Archive for the ‘christmas’ Category

Dear Readers,

It was Queen Charlotte, the German-born wife of King George III and mother of the Prince Regent, who introduced the first Christmas tree to England.  A decorated yew tree was placed in the Queen’s Lodge in Windsor for the children of leading families. The Queen arranged a table with toys that she handed out as families came with their children to see the tree.

During Jane Austen’s time, Christmas was celebrated with visitors entering the front parlor, which was extravagantly decorated for a Christmas Ball, complete with holly and ivy as well as the traditional spring of mistletoe.  There were large gatherings of family and friends. Entertainment consisted of  parlor games and perhaps dancing.  Some games like Charades or bobbing for apples are still with us, but others like Snapdragon have long disappeared.

To play Snapdragon, each person had to pick currants out of a shallow bowl of flaming brandy using their mouth to extinguish the flame.  For obvious reasons, this parlor game eventually lost favor.
All the rooms of the house would have also been decorated to show visitors both the entertaining centers and behind-the-scenes activities of the owners, their children, and the servants.

With so many guest visiting the house, the kitchen was always abuzz with activity, leaving servants little time to enjoy the holidays.  From preparing large feasts and special desserts like Twelfth Night cake and Christmas Pudding to increased laundry and housework, a servant’s day began before dawn and lasted long into the night.

Happy Holidays!


…Miguelina and Pamela


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