Cover image for The great British Christmas
The great British Christmas
Hubert, Maria.
Publication Information:
Stroud : Sutton, [1999]

Physical Description:
vii, 167 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 21 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GT4987.43 .G74 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GT4987.43 .G74 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This anthology depicts how Christmas has been celebrated by the British across 2000 years. It includes the legend of how Arthur pulled the sword from the stone one Christmas Day in the 6th century, and Kipling's verse on the Christmas Spirit. Readers can sense Simon Minc'd Pye's disgruntlement as he sends out a plea for the restoration of games and special foods banned by the Puritan Parliament; share the Christmases of the famous diarist Samuel Pepys, who let his wife stay in bed after she "sat up till four this morning seeing her mayds make mince pies"; wonder at Charles Dickens's vivid recollections of his boyhood celebrations and his delight in the present of a jumping frog; revel in a small boy's attempt to sell left-over cake from his grandfather's shop to the masters of a grand London house; learn how Queen Victoria and Prince Albert spent their Christmases together; and see Thackeray's dismay at the proliferation of Christmas books. The book also offers recipes for a horn of mead and Mrs Beeton's original Christmas cake; traditional carols, the "Ballad of Christmas Ghosts", reminiscences of winter sports, village mummers and traditional farmhouse festivities, and the story of origins of the Christmas cracker and other Christmas customs.

Table of Contents

The great British Christmas - an introduction
Christmas books, William Makepeace Thackeray
The Calennig
King Arthur's Christmas, Sir Thomas Malory
"Eddi's Service", Rudyard Kipling
"The First Wassail", R. Acton
A horn of mead, anon - a recipe for honeyed wine
An Anglo-Norman carol
The second shepherd's play
A hue and cry after Christmas - from a 17th-century broadsheet by Simon Minc'd Pye
"Old Christmas still comes!"
Christmas with the diarists - Samuel Pepys, John Evelyn and others
Deck the church with evergreens, from the "Spectator", 1712
Love and hot cockles, from the "Spectator", 1711
"hallo Hogmanay!", D.B. Wyndham Lewis
The Christmas tree, Charles Dickens
Tales of the Christmas cracker, Maria Hubert and Michael Harrison
The 12th cake, from "The Memoirs of a London Doll", Richard Henry Horne
The royal Christmases of Queen Victoria
The Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, from the "Illustrated London News", 1848
Mrs Beeton's Christmas cake, from "Mrs Beeton's book of Household Management", 1853
Christmas Eve at an old Hertfordshire farmhouse, Edmund Hollier
Windsor Castle mincemeat, the court chef, Alexis Soyer, 1861
"Winter Sports", Anon
The mummers, from Thomas Hardy's "The Return of the Native"
Cornish cakes and other customs, from "Christmas in Cornwall Sixty Years Ago", Mrs John Bonham. (Part contents)