Thursday 20 December 2018

Christmas in the 19th Century by Anna Campbell #Regency #Romance #Christmas @AnnaCampbelloz

Christmas in the 19th Century
 By Anna Campbell

Hi to Mary-Anne! Thanks for having me as your guest today. Hi to all you dedicated Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots readers out there.
I’m delighted to be back here again, to introduce Mistletoe Wishes, my new boxed set of six previously published Christmas stories (available right now at a bargain price!) and also to talk about Christmas during the Regency period.
People are often slightly surprised to hear that Christmas as we celebrate it today is mainly a Victorian invention. In the first quarter of the 19th century, Christmas wasn’t that big a deal. In fact, concerned people like Leigh Hunt the writer were actively working to bolster interest in the festival marking the birth of Christ because it was fading from the public mind as a general celebration.
Can you believe that? The Sheriff of Nottingham in the movie nearly got his way! They almost cancelled Christmas! 

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves — Call Off Christmas! (1991).

A large part of the revival of the popularity of Christmas can be put down to Charles Dickens and his A Christmas Carol which was published in 1843, well past the end of the Regency age.

So what would you do at a Regency Christmas? Well, you’d go to church. It was primarily a religious occasion. You’d do something charitable. If you were lucky, you might have a nice dinner with friends and family, as the rather well-fed bods in this cartoon by Cruikshank are doing. Gift giving, especially among adults, doesn’t seem to have been widespread.
All the tinsel and stuff is a later tradition, although Deck the Halls gets it right – one of the oldest traditions was bringing winter greenery inside as a reminder that spring was on the way in a couple of months. You can see a trace of that custom in the picture, with the holly in the chandelier. Kissing under the mistletoe was also a game people played – lots of romantic possibilities there!
A couple of unexpected bits of trivia. It’s often stated that the Christmas tree came to England with Prince Albert when he married Queen Victoria. That actually isn’t so – George III married a German princess Sophie Caroline Marie of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (long name to put on a Christmas card! Another Victorian tradition. First commercially available in 1843, clearly a BIG year for Christmas!). It seems she brought the tradition of putting a tree in the house for Christmas with her, although the practice didn’t spread much beyond the royal family until after Victoria and Albert tied the knot in 1840. Another surprise is that Christmas puddings (which originally included as much meat as sweet stuff) weren’t a widespread part of the season until the 1840s either.

So a Regency Christmas was a much quieter, less commercial affair than the day we will enjoy in 2018. I’m not Scrooge, screaming “Bah, humbug!” at every manifestation of the festive season, but a hint of Regency subtlety mightn’t go astray at my local shopping centre which, as I write this, is groaning under a weight of tinsel and ribbon, and playing Rudolf, the Red-Nosed Reindeer on repeat. 


*Giveaway is now closed.

Winner announced in the comments.

I’m giving away a Kindle download of Mistletoe Wishes: A Regency Christmas Collection to someone who comments. No geographical restrictions.

Just tell me what your favourite Christmas tradition is. I like pretty much everything about Christmas but I think my absolute favourite bit might be hearing all the lovely carols again.

Giveaway Rules

• Leave your answer in the comments at the bottom of this post.
• Giveaway ends at 11:59pm BST on December 30.
 You must be 18 or older to enter.

• Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.

•Only one entry per household.

• All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
•Winners will be announced in the comments.

• Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

A Regency Christmas Collection!

Six breathtakingly romantic Christmas treats from Anna Campbell, together in one collection at last – and all at a bargain price!

The Winter Wife: Will an unexpected meeting on Christmas Eve deliver a second chance at love?

Her Christmas Earl: To save her sister from scandal, Philippa Sanders ventures into a rake’s bedroom – and into his power. Now only a hurried Christmas marriage can rescue her reputation.

A Pirate for Christmas: What is vicar’s daughter Bess Farrar to do when the dashing new earl, the man gossip paints as a ruthless pirate, kisses her on their first meeting? Why, kiss him right back of course!

Mistletoe and the Major: After years of war, Major Lord Canforth returns to England a hero. Now he faces his greatest battle—to win the heart of the wife he hasn’t seen since their wedding.

A Match Made in Mistletoe: Serena Talbot makes a wish on the mistletoe—but the mistletoe gets it wrong! A Christmas of chaos and confusion lies ahead. Will mistletoe magic lead to a happy ending?
--> The Christmas Stranger: At Christmastime, a stranger crossing the threshold means good fortune. But is Josiah Hale’s arrival lucky for Maggie, the girl Christmas forgot?

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Anna Campbell

Australian Anna Campbell has written 10 multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins, and 20 bestselling independently published novellas. She’s also written 2 full-length independently published novels, Lord Garson’s Bride, the last instalment in her bestselling Dashing Widows series, and The Laird’s Willful Lass, the first book in The Lairds Most Likely. Look out for her novella, The Laird’s Christmas Kiss, in late October, the second story in this new Scottish-set series.
Anna loves to hear from readers, you can find her: WebsiteFacebookTwitter.


  1. I love watching the snow fall on Christmas Eve while watching A Christmas Carol. Alistair Sim is my favorite Scrooge. Merry Christmas.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Mary Ann, thank you so much for swinging by. Would you believe I've never watched a Christmas Carol or read it? Obviously something I need to remedy! Maybe this should be the year! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  2. I love getting in the car with my husband and driving past the light displays in all of the different neighborhoods. We take in all the beauty and creativity of people we don't know. Blessings to you and your writing...

    1. Thank you, Joan. Merry Christmas to you. Christmas lights are a real tradition here on the Sunshine Coast where I live. There are whole streets that turn into tourist attractions with food vans and entertainment and everything.

  3. Think I prefer the Regency version of Christmas. I could definitely forego all the Christmas songs, and the pudding.

    1. Jackie, I have to say there's something appealing about the Regency Christmas, isn't there? I'm not a great fruitcake/fruit pudding fan so I could forego that. I rather like the songs although I'm sick of them by the time Christmas rolls around.

  4. Going to see the decorated houses and neighborhoods.

  5. Oh Anna... what a fabulous blog! I so enjoyed it and I just love learning new things! I just love spending time with my family at Christmas! We play games, sing carols and do a lot of laughing but I would love love love to partake in a regency Yuletide house party! It had to be amazing! ❤️

    1. Kat, I'm with you on the Regency house party! I love the idea of them - which is why they feature so strongly in the stories! It still surprises me quite how new a lot of our 'old' Christmas traditions are!

  6. Hi Anna!

    Wow, there are so many things I love about Christmas. We decorate early and start listening to Christmas music in August. But a tradition?

    I'd say a big tradition in our house is that my husband and I give each other 100 presents (don't get alarmed, they're small gifts like chocolate bars, sticky notes, spices, parchment paper, etc.). We wrap them individually and then open a few each day starting on December 1. It's loads of fun and even after a hard day at work, we have a gift to open after dinner. :)

    Anna, I wish you many sales on your boxed set. Each story sounds delightful. ;)

    - Mrs. N

    1. Thank you so much, Mrs. N! So glad you like the sound of the anthology. I love the 100 presents idea. It's a bit like an Advent calendar, isn't it?

    2. It is! We kind of took the 12 days of Christmas and expanded it. :)

      I think my favorite story excerpt is A Pirate for Christmas. lol!

  7. a tradition is my kids and I would go to my parents house for a christmas eve supper, attend church and then get together for few hours with the family before heading home for santa to come for the kids, and open a christmas eve present that was always pjs


    1. Cyn, love the idea of opening a present on Christmas Eve. My brother married a Danish girl and they always have their main Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve. It meant there was never any fighting over which family they went to for Christmas. Her family always came first the night before and then they came to us for Christmas Day.

  8. As my family and friends are scattered all over Australia and the world, I still like the tradition of sending Christmas cards and catching up on the news. Admittedly, with social media, this isn't as significant as it was in the past, but I still like to send a card, and include a note talking about what I've been doing during the year.

    1. Oh, me too, Ellen! I've got quite a lot this year - last year, people seem to have resorted to e-cards. I love the envelope and the stamp and getting the pile of cards out of the mailbox. And then opening them up and getting the news. All round fun!

  9. My favorite tradition is a big turkey dinner with family. jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu

  10. Ligbts ! Candlelight, Chrustmas tree lights, firelight

  11. Thank you to all who took part in the Giveaway. The winner of the Kindle download of Mistletoe Wishes: A Regency Christmas Collection is Joan Noeldechen. Congratulations! Drop me an email to claim your prize!


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx