Old time Christmas...


 Illustrated London News, 1903
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Kissing under the Mistletoe, 1800.  
For the English commoners Christmas was a time for drinking and merry making.  
Referred to as 'gambols', fun activities included kissing under the mistletoe, storytelling, 
practical jokes, and games like 'Snap Dragon'.  Singing and playing music for gifts 
by poor musicians (called 'Waits') on Christmas Eve was also common
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After Edward Penny, 'The Mistletoe or Christmas Gambols', 1796
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
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'The Christmas Party', about 1850.
Attributed to Robert David Wilkie (1827-1903)
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A game of 'Snap Dragon' from The Illustrated London News, 1858
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'Snap Dragon' was a parlour game popular from about the 16th to 19th centuries.
It was played during the winter, particularly on Christmas Eve. Brandy was heated
and placed in a wide shallow bowl; raisins were placed in the brandy which was then
set alight. Typically, lights were extinguished or dimmed to increase the eerie effect
of the blue flames playing across the liquor. The aim of the game was to pluck
the raisins out of the burning brandy and eat them, at the risk of being burnt.
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From ' The Book of Christmas descriptive of the Customs, Ceremonies,
Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling, and Festivities of the Christmas Season'
by Thomas K. Hervey, illustrated by R. Seymour,
Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1888

Project Gutenberg eBook


 William Ewart Lockhart (1846-1900) : 'Old Father Christmas'


100-year-old letter to Father Christmas On Christmas Eve 1911, 
a brother and sister wrote a letter to Santa Claus at their home in Dublin. 
It reads: 'GOOD LUCK. I want a baby doll and a waterproof with a hood and a 
pair of gloves and a toffee apple and a gold penny and a silver sixpence and a long 
toffee. A or H Howard GOOD LUCK'. They placed it in the chimney of 
the fireplace in the front bedroom. The letter remained remarkably 
intact and was only slightly burned from fires set in the house


'Father Christmas' 
by Firmin Bouisset, 1893


Thomas Falcon Marshall: 'Christmas Morning', 1865


Christmas Time in London ca. 1915


James Pollard: 'Christmas in Bowman's Place'


'Merry Christmas to You!'
  illustrated by R. Seymour


A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year, ca. 1877
Album of Christmas, New Year and other Greeting Cards. 
Early and Fine Printing Collection, Library of Birmingham


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