Victorian Gift-Giving

No era in history has influenced how we celebrate Christmas, quite as much as the Victorians. Before Queen Victoria’s reign, Christmas celebrations were bleak, or non-existent. Christmas trees went undecorated, Christmas cards not sent, and not many knew of the Jolly Ole Saint Nick. In the same right, the process of giving and receiving gifts was not a Christmas tradition.

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Treasured Victorian Easter Traditions

To tell of Easter is to speak of hope.

As well it should be. For the holiday celebrates a promise of new life and the resurrection of one—that of Jesus Christ. His story unfolds from each pulpit on Easter Sunday, but also the days leading up.

The Thursday before hosts what’s known in England as the Royal Maundy. Each sovereign tailors the event in some way. During Queen Victoria’s reign, she determined the event be held at Westminster Abbey.  It is there that she addressed the congregation and upheld the tradition of distributing something much more precious than candy. . .

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How Scrooge Sparked Christmas & More Yuletide Origins

‘Twas a time before Christmas.

Unimaginable as it may seem, the holiday brought little more than a glad tiding or cup of good cheer. To unearth the origins of time-honored traditions held today requires a return to  Victorian Christmases.

. . . To precisely one in particular. . . that of Ebenezer Scrooge.

A little Christmas book.

Selling out in three days’ time, Charles Dicken’s “little Christmas book” became a classic straightaway. Of a myriad of Things You Might Not Know About A Christmas Carol, its message of giving fostered convictions in the rich and inspired the classes from merely observing the holiday to celebrating it.

Speaking of old Ebenezer. . . .

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Still Cooking

Two decades have passed since Diana first saw in a dream the perfect white house with pillars. The very next day as she took a drive through town, she turned onto a street she was unfamiliar with and was astonished to see the house from her dream.

Before long, she had moved into the two-story house, but discovered that she was afraid to go upstairs. Something about the top floor gave her the creeps. “It was as if it were haunted,” she said. Continue reading “Still Cooking”

Cedar Point Ghost

Opened in 1870 on Lake Erie, Cedar Point is the second-oldest amusement park in America and was home to the 1921 Dentzel Carousel, which traveled from park to park until landing there in 1971.v_carousel_hampstead_heath

Artist Shelly was unaware of the stories whispered by employees about the ghostly lady who rode the carousel at night. She was simply fascinated by historic carousels – so fascinated that she made them the main subject of her work. Her life-sized renderings in pastels and oils depict carved animals from famous carousels. As drawn as she was to some of those marvelous menageries, she cannot explain why one plain old brownish horse captivated her two decades ago.

“I spent several days in a row, one summer, going back and photographing it,” she confided. She had no idea that the one horse by which she was so inexplicably mesmerized was haunted. Continue reading “Cedar Point Ghost”

Alice’s Grave

Alice’s family was very prominent in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. When she had her coming-out party, her brother, who was studying to be a doctor, brought a friend who was working his way through school. When he and Alice met, they fell in love.

They got engaged, but because his social standing was so far below that of her family, she was forbidden to see the young man again. She hid her engagement ring on a chain around her neck. Continue reading “Alice’s Grave”

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