Friday, December 4, 2009

A Regency Christmas

from Emily Bryan . . .

From the mists of the pagan past, the custom of dragging in a near tree trunk to provide heat for the festivities was adapted to celebrate Christmas. I first ran into the Jul festival when I researched my Diana Groe viking stories, but Regency households kept a variation of this old Norse tradition too.

The log was selected well ahead of time and allowed to dry. It would be taken into the house on Christmas Eve and was lit with a piece from the previous year's Yul log. The log was expected to cook the dinner, heat the nog and wassail, and provide a merry flame all through Christmas Day as well. If it failed to last for the full day, it was considered an ill-omen for the coming year.

Historical writers do plenty of research and we uncover lots of fun facts we can't squeeze into our stories. For A CHRISTMAS BALL, I studied Regency holiday traditions and just had to share. I've posted 6 pages of Regency Christmas material on my website, just little tidbits of festive fun. I talk about the games, the food, the decorations for celebrating the 12 days of Christmas! I've hidden 6 Christmas balls on my site and a click on the image will take you to the bonus page.

So please join me at www.emilybryan.com for a Regency scavenger hunt! (Or if you're pressed for time, check out my site map to take you straight to the bonus pages!)

Enjoy and Happy Christmas!
Emily

PS. What Christmas tradition does your family observe?

6 comments:

Jane L December 4, 2009 at 7:48 AM  

Good Morning Emily!

My kids are all grown and in their twenties. A favorite tradition is on Christmas morning.
They LOVE their Christmas stockings! usually filled with fun and useless items, a little candy and lots of love, they cannot wait to dig into them. I told my husband we could stop buying them gifts, but they would never go for not having a stocking! LOL!

EmilyBryan December 4, 2009 at 11:26 AM  

That's sweet, Jane! Guess we're all kids at Christmas.

librarypat December 4, 2009 at 7:19 PM  

When our children were little, they would wake up sooo early wanting to open their presents. Since I was "Santa" and was usually up until 2 or so wrapping gifts, this didn't go over too well. I started putting a few small wrapped gifts along with the other goodies in their stockings. On Christmas morning, they knew they could get their stockings and open what was in them. It bought me a little more sleep ;o)
After saying that, I can remember one year when my DH and I woke up early and lie there waiting for the kids to get up and sneak down to see the tree. Wouldn't you know, they slept in that year and we could have gotten at least an extra hours sleep;o)
Have a great December.

Sandy December 5, 2009 at 7:15 AM  

One of my favorite traditions was to go to church on Christmas Eve and play a part in the nativity scene or sing in the choir. As we left the church we would be handed losely woven bags of candy, nuts and fruit. Then we would go to Grandma's house and open some of our Christmas presents. My grandparents had the tree lit with the liquid lights, which were so beautiful. Great memories.

EmilyBryan December 6, 2009 at 8:06 AM  

Pat--Too funny! You can never tell when Christmas Day is going to start!

EmilyBryan December 6, 2009 at 8:08 AM  

Sandy--When our kids were very small, we used to take them to the midnight Christmas Eve service in their jammies! One year we went with my DH's 94 year old grandmother and she insisted on sitting between us. My DH has a fine baritone voice and I'm a soprano, so she said she had her own private concert when we sang the hymns and carols!

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