We really owe so much of what we now regard as Christmas festivities to the Victorians. After the Puritans banned Christmas celebrations in the early 17th century, it wasn't until Victoria was on the throne, from 1837 to 1901, that they were revived in abundance. In fact the Victorians went a step further and added even more festive emblems! Besides many of our well-known carols, the Christmas pudding and the traditions partly introduced by Charles Dickens in his little novel, A Christmas Carol, here are a few more Victorian innovations.
Christmas Cards: It's hard to imagine that the sending of Christmas cards only began with the Victorians. The first commercial card is attributed to Henry Cole, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, who commissioned a card which eventually went on sale in London in 1846.
Christmas Crackers: Invented by a pastry cook, Thomas Smith, the cracker was inspired by the French bonbons wrapped in twists of coloured paper that he saw in Paris. Smith gradually added riddles, mottoes and in 1860, he added the explosive bang!
Chistmas Trees: The Christmas tree was not a new concept in Victorian times, having been introduced to royal festivities by George III's wife, Queen Charlotte. But Prince Albert brought many German traditions to Britain when he married Victoria, including the decorated indoor tree, a tradition that soon spread right across Britain.
I'm sure there are many more traditions for which we should thank the Victorians!