Christmas took a bit of a bashing under Cromwell and the Puritans. They even disliked plum pudding; so much so that they actually banned it, calling it a ‘lewd custom’ and ‘unfit for God-fearing people’. Luckily the Georgians thought differently and Christmas became party time starting on the 6th December right through the month until 6th January.
Read all about the jolly Georgian Christmas in this piece by Ben Johnson (not the one you’re thinking of) writing for www.historic-uk.com:
In 1644, Christmas was banned by Oliver Cromwell. carols were forbidden and all festive get-togethers were deemed against the law. With the restoration of Charles II, Christmas was re-instated, albeit in a more subdued manner. By the Georgian period (1714 to 1830), it was once again a very popular celebration.
When searching for information on a Georgian or Regency (late Georgian) Christmas, who better to consult than Jane Austen? In her novel, ‘Mansfield Park’, Sir Thomas gives a ball for Fanny and William. In ‘Pride and Prejudice’, the Bennets play host to relatives. In ‘Sense and Sensibility’, John Willoughby dances the night away, from eight o’clock until four in the morning. In ‘Emma’, the Westons give a party.
And so it would appear that a Georgian Christmas was very much all about parties, balls and family get-togethers. The Georgian Christmas season ran from December 6th (St. Nicholas Day) to January 6th (Twelfth Night). On St. Nicholas Day, it was traditional for friends to exchange presents; this marked the beginning of the Christmas season.
Christmas Day was a national holiday, spent by the gentry in their country houses and estates. People went to church and returned to a celebratory Christmas dinner. Food played a very important part in a Georgian Christmas. Guests and parties meant that a tremendous amount of food had to be prepared, and dishes that could be prepared ahead of time and served cold were popular. For more visit: