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Victorian Christmas Customs
Westfield Lodge is based in the heart of the Bronteland – the home of the Bronte sisters who became famous during the Victorian era. The Brontë sisters were born in Thornton near Bradford, but wrote most of their novels while living at Haworth Parsonage when their father was the parson at the Church of St. Michael and All Angels.
Because of our local history, we thought it would be nice to share some Victorian Christmas customs, as it wasn’t until the 19th century that Christmas was recognised, by the end of the century it had become the biggest annual celebration and took on the form that we recognise today.
The Christmas Dinner
Although the Christmas feast has roots from the middle ages, it wasn’t until the Victorian era that roast turkey and other roasted meat were added to the centre piece. Mince pies also originate from the 19th century.
The Christmas Card
In 1843 Henry Cole commissioned an artist to design a card for Christmas. Because the cards were initially expensive, children were encouraged to make their own. This was until colour printing technology became more advanced and the price began to drop.
The Christmas Cracker
British confectioner, Tom Smith, got the idea of the Christmas Cracker after a trip to Paris where he saw colourful sweets wrapped in twists of paper. Just like today, the crackers contained a small gift and a paper hat.
The Christmas Present
It was during the Victorian period that gift giving was moved from New Year to Christmas. As time went by, small trinkets that were originally hung on the tree grew to larger presents that were stored under the tree.
The Christmas Tree
This picture was deemed a huge factor in the recognition of Christmas. It shows Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert celebrating around the tree, this was published in 1848 in the news and soon every home in Britain had a tree lavished with candles, sweets, fruit, decorations and gifts.
The Christmas Decoration
The Victorian era saw the popularity of elaborately decorating the home. Some of these traditions have carried on until the present day.
The Christmas Carol
Carols were not created during the Victorian era but they were made popular once again and new words were added into old songs. Since the 19th century, Christmas Carols have always been recognised.
It is thanks to the Victorians that Christmas is now family orientated, the feast, the gift giving, the games and the entertainment. The 19th century is the reason we have the Christmas that we celebrate today.
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