The Adoration of the Kings, 1510-15.

Photograph: National Gallery, London The Adoration of the Kings – Jan Gossaerts (1510-15) This colourful Christmas tree decoration of an altarpiece was painted for an abbey near Brussels and is evidently not intended to be ascetic. The Magi who journeyed from the east to give gifts to the newborn Messiah gave wealthy people in Renaissance […]

The Endurance of ‘A Christmas Carol’

By Robert Douglas-Fairhurst Illustration by John Leech. Public domain. On 2 January, 1840, Dickens wrote to his printers, Bradbury and Evans, to thank them for their annual Christmas gift of a turkey. Four years later, Dickens had written something that possessed still more “astonishing capabilities.” A Christmas Carol in Prose: Being a Ghost Story of Christmas […]

Unusual Christmas decorations from America.

The early Roman celebration of Saturnalia, designed to appease agricultural gods who determined the fate of their crops, included the use of evergreen boughs to decorate homes. The Druids, Celts and Vikings also used them during their winter solstice ceremonies to signify hope during the seasonal dead zone.So how did the practice morph from humble […]

Behold, the most immaculate Gingerbread House ever.

All images courtesy the artist An ambitious hobbyist, turned accomplished baker, turned cookbook author steps into her crafting niche by creating a decadent holiday castle. Christine McConnell, expert baker and architecture-savvy aesthete, completes a massive, intricate gingerbread house. Putting in nearly 270 hours of work spread over 20 days, as well as pounds and pounds […]

Try this for Christmas, Nigel Slater’s Cherry Pie.

Use all cherries if you wish, but the tartness of the blueberries seems to amplify the flavour of the cherries. The cornflour becomes invisible, but effectively thickens the juices. Serves 6. For the pastry: plain flour 230g; butter 140g; icing sugar 50g; eggs 1 large yolk, plus another beaten to seal and glaze the pie. […]

Artworks that define Christmas.

Winter Landscape by Caspar David Friedrich (1811) Image Credit: Photograph by Corbis  The Wilton Diptych, unknown artist (c 1395-99) Photograph: The Gallery Collection/Corbis See more Artwork via The 15 artworks that define Christmas – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian

Christmas Black Cake.

If you’re someone who can’t wait to plan Christmas every year, it’s never too early to start preparing the Caribbean holiday treat known as black cake. To make this dessert, islanders soak dried fruit in rum and cherry brandy for up to a year before baking. After British colonists introduced plum pudding (which is more […]

A Pictorial History of Santa Claus – 1863.

1863: Detail from Thomas Nast’s illustration ‘A Christmas Furlough’ for the front page of a 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly. Obviously crafted for the Union side of the American Civil War Conflict. As time went by, more and more was added to the Santa Claus legend. The cartoonist Thomas Nast established the bounds for Santa […]

Children Celebrating Christmas, 100 Years Ago.

From lighting a real candle on the branch of an indoor Christmas tree, to a well-dressed family singing carols on a stairwell in the home, this lovely collection of nostalgic photos reveal how children from a bygone era celebrated the festive season. A little girl and her Saint Bernard deliver a present at Christmas, circa […]

Olde Christmas Cards.

Anthropomorphic birds and animals were another popular theme, as seen in this Christmas Reversed scene, where raw dinner ingredients get in a party mood. Sending Christmas cards was a habit popularised by the Victorians, helped by the introduction, in 1840, of a uniform penny post.England’s first commercial Christmas card was printed in 1843, and is […]