Victorian Christmas Traditions You Didn’t Know About

Cobalt Fairy

Hello, again, my dearies! 

Christmas. What a wonderful time!

Lights, ornaments, deers and much more. It was not always like this, however. Victorians—even though it may seem unbelievable—are the ones that are the most responsible for the way Christmas is celebrated today.

Thank you Victorians! 🙂

People have been enjoying pagan celebrations in the middle of winter for hundreds of years. With the advent of Christianity, these celebrations were mixed with Christian customs until we reached the Victorian era, where no one had heard of Santa Claus and the famous Christmas holidays before.

However, new technologies and the wealth of the industrial revolution have changed Christmas forever. Charles Dickens took the first step towards a change with A Christmas Carol, urging his wealthy fellow citizens to help the poor.

It was the wealth of new factories and industries that allowed the middle class, especially in England and Wales, to take a break from work and celebrate, for two consecutive days, Christmas and the second day of Christmas, also known as Boxing Day. This day got its name from the boxes of monetary donations from the rich, which were opened on December 26 by servants and workers.

If you are interested in learning more then, my dear, keep reading! 🙂


Gifts have also changed over the years. At the beginning of the Victorian era, children’s toys were usually handmade and therefore very expensive.

The factories brought mass production to puppets, cars, books and mechanical toys at affordable prices that also appealed to the middle class.

The Christmas Sock became popular for children of poor families around 1870 but usually included an apple, an orange, and a few nuts. What a gift!

Santa Claus

And the tradition of Santa Claus took the form we know today in the Victorian era.

The figure, also known as Father Christmas, came from an old English winter festival. He was always dressed in green, signaling the coming of Spring.

Stories about St. Nicholas came to America from the Danish colonists (Sinter Klaas) in the 17th century and then to Britain in 1870 when the famous Santa Claus was born with the deer and sled we all love.

Christmas Tree

Even the Christmas tree was a German custom that first appeared in England in 1840! Did you know that, my dear?

Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, has brought one to adorn the castle of Windsor and has dominated every Christmas decoration ever since.

Christmas Cards

The first Christmas card was created in 1843.

Henry Cole asked an artist to draw one, and then printed it in 1000 copies and began selling it in his store, among other artifacts. Since then, the sending of cards has been established, especially for wealthy families, and it is said that Queen Victoria had such a weakness in the Christmas cards that she had her children make and send their own during the holidays.

Sending cards became even more popular around 1870 when the stamp of the half-pen was introduced. Ten years later, the number of cards printed exceeded 11 million!

Christmas Crackers

One of the most special Victorian customs was Christmas Crackers. In 1848, British pastry chef Tom Smith observed during a visit to Paris that the candied almonds they were selling were wrapped in paper.

Then he created a noise-popping package as soon as its edges were pulled. His idea was adopted by many, improved, and the noisy packaging came to include small gifts, in addition to sweets.

Christmas Crackers are also not missing from modern Christmas tables and in 2010 the Royal Mint made a cracker containing gold coins worth £ 10,000.

Even though the Victorians were dark types, all the above were very happy traditions, don’t you think?

As has been the case in every historical period that has brought about great change, the Victorians had seized every opportunity to have fun and get out of trouble.

Well, my dear, this is it!

This article’s purpose was to enrich your knowledge regarding the Christmas traditions that existed during our lovely Victorian Era…I hope you found it interesting and that you have learned a lot!

Thank you for reading my article…I would love to know your thoughts on today’s topic so please leave a comment below!

You’re fantastic 🙂

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. Hoping your holidays—and all your days—are filled with joy!

Written by Scarlett Osborne

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