Draperies were nearly arranged, the last of the furniture was slowly moved into position across the house, and the woodwork in R.J. Reynolds's study was getting its final touches. R.J. had just completed a lengthy hospital stay in Baltimore where Katharine was discouraged to write or visit. The Reynolds children had not seen their father for three months. And war raged on in Europe. This was Christmas 1917.
Despite it being one of the coldest Decembers on record for North Carolina, the Reynolds family enjoyed the warmth of each other's company at their new home at Reynolda, moving in just in time to celebrate Christmas. Everyone took part in the preparation at Reynolda weeks prior, including seven-year-old Nancy Reynolds who aided in making presents. And of course, a request for a bicycle from Santa Claus.
By early December 1917, Katharine and R.J. were reunited in Hot Springs, Virginia, where R.J.'s doctors advised he rest. The Reynolds children and parents were once again allowed to write each other, despite R.J.'s persistent heart trouble.