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HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM SAMANTHA KANE!
When most people think of Christmas in England in the 1800s they imagine Yule logs and kissing boughs, wrapped packages and festive greenery decking the halls. The problem is that’s a Victorian Christmas, straight out of Dickens.
In Regency England, the early 1800s, Christmas was celebrated quietly. The old traditions, which were revived by the Victorians, were considered garish and backward by Regency standards. There was very little seasonal decorating of the home. No Yule logs or Christmas trees—not even mistletoe, which was considered very old-fashioned by many. They did have traditional Christmas foods, such as pudding and wassail, and a Christmas fire, and Queen Charlotte did introduce the Christmas tree to England during the Regency, although it didn’t gain popularity until the Victorian age. Christmas was a school holiday, and the celebrations centered more on having the family together. Charity for the poor was often part of an upper class family’s Christmas observance.
Christmas, or Christmastide as it was called, lasted for twelve days, from Christmas Eve to Twelfth Night. Gifts were usually exchanged at the end of the holiday, on Epiphany, January 6. Twelfth Night came the closest to our idea of a Christmas celebration. Parties were held with games, and mummers, or actors, would put on a show.
In my most recent Regency romance, Love’s Surrender, the heroes ply the heroine with traditional Christmas gifts as they try to seduce her. She admits that she wishes Christmas were celebrated the old-fashioned way, and so they bring her gifts of rosemary and bay and ivy and mistletoe, and they give her a Christmas candle. Christmas candles were lit on Christmas day and were kept burning through Epiphany.
My mother always leaves her Christmas tree up through Epiphany, a throwback I suppose to the old twelve-day celebration. What about your family? Do you have a Christmas, or a Christmastide?
Samantha Kane: author, Mac junkie, newbie photographer, mother of three, and serial procrastinator.
I live in North Carolina with my husband of fifteen years and three children, two boys and one girl. I spent seven years as a high school history teacher before becoming a full time writer and mom. I also have a Master’s degree in American History.
Buy link for Love’s Surrender (available at Ellora’s Cave on Dec.7 2011) : http://www.jasminejade.com/p-9681-loves-surrender.aspx
Excerpt link: http://www.jasminejade.com/productspecs/9781419937460.htm
Samantha will be giving away one ebook of her latest in the Brothers In Arms series, Love’s Surrender. Just leave a comment to be entered into the draw. Winners will be announced on Christmas Day.
The BONUS BUMPER PRIZE QUESTION (don’t answer this yet – write them down and I’ll ask you to email them in on Christmas Eve.)
19. Which river did George Washington cross on Christmas night in 1776 in the American Revolutionary War?