25 April 2016

Rudolph Day, April 2016

"Rudolph Day" is a way of keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year long. You can read a Christmas book, work on a Christmas craft project, listen to Christmas music or watch a Christmas movie.

An Old English Christmas—for some these are magical words, having read books about classic Christmas celebrations in Regency, Victorian, and wartime Britain. The streets of 20th century London can be seen here. Even older celebrations exist: wassailing of apple trees, mince pies baked for good luck, choral singing, church bells, Royal Christmas trees.

London still glitters today:

Image result for London Christmas


A London Christmas, edited by Marina Catacuzino
This is a lovely entry in Sutton Publishing's line of "A ____________ Christmas" series—one for each shire, some specialties (A Jane Austen Christmas, A Victorian Christmas, A Wartime Christmas, etc.), and of course this one, for the capitol city. They are collections of excerpts from nonfiction ranging from diaries (like Pepys and Swift) and police reports and memoirs (including children's writer John Garfield), and fiction from George Gissing and Charles Dickens (yes, of course from A Christmas Carol). There are descriptions of Christmas markets groaning with food, the rich going Christmas shopping, and a man mourning the Victorian fashion of children's Christmas parties. However, not all is jolly: poor costermongers going "a-Christmasing" describe their hard work, the bitter "Christmas in the Workhouse" appears, and two bleak holidays are described by Gissing. Historically we visit William the Conqueror's crowning, frost fairs on the Thames, London in the Blitz, medieval banquets at the Middle Temple, and the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square.

Certainly color photographs would have been much better, but these are decorated with vintage black and white prints and engravings that complement the text. Great for nightly readings before Christmas or, like today, as a respite against already sultry temperatures. If you see one at a used bookstore, give it a try!