December 26, 2011

Boxing Day

written by Rosa Morgan

Salutations Gentle Reader,
With expectations spent and wrapping paper littering the front parlor, the day after Christmas is so often anti-climactic. Instead, let us embrace the customs of Boxing Day and enjoy an extension of the holidays.

Boxing Day goes back to the early Christian era when metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen. And just as King Wenceslas, went out on this day to give offerings to those less fortunate, so can you.

As lords and ladies of olden days once gave Christmas boxes to the manor's servants, please give consideration to those who've rendered you services year round. The milkman will duly appreciate your generosity.

Sports of all descriptions are associated with this day. Whether it's prize fighting, rugby, or ice hockey, do amble outdoors and participate in some type of physical exertion or team spirit. I, myself, enjoy a rigorous walk amongst nature.

Cook has experienced long days in the kitchen with extravagant holiday dinners and cookie baking; show your appreciation for her labors by eating leftovers, or better yet, massage the poor soul's weary feet and take her out for dinner.

Assess those gifts piled high in corners that you want to return, but do not rush to market on this day, as so many of your eager brethren plan to do. Instead, spend the time writing a thank you letter to those who sent you the over-sized tea cozy or dried out treacle pudding.

We so often rush headlong toward Christmas with unreasonable fantasies and when they fail to materialize wonder why we are depressed. On this Boxing Day, sit back, have a cup of hot tea and scone and promise yourself that next year you'll enjoy the simple joys of the season.

December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Salutations Gentle Readers,

Sending you Good Wishes and many thanks for following "The Victorian Times"!


December 12, 2011

Lenore & Archibald's First Christmas Pudding

written by Rosa Morgan Lockwood

With the teapot set to boil, Lenore bustled around the kitchen excitedly. This would be her's and Archibald's first Christmas together, and she was intent on creating memories they would cherish forever. Pinning back her curls and tying on her bib apron, she began preparations for Stir up Sunday. She had already gathered the makings for the requisite Christmas Pudding; thirteen ingredients, one for Christ and twelve for his apostles. It was a time honored receipt, handed down from mother to daughter, and one she was a bit in a tizzy to master.

"Let me see," she said, studying the items before her. "There's the sultanas and suet and black treacle; I'm certain this will be the best pudding ever. And when Archibald comes home for his mid-day luncheon, I shall have him stir it in the black cauldron for good luck, just as all of our family members did when I was a lass. From east to west, he'll stir, in honor of the Magi's journey.

"I shall put in a silver sixpence to ensure wealth for the coming year, a wishbone for good luck, a thimble for thrift, and an anchor for safe harbor. Then I shall wrap it in cheesecloth and hang it for weeks from a hook in the inglenook.

"Then like mother's hearty pudding, I shall poke a sprig of holly in it's top and alight it with port!"
At this point in her narrative, Lenore danced around the room with abandon, imagining the delight and pride on her husband's face, when the very man appeared unexpectedly in the doorway.

"What in heavens are you doing here?" she cried, as she took a seat, lest she faint straightaway.
Beaming with affection for his darling wife, Archibald asked with amusement, "Is that anyway to greet your love, who you've not set eyes upon for at least three hours?"
"I'm sorry," she swooned, as he came near. "I just didn't expect you so early, my darling."
Breathing in her essence, with their lips nearly touching, he said, "I heard you talking about the Christmas pudding. It sounds brilliant, save for the port at the end. Mother always used brandy to alight it."

Like a slap to her face, Lenore recoiled and shrieked like a harpy, "Your mother? Brandy?" With his innocent suggestion, tears pricked her eyes and all her tender daydreams evaporated. It would take much cooing and bended knee for the bewildered husband to make amends. Rest assured, Lenore and Archibald's first Christmas pudding would most definitely be blazing with port not brandy.