In the Regency era, there were no Christmas trees in the parlours of London. Christmas trees were a custom that wouldn’t catch on till Queen Victoria and Prince Albert imported the tradition from Germany. But that doesn’t mean there were no decorations for the holiday season–which began on Christmas Eve and continued till Twelfth Night (Epiphany, January 6th).
It was considered unlucky to bring greenery into the house prior to Christmas Eve, but Regency folk used evergreens for that special day. The most popular decoration was a “kissing bough.” It was fasioned of ivy (to symbolize women), prickly holly (to represent men) and mistletoe (to give young men an excuse to claim a kiss!)
Each time a kiss was forfeited, the gentleman was supposed to reach up and pluck off one of the mistletoe berries. When the berries were all gone, no more kisses could be stolen.
Kisses freely given? That’s another story!
Another Regency tradition was the Christmas candle, which was lit on Christmas Eve. It was expected to burn through Christmas Day. This may have been a nod to the older custom of a Yule log which provided heat during the 12 days of festival, but by the beginning of the 19th century, few fireplaces would accomodate such a monstrous-sized log!
Christmas decor has changed over the years. Thank goodness. Does anyone besides me remember those dreadful aluminum trees with the rotating lights? I love the smell of a real tree but haven’t had one in years, because of the fire hazard. If we limited our celebration to the 12 days of Christmas, I wonder if I’d feel differently about it.
Now I have a tall skinny one with our limited condo-space in mind, but it’s real enough to pass from across the room.
My favorite ornament is my 77 year old Santa. He was under my dad’s first Christmas tree when he was a baby and now he lives on my tree. His face was smooshed in before I got him. The red felt of his suit is a little threadbare in places and all his joints are loose. I’m happy to report my dad is in much better shape, but this little fellow is a lovely connection with his childhood and mine.
What’s your favorite holiday decoration? Share it with us and you’ll be entered in the drawing for my Christmas enovella in winner’s choice of Kindle or Nook format–MY LADY BELOW STAIRS.
Nobody misses Lord & Lady Hartwell’s Christmas Ball, but they all go for different reasons. When Lady Sybil runs off with an Italian portrait painter, her bastard half-sister Jane Tate goes in her place. Lord Eddleton plans on proposing to “Sybil” under the mistletoe. Lady Darvish is on the hunt for her fifth husband.
And Ian Michael MacGarrett, the head groom with more than horseflesh on his mind, is determined to show Jane that love doesn’t have to pretend.
“My Lady Below Stairs is the story of a bastard servant girl called in to impersonate her missing aristocratic half-sister with results worthy of Shakespeare!” ~ Library Journal
Be sure to check back on December 5th. I’ll announce the winner then. Good luck!
P.S. Both my publishers are giving away copies of my books, so if you’ve got a minute, check out my mini-blog hop. You’ll have chances to win LORD OF DEVIL ISLE, TOUCH OF A THIEF, TOUCH OF A ROGUE, TOUCH OF A SCOUNDREL, or my January 2103 release WAKING UP WITH A RAKE!