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Kenneth Mays
The Mansion House in Nauvoo, Illinois, is decorated for the Christmas season in 2004.

Historical information about the life and ministry of the Prophet Joseph Smith is sufficient to document where he was living on Christmas each year. In some instances, a precise site and what he did were recorded and preserved in the historical record. Here are five of those:

On Christmas 1832 the Prophet received what is now Section 87 of the Doctrine and Covenants. He was living in the Whitney store in Kirtland, Ohio.

Kenneth Mays
Reconstructed cutaway of the Liberty Jail, where Joseph Smith and others spent Christmas 1838.

Three years later while living in his home by the Kirtland Temple, Joseph noted (by his scribe): “Fryday 25th. At home all this day and enjoyed myself with my family it being Christmas day the only time I have had this privelige so satisfactorily for a long time” ("Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Vol. 1: 1832-1839," page 137.)

Christmas 1838 found the Prophet in the county jail at Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. Joseph and the other prisoners were visited by Howard Evert, a Disciple preacher (see "Liberty Jail and the Legacy of Joseph," by Thomas D. and Patricia C. Cottle, page 202).

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By Christmas 1842, Joseph and his family were living in Nauvoo, Illinois. One of his histories records for that year: “Saturday 25 being Christmas, … Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and their Wives, and Willard Richards spent the evening at Hiram Kimballs” ("Manuscript History of the Church: 1838–1856, volume C-1 (2 November 1838–31 July 1842)," page 1266.)

For the last 10 months of his life, the Prophet lived in the Mansion House at Nauvoo. Christmas 1843 found Joseph and Emma hosting a large dinner group in that home. "History of the Church" notes: “At two o’clock, about fifty couples sat down at my table to dine. … spent the evening in music, dancing, &c., in a most cheerful and friendly manner” (see Vol. VI, page 134). This happy Christmas was Joseph’s last in mortality.