A Victorian Christmas
with From Time To Time
Thursday 12 December 2019
A thoroughly good time was had by the whole audience when “From Time to Time” entertained us on 12 December with a description of a Victorian Christmas at the Vale of Evesham Historical Society’s last meeting of the year.
“From Time to Time” are two ladies, both very experienced and knowledgeable living history interpreters, who arrived in costume and in character, this time as Lady Maud, and Eliza, a person of the “lower sort”. We were taken through the whole Christmas period, from 21st December, St Thomas’s Day, when, traditionally, Parish Officials such as the Beadle and the Constable, were elected, through preparations for the festivities to the big day itself and Boxing Day.
The audience learned a lot. Did you know, for example, that the Christmas Cracker was invented by one Thomas Smith, that the Swedish custom of decorating rooms with paper chains was introduced during Victorian times, and that the figure of the infant Jesus was gradually replaced on the Christmas Tree by a model of the good fairy from the pantomime? Apparently, too, the English time for the exchange of presents was actually the New Year; the giving of gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas day is a German custom.
The talk was presented with a lot of humour and banter between “Lady Maud” and “Eliza”; we were treated to a Christmas story by “Eliza”, and joined in singing some popular carols. “Lady Maud” and “Eliza” also performed some lesser known carols and popular songs of the period, so the reader can imagine what an entertaining evening was had by everyone. We finished with mince pies and other refreshments.