Christmas

Christmas Before Dickens

Charles Dickens’ name conjures up the quintessential English Christmas, but it is to another Charles D that we must look if we want to know what festivities were like before the Victorian makeover. 

Merry Christmas

J.A.R. Pimlott studies the development of the Christmas Spirit—from Pagan Saturnalia to Victorian family party

Christmas 1914, And After

Sentimentality about Christmas in Britain is a Victorian legacy that owes much to the influence of Germany. The sense of outrage in December, 1914, at encountering a Christmas tarnished by the ugliness of war was common to both countries.

Did the Romans Invent Christmas?

Did the first Christian Roman emperor appropriate the pagan festival of Saturnalia to celebrate the birth of Christ? Matt Salusbury weighs the evidence.

The Birth and Background of Jesus of Nazareth

J.K. Elliott describes how many diverse elements are woven into the traditional account of the Nativity; but ‘the inspiration that the story has given to countless believers... speaks for its effectiveness.’

The First Christmas Tree

Alison Barnes sets the record straight on who was really responsible for introducing this popular custom to Britain.

Christmas in 19th Century America

Before 1850 many US citizens did not dream of Christmas at all. Penne Restad tells how and why this changed – and played its role in uniting the States in social cohesion.

Dickens and the Construction of Christmas

The best-loved of Britain's novelists penned a tale that struck a potent chord in the popular revival of the season of goodwill. Geoffrey Rowell explains its appeal and its powerful religious and social overtones.