Tuesday, December 20, 2005
A Regency Christmas
Many of our Christmas customs date from Victorian times, but some were prevalent in the Regency era.
It was customary to decorate the house with sprigs of holly and mistletoe, if they flourished in that particular part of the country. Greenery was wound around the banisters, and tucked behind pictures and mirrors.
Gift giving was also a normal part of a Regency Christmas. One of Jane Austen's nieces, Emma Austen Leigh, kept a record of her Christmas presents, and they give an insight into the type of gift that was popular at the time.
In 1813, she had a tambourine from her papa, a compass case from her mama, a straw box from Miss Ramsey and a parallel ruler from her aunt.
As she grew older, the nature of the presents changed, so that in 1817 her presents consisted of a pair of gold earrings from her mama, a turquoise ring from Fanny, a gold locket from her aunt, and a silk purse from Miss Ramsey.