While we now celebrate the birth of the Savior during December, it is also the month when the Prophet Joseph Smith was born—December 23, 1805. Here from Joseph Smith’s journal are recollections of how he spent several Christmases after he became Prophet and President of the Church:
1835—It is Christmas. All day I enjoyed myself at home with my family, the only time I have had this privilege so satisfactorily for a long period.
1838—My brother Don Carlos and my cousin George A. Smith returned (from missions through Kentucky and Tennessee), having traveled 2415 kilometers—1450 kilometers on foot, and the remainder by steamboat and otherwise. They visited several branches. When nearly home they were recognized and pursued by the mob, which compelled them to travel 160 kilometers in two days and night. They had little to eat and narrowly escaped freezing both nights.
1841—Being Christmas, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor and their wives, and Willard Richards spent the evening at Hiram Kimball’s; and after supper Mr. Kimball gave each of the Twelve Apostles a fractional lot of land lying on the west side of his second addition to Nauvoo.
1843—This morning, about one o’clock, I was aroused by an English sister and her family, singing, “Mortals, awake! with angels join,” etc., which caused a thrill of pleasure to run through my soul. All of my family and boarders arose to hear the serenade, and I felt to thank my Heavenly Father for their visit, and blessed them in the name of the Lord … At two o’clock, about fifty couples sat down at my table to dine.