As well as trees, the Victorians decorate their house with things such as holly and ivy. This could be seen as an attempt to bring the natural world into their homes in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. Putting a star or angel on top of the Christmas tree is also a tradition that began in Victorian times.
Along with a joke, gifts inside could range from small trinkets such as whistles and miniature dolls to more substantial items like jewelry. The Victorian age placed great importance on family, so it follows that the festival was celebrated at home. For many, the new railway networks made this possible.
While an early Victorian Christmas tree was decorated with dried fruits, flowers and little presents, ribbon, candles and hand blown glass ornaments were introduced that would be handed down through the generations. Can you even imagine lighting real candles on your Christmas tree now?
There were many new and re-invented traditions that appeared, which had nothing to do with Christianity or other religious customs. Although attending church mass and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ was still very central to the holiday, it was no longer the only way to celebrate.
The Victorian Age was beyond doubt a religious age. Under the impact of the excesses of the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror and the wars of Napoleon, the skepticism and rationalism of the Enlightenment had given way to a renewal of Christian faith.
However, Not only was the noble Queen Victoria a superb ruler, but she embodied in herself dedication to her God and saviour Jesus. A regular student of the Bible, she used her spiritual sensitivities in making decisions for the nations under her sovereign control.
Victorian Christmas Traditions
- Christmas Inspired by Royalty. Several of the traditions we know and love today are rooted in Germanic heritage thanks to Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert.
- Decorating Trees.
- Turkey or Festive Bird for Dinner.
- Giving Gifts.
- A Pudding with a Twist.
- Gifts of Gratitude.
The first Christmas card was commercially produced in 1843, but it was the introduction of the halfpenny stamp, which made sending cards affordable. Victorians would exchange letters at these times, usually tell of the years events and hopes for the coming year.
Most Victorian families had roast goose for their dinner, wealthy families ate beef, venison and turkey, often served with a chestnut or veal forcemeat stuffing. In the north, spiced roast beef was the most popular dish.
Victoria Themed colours are Rich, contrasting colors. Plush and silky fabrics and soft, lacy details are hallmarks of Queen Victoria. Coincidentally, greens and reds were a common pairing for this era, making it a perfect fit for Christmas.
A Victorian Christmas made use of rich crimsons, deep greens, and elegant gold decorations that are still quite popular in modern homes. If you’re looking to bring a nostalgic tone to the holidays this year, you’d do well to invest in a few of these timeless accents.
Victorian festivities were centered on the home, the family and the indulgence of children and if, in many homes, the hearth or fireside has disappeared and computer games have replaced the railway set as presents, this is still the Christmas we attempt to recapture and regard as traditional.
Royal Museum Greenwich | https://www.rmg.co.uk/stories/topics/victorian-christmas
Social Historian | https://www.thesocialhistorian.com/victorian-christmas-tree-decorations/
Guthrie Territorial Christmas Foundation | https://www.guthriesterritorialchristmas.com/victorian-costume-guidlines