Monday, December 21, 2009

Your Guide to an 18th Century Christmas

So you want to do things right and have an 18th century Christmas this year? Well, cross off that Wii game and replace it with "fashionable walking stick" because the Georgians really knew how to have some festive fun!

Blech, it sure is gross outside with all the nasty weather and dead plants. To bring some life inside, find whatever green plants you can and string them up wherever necessary; ideally over doors and windows. Colonial Williamsburg always does a wonderful job of this. If you stick springs of holly and bay in the crack between the window and the sill, your house will look very festive and alive from the cold streets outside. Gather all your vases and containers and place your greenery in that as well. Most importantly, don't forget to string up the mistletoe. I like to put it up conspicuously near my gaming tables and in the corners of my dressing room. Remember, never hang mistletoe in a pantry, closet or some other area where you might uncomfortably run into your disappeared friends during the whilst game.

Food and Beverage
Be sure to stock up on those merry drinks. How else would you expect your guests to stay warm? Check with your housekeeper to see if you have enough wines, brandy, and rum punches stocked up to survive the twelve days of celebration. Hmm, perhaps we should also stock up on chamber pots. You'll also be eating more hot meats than usual since guests are over so be sure the cook is prepared. Also don't forget to have at least one show stopper, so that guests will be talking about "that delicious swan" or "that impressive croquembouche" for Christmases to come.

Get out those Christmas Cards
Christmas cards appeared in the 18th century, but they were called Christmas Pieces. It was a time of letters to begin with so Christmas pieces was just another opportunity to spread the news. These pieces tended to have printed festive borders. So before you can worry about your holiday house plans, make sure you send your man to the post office with your greetings.

Let the Fun Begin!
Traditionally you should be celebrating for twelve days straight, ending on 6 January, Epiphany. Make merry with many games, feasts, and, of course, drinks. A fox hunt (Top Gear had one recently that was more my style) should be in store so lay out your best riding habit. Also, balls should take up most of the nights with the grandest one happening on Twelfth Night. Now the only question that remains is can you handle all this festive cheer?

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