Dickensian Christmas

Are you getting into the festive spirit or are the final few days before Christmas becoming a blur of stressful work deadlines and last minute shopping? This year we’re dreaming of a Christmas like the good ol’ days. The Christmas that Charles Dickens wrote about when he talked of the “Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveller back to his own fireside and quiet home!”

So, put up your feet, take a seat by the fire place and let us regale you with our tips for how to have a Dickensian Christmas.


Your Christmas cake on the 5th January. What we now call Christmas cake originated from Twelfth Night cake which was traditionally given to guests at Epiphany celebrations twelve days after Christmas. Hidden in the cake is a bean (much like the sixpence hidden in a Christmas pudding) and the person who finds the bean rules the feast. We think it’s a great way to spread out the indulgence over another week as well!


A sherry cobbler. This cocktail is an old favourite that hails back to Dickensian times and is still drunk in many bars today. A muddle of sherry, orange slices, seasonal berries and a teaspoon of sugar, it has a distinctly warming Christmas zing to it.


With greenery and exotic fruits. Evergreen plants strung across mantel pieces, up banisters and on table centrepieces make for a tasteful and traditional way to deck your halls. Exotic fruits were very popular at Christmas in Dickensian times as a treat as many had only just arrived in the UK for the first time. Add colour to your greenery with pomegranates, oranges, lemons and pineapples.


Handmade trinkets to hang on the tree. Before the days of saving money by organising a secret Santa, Christmas presents weren’t so expensive in the first place. Instead of presents to go under the tree, the Victorians would make presents to hang on the tree. We’ll be suggesting getting crafty to our friends next year for a thrifty yet personal present idea.


‘How? Why? When? Where?’ Dickens very much believed that Christmas was about spending quality time with the family and what better way than to play a game together. ‘How? Why? When? Where?’ is a simple Victorian parlour game that can easily be played around the dinner table by all ages. One player thinks of an object and the other players take it in turn to ask the first player ‘How do you like it?’, ‘Why do you like it?’, ‘When do you like it?’ and ‘Where do you like it?’ and try and guess what the object is.

If you’re feeling a little Scrooge-like this year, we hope some of these tips brighten your season and find you thinking, as Scrooge says, at the end of a Christmas Carol, “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

Merry Christmas!


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