A Victorian Christmas
When Wynne began her diary in 1895 her parents were
away in India, and for some reason they had their presents on December
24th, so Christmas Day sounded very dull...though perhaps not as dull
as twenty-first century television.
December 24th, Tuesday
December 25, 1895
...but Christmas on the whole was a time of much rejoicing and hard work, involving the whole household. Unlike today, no decorations were hung until the last minute, and the actual tree with real candles was not decorated until Christmas Day, or as this year, Christmas Eve. It was necessarily a brief occasion, since the candles burnt down, but a very brilliant one that all who participated never seemed to forget. The magic of real candles and the fact that it was such a brief and brilliant occasion added to the aura, something perhaps we have lost in the modern bombardment of light and sound, commencing as it does in October.
In 1901 Wynne was a newly
married young woman living at 53 The Common, Woolwich. She was clearly
too busy to write about it, and only really recommenced her writing in
January of 1902, but the Christmases that came later were more elaborate
affairs to the ones that she noted in India in 1898 or in England in 1900...
December 25, 1898
On Monday night the English Mail came in and it was a most exciting minute.
I had a very nice day hearing from most of the people I expected to, I
had a letter from C.W.M. (Charles - see Love) who it appears is getting
on quite well and having a good time I am so intensely glad as I was desperately
afraid he would bother himself over our unfortunate affair d'amore. He
wrote quite cheerily, perhaps rather bitterly and mentioned that he couldn't
understand how Mother could possibly say he had "taken advantage
of her kindness" - now who had kindly been poisoning his mind still
further goodness only knows, someone wishing to do one a good turn I suppose.
December 25, 1900