The Christmas season is upon us, and even I can’t put it off any longer! I thought that it might be fun to take a look at it from two different points of view, looking back and looking forward. Today, let’s look back…
For me, the notion of Christmas in the Victorian era is a great one; it somehow seems so innocent and wholesome. I don’t know why this is, maybe I’m just a sucker for that period, but somehow things just seem more simple. My honest guess is that this would amuse the people who lived then, but what the heck, let’s deck the halls!
Of course you would have to start out with your Christmas cards, this was the era that invented them, and since internet connections weren’t that great in those days, everyone would actually write them and send them in the mail!
OK, try to picture this: People would go about town singing Christmas Carols in public! Apparently the ACLU was asleep on the job in those days: Horror!
People did crazy things like look out for their neighbors, give gifts to them and carol in their yards to bring festive cheer and love into their lives… I must say that we are much better off today because instead of having to go out and do things like that, we can download a movie about other people doing it and feel just as good in the warmth and security of our own homes…
Then it would be time to get the house ready for the big day. If you were well-to-do, you might go out and buy fancy ornaments for your tree, but if you weren’t, homemade ones were perfectly fine too. In fact, a great deal of their decorating involved people coming together to make things and spend time together.
When the time came, everyone in the family would come together to celebrate. Gifts were exchanged; often the gifts were hand-made as well as the decorations. For most people, gifts that their loved ones made themselves were as good as the store-bought ones, because they were made out of love for one another.
And of course, if there weren’t any gifts, that’s OK too… they would spend time in each other’s company. I guess that’s why the Christmas season in the Victorian context seems more innocent to me… or maybe there wasn’t anything good on TV; who can say?
Of course, I’ve been having a little fun with this comparison, but please don’t get the idea that I don’t appreciate the season in our own times; it’s a wonderful time… and let’s be honest, it’s what you make of it.
If we’re all caught up in the material and commercial aspect of it, it won’t be as much fun as it could have been. I’m all for Christmas Simplification! Why not just be happy with the Day, what it means and with one another’s’ company?
Of course my kids just call me “Scrooge”!
One last thing, I came across this video from 1898 called “Santa Claus” and I had to include it here, even though it’s a bit off-topic. It’s pretty short; you’ve got to check it out. It is charming in its simplicity…