. It takes 350 lbs. of lavender to produce 18 fluid ounces of oil.



"Yo, Ho, Ho and a Bottle of Rum!"

Our newest Seafarer is a Pirate. Some say he also works well for Halloween. Whichever you prefer, we hope you enjoy him. The Ocean Trader and his Wife have changed their clothes; he from navy to black and she from indigo to burgundy.


Woman Holding Shells

Outfitted in a light blue swimsuit with a basket full of shells, this Byers’ Choice Woman Holding Shells figure is available only through this newsletter. You may remember last Summer’s exclusive Caroler Chronicle figure, Girl Holding Shells, which was a huge success. To get your Woman Holding Shells, simply fill out the form below and take it to your favorite Byers’ Choice retailer no later than July 31, 2002. The Woman Holding Shells figure will be sent by Byers’ Choice to your retailer, where you can pick it up in late summer. The figurine costs $52.00, and the offer is limited through the Caroler Chronicle.



 purchase! purchase! 

Seasons to Celebrate

In 1621, after reaping their first harvest, the Pilgrims celebrated the fruits of their labor with fellow Colonists and Native American friends at a three-day feast. In response to many requests, a Native American Man and Woman have become part of our Thanksgiving celebration.

A Princess, Frog, Count and Wizard have also joined our Halloween party this year!


 purchase!Above All, Do No Harm

Doctors of the 19th century witnessed many changes in their profession. From the letting of blood and leeches to patent medicines and anesthesia, the age of science had begun. The Sears & Roebuck catalogue of 1902 allowed you to purchase Dr. Hommond’s Nerve & Brain Pills, ‘guaranteed to cure any disease for which they are intended’ or Dr. Rose’s Arsenic Complexion Wafers, ‘perfectly harmless when used in accordance with directions’. Perhaps one of the most significant medical discoveries of that century was aspirin, which was introduced in 1899.

 purchase!My Doughnut Girl . . .

The Salvation Army began to fully integrate into American life during the First World War, when Gen. John J. Pershing allowed 250 Salvationists to assist troops near the front lines. There they offered doughnuts, coffee, prayers and small kindnesses. These Salvation Army men and women, (“Sallies” or “Doughnut Girls”), were a welcome sight for many soldiers. The inspiration for our Doughnut Girl was an illustration of Stella, the great aunt of Elsie Busby. This year, Elsie and her husband, John, are retiring as the Salvation Army’s National Commanders.

In 1880, a small group of Salvationists arrived from London and planted a Salvation Army flag in New York City’s Battery Park claiming America for God. This spot is but a few blocks from where the Twin Towers would later be built. When tragedy struck those buildings on September 11th, the Salvation Army’s divisional headquarters on 14th Street sprang into action. Twenty-one “canteens” providing food, beverages and words of comfort were established. Over 300,000 meals were served within the first 72 hours. Within days, a huge tractor trailer capable of serving 1,000 meals per hour was brought to the site. More than 4 million meals were eventually served. Everything from food for the rescue dogs to eye drops  for the rescue teams were provided. Salvation Army grief counselors listened and provided support. Their prayers, compassion and kindness sustained the weary rescue workers. The selfless helping hand, wearing a navy uniform with a red shield, has touched so many and continues, with the help of God, to strengthen us all.




- 5 cups of sifted flour    
- 2-1/4 cups of white sugar      
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 3/4 pound of butter
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1 pint of hooch*
- 1 pound of candied cherries, halved
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 1 pound of pecans, broken
- 1-1/2 cups of white raisins
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder


  1. Soak cherries and raisins in hooch overnight. Cream sugar and butter until fluffy.

  2. Add egg yolks and beat well. Add soaked fruit and liquid. Reserve a small amount

  3. of flour for the nuts. Add remaining flour, sifted with the nutmeg and baking

  4. powder, to the fruit mixture. Beat the egg whites and fold into the batter.

  5. Add the lightly floured nuts.

  6. Pour batter into a large buttered tube pan lined with wax paper.

  7. Bake at 250˚F for three to four hours or until cake tester comes out clean.

* Grandma Byers always referred to bourbon as hooch.


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