Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Little St Nick

The Santa Claus we have all come to love, was actually created by Coca Cola. In 1931, they commissioned Michigan-born illustrator Haddon Sundblom to develop the image of Santa Claus for their Christmas ad campaign. He did so using Clement Clark Moore's 1822 poem, "A visit from St. Nick" (commonly called "Twas the Night Before Christmas"). That same year, the company put the ad in The Saturday Evening Post. The rest as they say is history.

Image result for Haddon Sundblom santa claus

The road to Sundblom's Santa Claus was long and twisted. And it started in the Mediterranean during the Roman Empire. December 6th is St Nicholas Day. The saint was born in Greece around 280 BC. He achieved saint hood when, among other things, he went to prison for the Great Persecution in 303 BC, when Bibles were burned.
Image result for images of St nicholas the gift giver in tudor era
In the Tudor era, December 6th in their 12 days was St. Nicholas day. At that time he was known as 'The protector of all different people, the old, the orphans, young children, and the poor.' By the 13th century, he had gone from ‘The Protector of people’ to  the 'Saint of Young Children and Magical Happenings'. 

From 1200 to 1500, Nicholas was known as the bringer of gifts. His presence (and promise)  encouraged children to stay out of trouble, say their prayers, and be good to all people and animals. 


However, during the Protestant Reformation in the 1500's. Saints fell out of favor. Still, there are several tales about Nicholas and his good deeds. One was the story of ". . . young girls [who] were saved from a life of prostitution when young Bishop Nicholas secretly delivered three bags of gold to their indebted father to be used for their dowries."

Another story was "Nicholas entered an inn whose keeper had just murdered three boys and pickled their dismembered bodies in basement barrels. Nicholas not only sensed the crime, but resurrected the victims as well. 'That's one of the things that made him the patron saint of children'."


Over the years, there were stories of St. Nicholas as the gift giver to good girls and boys. Then in 1822 came "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (aka 'Twas the Night Before Christmas'), the poem written by Clement Clark Moore about the plump happy man in a red coat, smoking a pipe, coming down the chimney bringing gifts and toys, traveling from house to house on a sleigh pulled by 8 reindeer.
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So there!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Victorian Sears Catalog of the 1900's

Since the FDA was not established until 1906, the 1900 Sears catalog could offer "Miracle Drugs". An example was Dr. Rose’s French Arsenic Complexion Wafers (which promised to "make even the ugliest person beautiful by clearing up any facial 'disfigurements' and even softening angular features…") There were also Dr. Barker’s Blood Builder, Dr. Worden’s Female Pills for Weak Women, and Dr. Rose’s Obesity Powders. Many of these 'Miracle' cures were opium based.
(1900)
(1901) 
In 1903, Sears made a promise: "Your money back if you are not satisfied." In 1904, for the first time, wigs for African American women were available through the catalog. Actual Wallpaper samples were included in the 1905 catalog, so the buyer could see the actual color and feel the texture of the wall covering before they ordered it.

The company advertised that they had translators who could read and write in many foreign languages.


But still no Wish Book.

(1908)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Edwardian Era

Following Queen Victoria’s death, her son Edward VII assumed the throne. So the years of 1901-1910, were referred to as the Edwardian Era. The social norms during this time became a bit more relaxed, daily fashions were less formal, and women became more active (as in out of the house). The Great War, which was during this time, marked a decidedly change in society. 


The industrial revolution was in full swing, bringing new amenities. Cars, phones, and electricity were available to most families for the first time. Most homes were starting to have indoor plumbing. It was truly a time of change and modernization. 

The last Saturday before advent was called ‘Stir Up Sunday’. The plum pudding batter was prepared and family members took turns stirring the batter. A coin would be added and whoever found in it their serving on Christmas Day was to have good fortune. The batter was steamed for 6 hours then put aside for a month for the flavors to ripen. Before serving it on Christmas Day it was steamed once more for an hour and a half, brandy was added and it was lit before serving. The flames were supposed to represent Christ’s passion. Fowl (a goose or turkey) was stuffed with chestnuts, pork, apple stuffing. 

A rolled cake called Bunche de Noel was a popular dessert.

As in the Victorian era, houses were decorated with holy, ivy, and mistletoe along with yew, laurel, ribbons, and paper chains. The Christmas tree did not go up until Christmas Eve.

Father Christmas left gifts for the children in their stockings on Christmas Eve. Christmas cards remained popular. Christmas crackers were opened before the Christmas meal and everyone wore their paper hats. Gramophones were popular, but only for the wealthy who could afford them. 

Image result for edwardian era christmas

The 1909 Christmas catalog for Copeland & Lye, a Scottish department store read:
"Furs as gifts are acceptable to ladies" was the message on one page of the catalogue. Fox, sable, beaver and squirrel were among the species whose coats went to provide stoles and coats "for evening and street wear" and also "an immense variety of fur lined coats for driving and motoring."

Monday, October 28, 2019

A Most British Tradition

One more interesting British Christmas tradition has to do with science. This is the Royal Institution Christmas Day Science Lectures that date back to 1825. These are talks, usually on topics that are ground breaking for that time.

The presenters are notified in September. Originally, the lectures were given live on Christmas day. After the invention of radio, the lectures were recorded in early December and broadcast on Christmas Day. Since the advent of television, (in 1936 the BBC started televising the lectures) they are filmed in early December for broadcast on Christmas day. In the beginning there was just 1 lecture a year. Then in 2009, the Institution decided to expand it to 5 lectures. In 2011 they settled on 3, which is still the case today.

The presenters have been Noble Laureates, premier scientists, professors, notables, and some lesser known. Many presenters have given more than 1 lecture over the years. The RI provides technical support for any demonstrations that need to be made.



The idea of the lectures in credited to Michael Faraday, a British Chemist and Physicist, who went on to give 19 lectures. However, initial lecture was given by John Millington on Natural Philosophy. The topics of the lectures of the early 1800's ranged from Astronomy, Chemistry, Electricity, Botany, and Zoology. The 1839 Lecture was on The Chemistry of the Atmosphere and the Ocean, (1863) Electricity at Rest and Electricity in Motion, (1873) The Motion and Sensation of Sound, (1878) A Soap Bubble, and (1890) Frost and Fire.


In the first half of the 1900's lectures included  The Childhood of Animals (1911), Wireless Messages from the Stars (1915) , (1927) Engines (1927), Rare Animals and the Disappearance of Wild Life (1937), Colours and How We See Them (1946), and  Photography (1956).

1966's lecture was The Engineer in Wonderland, with 5 parts: The White Rabbit, Only the Grin was Left, The Caucus Race, Curiouser and Curiouser, If only I were the right size to do it, and  It's the Oldest Rule in the Book.

Recognizable presenters over the years, have included David Attenborough, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, and Sir William Bragg. There were only 3 years when the lectures were suspended: 1939 - 1942, during WWII. The lecture for this year (2019) will be Secrets and Lies: The Hidden Power of Maths by Hannah Frye.


Starting in 1966, the lectures have been more geared toward children, hoping to interest and enlighten them into the sciences. The mission of the Royal Institution is to "diffuse science for the common purposes of life". The Prince Wales is their Patron.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Victorian Era Sears Catalogs of the 1800s

An off shoot of the industrial revolution was the availability of goods and services to the masses. Now they were available through mail order. This greatly effected the Holidays. Many gifts were now purchased through mail order. A catalog gave the shopper a wide variety of choices.

In America, retail changed forever with the advent of Sears and Roebuck. It all started in 1880's with Richard W. Sears and Alvah C. Roebuck and their watch business. 




In 1895, Julius Rosenwald, a Chicago clothing merchant, joined the firm. It was then that they expanded their offerings.

They published their first catalog in 1886. It would be 1933 before their first Christmas 'Wishbook' was sent out (which at that time was officially named 'The Sears Christmas Catalog Book'). Here are some catalogs and pages from the 1800's.

One could order Laudanum (an opium based drug)  from Sears in the 1887 catalog.


Christmas Cards were introduced for the first time in the 1898 catalog.


The Homestead Act of 1852 not only opened up the west to settlers, it created the perfect market for mail order shopping. Then in 1896, Rural Free Delivery (RFD) was made available. Instead of having to travel (often far away) to the closest mail office, goods were delivered directly to the farm. And with that, everything a company like Sears, who would later claim to offer from "everything from houses to hubcaps", was available to almost every farm in America.

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Victorian Santa Claus

Most Americans think that the first British 'Santa Claus' was 'Father Christmas', but not so much. Initially, Father Christmas had no connection to gifts, children, or December 24. He was usually portrayed as dressed in a long green coat (sometimes  shown as blue)  and was seen as the sign of the onset of spring at the end of the dark cold winter. His persona was part of the midwinter festival. 
Father Christmas

The origins of Father Christmas date back to the Vikings and their god Odin. 
Image result for images of god odin

The name Odin means, "Master of Ecstasy". But, history shows he was a bit of a conundrum.. He was the patron of rulers . . . and outlaws. He was seen as a War god, but had effeminate features. Folklorist Margaret Baker maintains that "the appearance of Santa Claus or Father Christmas, whose day is the 25th of December, owes much to Odin, the old blue-hooded, cloaked, white-bearded Giftbringer of the north, who rode the midwinter sky on his eight-footed steed Sleipnir, visiting his people with gifts."


Over time Father Christmas ebbed in popularity. As Santa Claus became more popular, the 2 were often confused. But in truth Father Christmas's roots, ironically, never came from Christmas. There are other stories that tie "Father Christmas" to the holiday and as the late night giver of gifts. Eventually his green robes became red. By the 1900's Father Christmas was a figure of the past. 


But when and where did 'Santa' come from?

The British idea of 'Santa Claus' actually came from a Dutch character. The Dutch children believed that "Sinter Klaas" (Dutch for 'St. Nicholas') would leave candy and small toys in their wooden shoes left by the hearths on Christmas Eve. 


Some time in the 1870's Sinter Klaas became Santa Claus. At some point the reindeer and sleigh were added to the story.  Then thanks to Clement Moore, Thomas Nast, and Haddon Sundblom - the transition was complete.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Victorian Christmas Cards

Probably the most iconic Holiday tradition to come from the Victorian era is the Christmas Card. Many of these cards and post cards can be found in antique stores today. The art and decorations on these cards are wonderful.

Queen Victoria embraced this new tradition and had her children create and send cards. The first Christmas and New Years Day cards were thought to be designed and sold in London in 1843. The railroads made sending the cards practical and efficient, and the half penny postage rate made it affordable.

An industry was built around the new tradition for artists and engravers. It is thought that Sir Henry Cole, Director of Victoria and Albert Museum, commissioned John Callcott Horsley, a well known artiest, to produce the first cards. Those cards were lithographs then hand colored.

Often the cards were not only pieces of visual art, they contained original poetry. By the end of the 19th century, Yuletide cards were a thriving industry. Popular themes were holly, mistletoe, robins, musical bars, and children.



An interesting fact was that the Temperance Union strongly opposed the new tradition of sending Christmas Cards. They believed that the cards would cause excessive drinking and drunkenness. Needless to say, their fears and protests fell on deft ears.

But the Victorian cards were not just holly, firs, and flowers. A curious tradition of the Victorians were the 'Creepy' genre of their Christmas cards. In typical British style, the Victorians adored the bizarre and macabre. While typical Christmas Cards were full of religious lines wishing glad tidings and full of joy - not so much for many Victorians. There was the card from the 1880's that featured a dead Robin with the words 'May yours be a joyful Christmas'. The weird and wacky included Santa Claus kidnapping children, a devil horned snowman, and dead rats. 

These examples are not unique, this was popular at the time.

Image result for creepy victorian christmas cards

Image result for creepy victorian christmas cards

Image result for creepy victorian christmas cards


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Victorian Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a very traditionally British, although it dates back to the Middle Ages, when boxes were placed in churches for  contributions. These boxes were referred to as "Alms Boxes." The practice dates back to the 12 days of Christmas and the feasts of the Saints. In this case, the Feast day of St Stephen (who was the first Christian Martyr). On December 26, the boxes would be opened and the contents given to the poor. 


A reference to St Stephen is made in the traditional carol, "Good King Wenceslas":



Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that night, tho’ the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gath’ring winter fuel.

The carol was first published in Carols for Christmas-Tide in 1853.

The Victorians changed the tradition a bit. The more affluent would distribute gifts, food, and money to their servants, staff, and local tradesmen as their appreciation for their services during the year. The modern day name came from the term 'Christmas Boxes', what the British call their Christmas gifts. This tradition continues as a day of charity when money and food are donated for the poor. 

Today's Boxing Day is a National Bank Holiday when families gather the day after Christmas and enjoy the left overs from the holiday meal. For years there was a tradition of Fox Hunting on  Boxing Day. That came to an end in 2004 when Britain banned fox hunting. But the Brits, not to be put down (and loathe to change a tradition), continue to dress up in traditional hunt attire and follow the hounds on horses. Only now the dogs chase a scent rather than an animal.


While horse racing is a popular thing on Boxing Bay, the day has now fallen victim to modern commercialism. It has become known for shopping. There is also the "Boxing Day Test", an annual cricket match held in Australia. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

V- Victorian Gifts

Victorian Christmas gifts varied, mainly among the classes. For years games, dolls, and toys were only affordable by the well to do. Thanks to the industrial revolution and the mass production of toys, for the first time these toys were available for the middle class. However, for the poor, it was still apples and oranges in the stockings. 

Although exchanging gifts had been practiced for centuries, it was the Victorians that really made it a hard and fast tradition during the holidays. In the late Georgian period, gifts were exchanged on New Year's day. However, during the Victorian period, it was moved to Christmas Day.

While gifts were initially small and left on the branches of the Christmas Tree, as they became larger and could no longer fit 'on' the tree, they were placed under it - starting that tradition.

Gifts for women may have been a sewing box.




Or a silk fan:


 Men may have received a silver cigarette case:




or nice walking cane.



The gift may have been a cucumber night cream, oatmeal soap, goats milk soap, or fragrance from the Caswell Apothecary, today known as Caswell-Massey. The company was established in 1780. Fun Fact: Over the years many famous people have enjoyed their products, from the Astors and the Vanderbilts to George Gershwin, Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn and Greta Garbo and later the Kennedys and the Rolling Stones. One of their specialties were custom fragrances uniquely developed for each customer.

Or it could have been a gift of fine papers and stationary from Crane and Co. Hershey and Cadbury had been able to refine the manufacture of commercial chocolates by then (called 'eating chocolates') that were smooth and tasty. Books were also popular. Some titles from that period include Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte,  Wuthering Heights, also by Bronte, Great Expectations and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, and Little Women by Emily Dickens. 

Gift wrapping papers date back to 800 AD and the Egyptians. In the 1800's the well to do wrapped their gifts in wall paper. However, the thick paper was unwieldy and difficult to work with. That and the fact that wrapping tape wouldn't be developed for many years (as in Scotch tape circa 1940's). Following the wallpaper, thin tissue paper was used to wrap the presents. Of course that had its own problems. 

Then there was brown paper - definitely easier to work with and less likely to tear. However, not very festive. Some used the brown paper to make their gifts look a bit, well, understated. And to hold all this together - wax was placed in strategic places. 

It was the Americans in 1917 who first used, what we now know as 'wrapping' paper. And it all started in Kansas City with Joyce Hall, of Hall Brothers in Kansas City  (yes - the beginnings of Hallmark). According to their web site: "America's gift wrap industry had humble beginnings in Hallmark founder Joyce C. Hall's downtown Kansas City, Mo., store in the early 20th century. Hall is known for being the founder of the greeting card industry, but he can also be credited with the 'invention' of present-day gift wrap. Hallmark's launch of printed gift wrap came about almost by accident.

Before Christmas in 1917, the Hall Brothers' store had sold out of the white, red and green tissue and the one holly pattern customers used to wrap holiday packages. After that decorative envelope lining papers from France were brought in and quickly sold for  10 cents a sheet. The following year, the sheets were offered three for 25 cents and, again, sold out.  After that, Hallmark ventured from their greeting card business and added gift wrap to there offerings.” (So now you know the rest of the story.)


Today's wrapping paper business brings in 3.2 billion annually - with a majority of that being Holiday paper. 


Some examples of Victorian Christmas Wrapping paper:



Image result for early designs of victorian christmas wrapping paper




Image result for victorian christmas wrapping paper

Monday, October 21, 2019

IV- Victorian Candy

The Victorian era was known for its candy, often given as gifts as well as served to friends and family for holidays. Lower sugar prices and new manufacturing practices with the Industrial Revolution, made candies available to the masses, no longer just for the well to do. You could also find it hanging on the Christmas Tree, in tins as gifts, and crystal bonbon dishes.

Examples included: 

Fudge - which was introduced in the 1880's and Toffee dating back to the early 1800's.

Marzipan - an almond paste. Traditionally the 12th Night Cakes were covered with marzipan. However, the Puritans banned it, saying it was 'frivolous'. To get around this, the Victorians just added a layer of Marzipan between the layers of the cake.

Jelly Babies - very much like gummy bears date back to 1864.


Hard candy was very popular during this time. Some examples from the period include;

Clove Rock - Red and white hard candy flavored with Clove oil


Ribbon Candy  



Licorice was a favorite


They made hard candy into an art form. 

Coconut Ice was popular. You may recognize this as 'Neapolitan Coconut' today.

Turkish Delights were another favorite.



Chocolate was very popular. A fun fact: Dark Chocolate bars were introduced in 1847, while the Milk Chocolate bar did not come on the scene until the 1870's.

Marshmallows ( a candy that dates back to Ancient Egypt) could also be found in Victorian candy dishes.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

III - The Victorian Christmas Tree

Although the ‘Christmas Tree’ had briefly appeared in England during the reign of Queen Charlotte, it finally became a main Christmas tradition during Queen Victoria’s reign. Just like Queen Charlotte, Victoria’s husband, Albert, was born in Germany and brought with him the tradition of Christmas Tree in the 1840's.



The trees were of medium to modest size for most households and impressive - 20 feet or more, in the homes of the more affluent. Tapers adorned the tree and were lit at night - making it a likely fire hazard.

Most decorations were hand made. Popular items included gilded walnuts and candies. Dried fruits (oranges, cranberries, and popcorn) were strung together to form garlands.  Some trees had small toys placed in the branches. Gingerbread was also hung on the tree as decoration. 


A Victorian tradition were paper cornucopias filled with fruits and nuts, then nestled in the boughs of the trees. Making the decorations and then trimming the tree was a family event .  


The glass ornaments most of us grew up with were actually introduced as early as the 1860's. The first ones were mainly seen in the homes of German immigrants. These were hand crafted in Lauscha (and other areas in Germany), and brought with them as they settled in America. 

Victorian trees were usually topped with an angel made of wax, fabric, and lace. Stars were also popular toppers. 

Beneath the tree, the children would create 'Putz' villages (German for 'putting things together to create a scene’.) Some were as simple as grass and moss with sticks making fences to the more elaborate with paper houses, candy decorated 'yards', and fluffy white 'snow'. In the early 1900's mass produced 'Putz Villages' could be bought. 




Another tradition of the Victorian Christmas was the practice of 'Christmasing'.  Holly and mistletoe were used in copious quantities as decorations for the seasons. Seeing an opportunity, street vendors would scour the yards and hedges of English homes, 'harvesting' as much holly as they could haul off. They would then sell the greenery to the city folk for a nice profit.

Since Mistletoe was harder to get since it grows in the tops of trees, it was seen as an expensive decoration for only those could afford it. The opportunistic vendors did not miss this and were therefore not averse to going to great links to get their hands on this parasite from the trees and orchards. Often they had to deal with dogs, traps, and armed land owners guarding their trees.


Parlor games were very popular during this time, some a bit more odd than others. One such example was the game called 'Snapdragon'. This involved raisins, rum, and fire. (As if a tree in every parlor lit candles wasn't 'playing with fire' enough.) Raisins were put in a bowl of rum, which was then lit afire. The goal of the game being to see how many raisins could be grabbed from the bowl and eaten.

One game was advertised as: "... intensely amusing and perfectly harmless. It trains the eye, cultivates the judgment, strengthens the nerves, and fills every vein with youthful blood. It gives everyone a better control of themselves. It establishes perfect harmony between the eye, the intellect, the muscles, the nerves, and promotes the highest type of physical and mental development."  I doubt this was describing 'Snapdragon'.

For the less adventuress, there was always charades.

Friday, October 18, 2019

II - Victorian Christmas Food


As with most Christmas celebrations throughout the years, food played a big part in the Victorian traditions. Roasted goose and pudding were 2 popular dishes. For the first time turkey became a main part of the holiday menu.

Oysters that were earlier looked down on by the affluent as the “poor man’s protein” were now seen as a delicacy. They could be found on the Christmas table on the half shell and in the dressing. Other foods included on the menu were: Lobster Salad, Baked Squash,Creamed Parsnips, Stewed Onions, Vanilla Ice Cream, Salted Almonds, Fruits, and Rolls, to name a few.




Attending church services and then the Christmas dinner with family were mainstay traditions of the Victorians’ Christmas Day celebrations. At more affluent homes, the tables were set with the sterling flatware, fine China, crystal, and fine linen napkins. The linen covered table was decorated with flowers and evergreens. The dinner was the highlight of the day with large quantities of food and drink.


The meal was lavish and extravagant. Platters of roasted goose, standing rib of beef, ham, and turkey were served. There would be a sage dressing served with the goose. Also, there could be delicacies such as oysters and boar’s head. Desserts made include pies such as cranberry and mince, along with plum pudding and many other items. 

In Victorian times, the pudding was regarded very highly. Cooking it was regarded as a ritual and the entire family would actively participate in preparing the Plum pudding. Since it took plenty of time to cook, work on the pudding would start a few days in advance. It was made of suet, bread crumbs, raisins, and spices. 

The pudding was kept to set itself until the Christmas day and was then boiled in beef broth. Christmas cake and Mince Pie were other popular desserts preferred during the Christmas Eve. After dinner, people lit firecrackers and celebrated Christmas. The Victorians also indulged in other activities like singing and playing games. 

As with many Victorian traditions, there were some holidays foods that were a bit 'odd'. One example was 'Broxy'. Believe it or not this was meat from animals that had dropped dead from disease. And, this could be found in your neighnorhood butcher shop. Needless to say this meat could possibly contain many diseases - tetanus, salmonella, and ringworm. But, have no fear, the poorer folks who could only afford such, rinsed it with vinegar and lemon to 'remove' these potential life threatening traits.

Other examples included pickled oysters, flour soup (made from water, butter, flour, salt, and caraway seeds), jellied eel, heron pudding (yes, made from the birds), boiled calf's head, and sheep trotters (feet). Thankfully, none of these have made it to my holiday table - yet.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

I- How Victorians Celebrate Christmas (1837-1910)

Way beyond the Tudor, Gregorian, and Stuart Christmas traditions, the Victorians (1837-1901) have everyone in spades. No other period has contributed to the celebration of Christmas more than the Victorians. (Actually, even though Queen Victoria was still on the throne from 1895-1901, history sees the Edwardian era being 1895-1910. )

During the 'Edwardian period', things were a bit more liberal, not as haughty. It was truly a period of change, although subtle. However,  for purposes of my musings, I will address the 2 periods as one.


One of the more well known editorials of the time was in 1897 when Francis P. Church, Editor of the New York Sun, answered a letter from an eight year old named Virginia O'Hanlon asking, "Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"


His response lives on today: "Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see.[ ] Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus."


Moving on. If you have ever been to the Biltmore House in Ashville, NC at Christmas then you have experienced a true Victorian Christmas. For the affluent, this was how they decorated. The Victorians took their Christmas holidays very seriously.



Prior to this era no one had heard of Santa Claus (per se) or Christmas Crackers. Christmas cards became popular during this era. The modernity, wealth, and technologies brought about by the industrial revolution changed Christmas forever.

Workers across Britain, took 2 days off to celebrate Christmas. The tradition of Boxing Day on December 26th, continued. More efficient transportation enabled people from the country to travel to town to visit relatives for the holidays and vice a versa. 

It was during this time that turkey became a traditional Christmas dish. Christmas trees were introduced for the first time. Thanks to new manufacturing, gifts expanded from being all homemade to including those mass produced. 



The industrial revolution impacted this greatly as the introduction of wealth and technologies brought about a change. Famous novels including Charles Dickens critically acclaimed ‘A Christmas Carol’ surfaced and pressure was put on the rich to distribute wealth and lifestyle happiness.

And, the Christmas Cracker was introduced during this time. The cracker is a festive table decoration placed at each guests place. There is a snap sound when one pulls on the end to open it. Usually, inside there is a small gift or piece of candy. 


The cracker was developed by a London candy maker in 1846. Tom Smith wanted more to wrap his candy in than just brightly colored paper. So he included a small toy - such as a paper hat, a small toy, or trinket.    




Whether it was the Christmas cards or the introduction of the Christmas tree, the Victorians left their mark on the celebration of Christmas.