On Christmas Eve, 1914, Boise charities continued a tradition of giving presents to orphans and other underprivileged poor children. That year, “batchelor boys and girls” were talked into devoting their energies toward making a great celebration, as The Statesman noted:

“Somebody pressed a button, and hundreds of electric lights dotting the walls and ceiling of the big cream and white room of the Idaho Power and Light Company shown out, and the immense Christmas tree, in all its holiday glory, glittered with many colored lights. Outside an eager crowd of youngsters with tickets of admission held tightly in their hands, and older people scarcely less eager, waited until it was time to go in, and then they came. Children, children, and more children, packing the balcony to the limit, crowding against railings and walls.

“The Salvation Army band camped on the stairs leading to the balcony. After two or three selections, which were heartily applauded, the Boy Scouts gave their yells, and then the lights all went out and only the majestic Christmas tree glowed. Yells, whistles and clapping from the children attested to their delight. Then all the lights were turned on again. John F. Nugent, president of the Associated Charities, made a brief speech to the children and then the distribution of presents began.

“A number became confused with all the bustle and crowd, and one little girl cried because she was afraid, and some others wept because they were lost. But these were small griefs, soon remedied, with all the bachelors, girls and boys, and Salvation Army Capt. Barnes and Mrs. Niday and Mr. Nugent and a lot of others to see about such things; and they all left happy as could be.

“Close to 600 children were entertained. During the distribution of the presents St. Michael’s choir boys sang Christmas carols and ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.’

“The Good Fellows were there with bells on. They were about the busiest unattached fellows in this town. A big number of teachers and other single girls helped the boys out. And Capt. Barnes and Mrs. Niday marshalled the forces like experienced generals. And they all seemed so happy and jolly, and some of them said it was the best Christmas they had had in a long time.”

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