The Joys of a Victorian Christmas
Trimming the Christmas tree is a favorite tradition in my family. Every year, I relish the chance to reflect on cherished memories triggered by ornaments that have a sentimental place in my heart and add to my ornament collection with new and beautiful acquisitions that will someday become treasured favorites. I can’t imagine Christmas without a beautiful tree. Without the influence of the Victorians, decorated Christmas trees as well as many other holiday favorites might never have become beloved traditions.
Victorian Christmas traditions were centered around the family. Of these enduring celebrations, perhaps the most beloved is the Christmas tree. Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, brought the custom of a decorated Christmas tree from his German homeland. Not long after his marriage to Victoria, Prince Albert had the first Christmas tree displayed in Windsor Castle in 1841. Several years later, the Illustrated London News published a drawing of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children celebrating the holiday with a Christmas tree, and soon thereafter, families throughout England boasted a decorated tree during the Christmas season.
Many other popular Christmas traditions became popular during Victoria’s reign. Some of these include:
* Christmas Cards ~ the combination of the halfpenny postage rate, which allowed a letter or card to be mailed throughout England inexpensively, and the advances in affordable color printing technology brought Christmas cards to popularity. By 1880, more than eleven million cards were produced each year.
* Exchanging Christmas Presents ~ The giving of small gifts at New Year’s shifted to become a central part of the Victorian holiday tradition. Gifts were given and placed under the tree in anticipation of the holiday.
* Christmas Carols ~ Yet another Victorian tradition, the singing of favorite holiday songs (which were at the time new and popular hits) to mark the holiday season emerged during this era, as did the custom of traveling in groups from house to house to joyously sing Christmas carols.
* Christmas Vacation ~ During the Victorian era, middle class families began the tradition of taking time off from work to spend with their families.
* Mistletoe ~ Who can resist a kiss beneath the mistletoe? This girl certainly can’t! What a lovely holiday tradition!
These are just a few of the more popular Victorian holiday traditions that continue to endure today. In the spirit of gift giving, I’ll be giving away a copy of Claimed by the Captain to one commenter. Simply tell us which holiday tradition is your favorite and why…it does NOT need to be one of these five. Many more Victorian traditions remain popular favorites. What are some of your favorite traditions?
I’d also love your friendship this holiday season. You can find me on Facebook and Twitter, or stop by my blog or webpage.
Merry Christmas! May you have a wonderful holiday season!