Some time ago I reviewed a brilliant documentary series, Victorian Farm Christmas. The producers put up some videos about making your own Victorian Christmas, however these were available only to people in the UK. These videos are now up on YouTube, so are available to everyone. Enjoy!
For many evenings before the tree arrived, the diligent woman of the Victorian house was secretly making ornaments by cutting shapes from coloured papers and card to adorn the Christmas tree.
It was Queen Victoria's German-born husband Prince Albert who first introduced Christmas trees to England. In 1841 he put one up in Windsor Palace, word got around and the custom filtered down through society to become one of the essential features of the 20th century Christmas, a tradition that continues today. Here are some tips on how the Victorians would have decorated their trees.
Victorians used greenery from the countryside and gardens to decorate their homes at Christmas. Ivy Ribbons are a very Victorian take on room decorations that emphasised making nature into a perfect, ordered form.
The tradition of the wreath pre-dates the Victorians by centuries, but it was a tradition they embraced and made their own. Victorian wreaths were elaborate and made with all types of evergreen foliage, such as holly, ivy and yew. To decorate they would use fruit and pine cones.
Victorians thought nothing of spending hours over their room decorations to get them looking just right. When the desired greenery and berries were not available, they would make their own. These inspired holly berries require just peas and wax.
Victorians made mistletoe balls for the same reason we hang mistletoe today, to steal a kiss from an unsuspecting person passing under it. The mistletoe ball or 'kissing ball' was always made out of evergreen branches and was often decorated with scented herbs and foliage.
Part II of this article series - Victorian Christmas: Gifts
Part III of this article series - Victorian Christmas: Crafts
Part IV of this article series - Victorian Christmas: Food and Drink
Part V of this article series - Victorian Christmas: Games and Activities