Friday, December 10, 2010


By Koren Trygg & Lucy Poshek

A VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS , an Antioch Gourmet Gift Book, is a petite book of cherished Christmas traditions. It's the perfect size to slip into someone's stocking, and though out of print, it can be found here on Amazon.

This delightful book credits the Victorians for the "classic, festive holiday we cherish today". It was during the 19th century and Queen Victoria's reign that many of the age old customs were revived, "emphasizing their romantic and religious significance". The Christmas tree, a German tradition, dates to the 16th century. When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, a German, she wanted him to feel at home and had a Christmas tree brought into the palace. Thus the practice of decorated Christmas trees became fashionable in British homes.

Gingerbread cookies decorated with red sugar were often hung on the trees for decoration.

Most of the ornaments were handmade.

Glass ornaments later became the fashion.

The Victorians took the pagan idea of hanging greens in the house as a welcomed opportunity to use wreaths and garlands of fresh greens to "dress up their homes in the spirit of the holidays".

The custom of Christmas cards dates fromVictorian times. The typical greeting of the time is the same as today, "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You."

Traditions of Christmas stockings, according to British legend, date from "when Saint Nicholas dropped some gold coins along with his gifts down a chimney. The coins would have fallen through the grate but were caught by a stocking that had been hung to dry on the hearth. Ever since then, children have been leaving their shoes or stockings to be filled on Christmas Eve."

Victorians loved their sweets and began preparing marmalades, jams, jellies, puddings, and cakes months ahead.

By December they began baking cookies and breads.

The last two chapters are devoted to special recipes that can be used as gifts from your kitchen or to host your own Victorian Christmas Feast. I selected the recipe for Old-Fashioned Gingerbread to share for Food For Thought because gingerbread is my favorite.

It's cold outside, so come on in by our cozy fire . . .

Where you can enjoy a cup of hot tea and a piece of gingerbread fresh from the oven.

"Had I but a penny in the world, thou shouldst have it for gingerbread."
William Shakespeare

Click the link below to see more FFT Edible Reviews

Jain has invited everyone to visually share favorite holiday books during the month of December. I hope you'll join in with some of your favorite books, illustrating them with treasured collectables, holiday decorations, or food from the kitchen.

Also linking to:


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. YUM!!!!!!!! Gingerbread is sooooooo very good. And that picture with the steaming cup & slice of gingerbread was classic! I didn't know the story behind the stocking & gold coins. I just LOVE learning new things. I hate to miss playing with you this week at Food For Thought but, I just don't have a post prepared & I'm off to look at a new puppy in the morning. HUGS!

  2. Oh Yummy! Tea and gingerbread!! I wish I could join you! That looks like a great little book. We owe the Victorians, Germans and Pagans thanks for a lot of our Christmas traditions! :-)

  3. Great post, Sarah! Very informative!...Christine

  4. Another wonderful post Sarah, you really are an excellent book reviewer, photographer and FFT participant.
    Chapeau, madame!

  5. Oh please would you pass me a piece of that gingerbread? It all looks so delicious and cozy!
    And didn't the victorians use candles on their Christmas trees? I think I remember reading that often people burned their homes down....sorry about bringing that up! Anyhoo I really enjoyed hearing again about the beginnings of the Christmas tree! Vanna

  6. I SO love this! I want some warm gingerbread & tea by your cozy fire! Love your beautiful compote with your chews! Your gold coins spilling out of your stocking... Your ornaments & wonderful Santa & Christmas cards are all such wonderful illustrations for your book (~love that monkey card!)

    We have been unseasonably cool for the last few weeks, with temps in the 'teens....we are reaching a balmy 40 degrees today! Your post warms my heart :-)

  7. Everything is so elegant and tasteful..I love the last Santas face.. and that charming victorian ornament w/ the child's face:)

    It's very inviting and cozy at your home~

  8. Victorian Christmas in Texas! I Love It! What a pleasure to see and read all the Victorian Christmas items in this post. I'd love to come by for Gingerbread and Tea and chat by your cozy fire. I'm going to do that one of these days for real. Hopefully next year...that's not so far away! Happy Holidays, Sarah!

  9. What a wonderful post, and a neat little book! I love your Santa. Can you share any info about him?

  10. good morning, i so love my food for thought mornings. what a treat to see your tree and all the pretty ornaments~

    your gold coins are great, love getting my facts straight!

    all your baking is making my mouth water, especially the gingerbread :)

    and that fire shot is perfection, my idea of a perfect moment in time... yes, i BELIEVE!

    oh what a beautiful post, i am to the kitchen to scrounge out a breakfast, i only wish it could be as wonderful fireside as your! thanks so much for playing at fft!

  11. Dear Sarah,
    your vignettes are always so elegant and charming. I love all the treasures you have collected, surely over years. What a dainty glass Christmas Ornament with the photo inside. Lovely! And I saw a wonderful silver cookie tongs. I relly love to see your Victorian photos, everything is very classy and beautyful.
    Have a nice 3. Advent.
    Greetings, Johanna

  12. Sounds like a fun little book, love the history of how and why we celebrate! Your pics are beautiful Sarah, and the gingerbread would go great with my coffee right about now:@)

  13. The pic of the gingerbread makes me want to run to the kitchen and bake! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Wonderful photos, Sarah! I really wasn't aware of the story behind stocking tradition. I love to see all the ornate decorations of a Victorian Christmas. I went a bit more simplistic this year- suits the crazy life we've been living! LOL Thanks for visiting. I hope you find that Snow Real. ~ Sue

  15. What a wonderful and informative post. Thanks so much for sharing it with Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  16. Thanks for sharing about the Victorian Christmas tradtions! That sounds like a wonderful book!

  17. This is a book I'll be wanting to add to my collection. Thanks for the interesting post. Now I'd like some tea and gingerbread, please.

  18. Sarah, Your gingerbread setting is beautiful. The african violets are in such full bloom! I never knew that the stockings caught the gold coins before they fell in the grate! Have a nice day. Linda

  19. I learned so much from you today! I had no idea that was the reason for stockings. I love herbs, and the Victorians were famous for their meanings for flowers and such. But I've learned so much more about them today that I feel as though I've attended a class. I thank you for that!

  20. What an interesting post Sarah. I didn't know that about the stockings. That was a fun fact to learn. Your photographs are so pretty, and your cozy setting in front of the fireplace is so inviting. You made me want some gingerbread. Thank you so much for linking up. laurie

  21. This sound slike a delightful book Sarah! I love gingerbread cookies and make them every Christmas season. I am in DIA tonight about to take the red eye flight home from Colorado to NY. It was a wonderful week

  22. I'm going to have to search for that looks amazing! Thanks for playing along and have a wonderful Holiday!

  23. Oh that looks so pretty. I love gingerbread cake..looks delish!

  24. What a beautiful - and delicious - post. Looks like a great book! Linda

  25. What a lovely holiday post. So beautiful!
    I had to laugh yesterday when on TV a commentator equated the Cmas tree with a Christian symbol. As you said, it was a pagan ritual to bring in the greens, changed trhough the times.
    No tree up yet, but the Nativity is out. Tomorrow we go to the gkids Christmas Concert, I love that!

  26. What an informative post. I did not know the reason for hanging stocking by the fire. The book you refer to sounds like a delightful and informative read. Loved learning about all of our customs. Your trees is beautiful. Happy Holidays!

  27. Dearest Sarah!!! THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND WORDS and your visit! I so love to see all the different expressions of Christmas there are to share and partake in. I LOVE A FRENCH CHRISTMAS WITH THE THIRTEEN DESSERTS...are you familiar with that?

    ENJOY YOUR DAY dearest! I am at school on my lunch break trying to catch up! Anita

  28. Such a lovely post. I love your tree, book and i soooo love gingerbread.

  29. Everything in this post is so beautifully presented, and I love to read the history of our dearly held traditions and practices of this season. ( and all others too)Thank-you.

  30. Sarah, this is such a lovely post. I would love to share warm gingerbread and tea with you. Gingerbread has long been a favorite for me.

    I've missed you on Pink Saturday. I hope you'll share your favorite holiday music with us this Saturday.

  31. THANK YOU!!!
    Thanks so much for showcasing this wonderful book. I am going to order one right now. I am a Victorian kind of gal and I really appreciate that you shared this with us and also the Christmas book party. I will get a post together soon of some of my Favorite Christmas books! I see you have The Christmas Box. I read all in that series and have the movies on DVD! One of my favorites!!


  32. Dear Sarah,
    What an absolutely lovely post! I've enjoyed every bit of it! I so love anything to do with the Victorians and so this post has appealed to me very much. Thank you for sharing and for the delightful photos too. Your gingerbread looks very tempting!

    Christmas blessings,

  33. Oh my! Your gingerbread looks scrumptious! I so appreciate you sharing the history of these traditions. Makes me want to break out the movie "Young Victoria". Love their story! I am going to have to look for that book! So appreciate you joining me at A Return to Loveliness - a delicious post!

  34. Oh boy, I just love everything.

    Thank you for a wonderful post.

  35. Oh, I love it! The ornaments! The stockings! The bowl compote? Is beautiful! Love all the history! I have missed visiting friends, I have four grand children daily, and two around the clock. They are a handful to keep up with. Wishing a Merry Christmas, and Thank you for joining me for Tea! I enjoyed this post so much!


Thank you to each of you who take the time to leave a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and will respond to any questions. Your notes are the only way I know who has stopped in for a visit.