from Mia Marlowe

Dec 5th Update: Congrats to Ann S.! She’s the winner of my Christmas enovella, MY LADY BELOW STAIRS!   

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).

Kissing BoughIt 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!

Dad's Santa

My 77 year old Santa

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.

THE QUESTION

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.

THE PRIZE   

My Lady Below Stairs

Click to order!

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

THE DRAWING

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!


28 thoughts on “Deck the Regency Halls!

  1. Kathleen OD says:

    I have so many fav Holiday Decorations, But I think my fav ones are the beautiful Cyrstal Angel Candle holders my oldest brother and his wife gave me for Christmas…

    1. MiaMarlowe MiaMarlowe says:

      I’ll bet you think of your brother and SIL every time you look at it, Kathleen.

  2. Ann s. says:

    My favorite holiday decoration is a pink sequin and felt angel ornament. It was given to me when I was little by my Aunty Kay. She was my “grandma” since I didn’t have one. Kay painted my nails and bought me powder compacts. This ornament is frilly and wonderful just like Kay.

    1. MiaMarlowe MiaMarlowe says:

      What wonderful memories, Ann. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Betty Hamilton says:

    My favorite Christmas decoration is my Christmas Patch Work Quilt. Its so bright and colorful with all the red, green, and white Christmas patterns. I place it over the back of my sofa and it brightens up the whole room.

    1. MiaMarlowe MiaMarlowe says:

      Fun,Betty. My oldest daughter works for a quilting company and she says she never realized there were so many different shades of thread!

  4. Sandi in OH says:

    We have more ornaments than we have tree. Each ornament has special meaning because they are things our sons made in school or gifts given by friends, ornaments we found on our travels, ornaments made or given to us from our grandchildren. It is a trip through memory lane when decorating our tree. I have two from my childhood that I love and the only ones I brought with me when I got married 44 years ago.

    1. MiaMarlowe MiaMarlowe says:

      The old ones are the good ones, aren’t they? We have a few we picked up on our travels too. They make nice reminders.

  5. I love our life-sized, corrugated Santa that my husband puts on our front lawn, alongside a couple of small pines that he strings with lights. It’s an old-fashioned Santa, and we bought it when our kids were little and money was tight. I think it cost $50 at the time, and we agonized over the expenditure. But we’ve never regretted it! I’ll post a picture of him on facebook later today. (I only wish there was a little bit of snow to go with him right now!)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      My grandmother had a cardboard fireplace she always put up and lined all the grandkids’ stockings along its remarkably sturdy mantle. How Santa managed to gain entrance to the house through the cardboard fireplace was one of the great mysteries of my childhood, but since the jolly old elf was always good to me, I was prepared to take it on faith!

  6. Connie Fischer says:

    My favorite holiday decorations are my sons’ Christmas stockings and mantlepiece hangers from when they were little. They are now 41 and 45. These are precious to me and I still put them out even though only one son usually comes here for Christmas. The older son is busy with his big family in his own home. Nostalgic and sweet for my husband and me.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Someday, you should send the stocking to him as a surprise. I have the stocking my grandmother used to fill for me and I always almost expect to find an orange in the toe each Christmas just the way she used to do it.

  7. Sheila M says:

    My favorite is a little red plastic Santa, about 4 inches tall, my grannie bought him for me for my first Christmas, which would make him ready for social security. Since she was my favorite person in the world, everything I have from her is so special.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Sound like your Santa would be a good match for mine!

  8. CateS says:

    I have a few ornaments that were my parents and then there are the ones that we’ve bought while travelling.. they all bring back wonderful memories…We were just laughing about the tree we bought and decorated one year, then realizing it wasn’t taking up water… had to un-decorate, saw off a chunk, and then re-decorate!! That was the year we bought a fake one during the after-holiday sales… PS.. check out some candles with a fir/balsam scent to replace the tree…upside is no needles in the carpet for 2 months!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I’m in favor of no needles.

  9. Rebe says:

    My favorite Christmas decoration is the stocking my sister knitted for me a few years ago!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Oh, that’s special. My girls have stockings crocheted by their great grandmother.

  10. Shana Shana says:

    I have a stocking my grandmother knitted for me when I was really young. I love it and wish she was able to see well enough to knit one for my daughter.

  11. Trisha says:

    OK,I probably have the most bizarre one-a pickle ornament! Every Christmas Eve after the kids go to bed Santa hangs it up on the tree. The child that finds it, gets a special present (usually involving chocolate..so this is good for all ages!)

  12. catslady says:

    Oh, I learned a lot from your post. I didn’t know about picking the berries (of course now a days a lot are just plastic lol). As to special decorations, I’ve been collecting ornaments for over 42 years. From the homemade, from friends, family and trips etc. I do have some that are dear that were my husband’s when he was small (alas some have broken they are of such delicate glass and one year our tree fell down twice!!) and I have two from my childhood that are precious and some my children have given me.

  13. Barbara Elness says:

    I have lots of wonderful decorations that all mean something, so I can’t choose a favorite from among my babies, but here are a couple I particularly love – my Santa in a rocket ship and the unicorn carrying a skateboard. :D

  14. bn100 says:

    I like Christmas lights.

  15. chey says:

    My favourite Christmas decorations are the Santas and Snowmen my Mom made.

  16. Janie McGaugh says:

    My favorite is a Christmas tree skirt I made around 35 years ago.

  17. Linda Thum says:

    I like the Christmas tree best! There are so many ways to decorate it & keep adding to it every year. The angel at the top is always special.

  18. Sharlene Wegner says:

    My favorite decoration is one my son made in preschool with his smiling picture on it. (He’s 20 now!)

  19. Melody May says:

    I love my poinsettia garland that I bought for a house, but doesn’t work any other house. Yet, I still love it. :D

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