A Pioneer Christmas 1890s Style

The 1890s newspaper reports of Christmas were very different to those of the other decades from the 1850s.  Recipes and articles about decorating the home, hint to a greater female readership than other times.  Finally the arguments about English traditions disappeared as Australians formed their own Christmas traditions.

The editor of the “Portland Guardian“, welcomed Christmas 1890 as if to say “Here we go again”.

The Portland Guardian,. (1890, December 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63631009

The editor continues with a reference to the 1842 editor of the same newspaper and the Christmas day activity of quoits.

The Portland Guardian,. (1890, December 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63631009

Shop windows were once again dressed up by their owners, but only one grocer maintained the tradition of displaying dried fruits and spices.

The Portland Guardian,. (1890, December 24). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63631009

The following is the first article I have seen on Christmas decorations in the home.  It offers tips on Christmas trees and ideas on making decorations.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS. (1894, December 28). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 12 Edition: EVENING, Supplement: CHRISTMAS SUPPLEMENT. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65397988

Christmas recipes were became popular in the 1890s.  The following for Santa Claus Baskets is from the “Portland Guardian” of December 25, 1895 . Recipes for Whipped Snow and Plum Pudding are also included.

CHRISTMAS RECIPES. (1895, December 25). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 9 Edition: EVENING, Supplement: CHRISTMAS SUPPLEMENT PORTLAND GUARDIAN.. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63633406

The 1890s saw the traditional beef finally lose favour on the Christmas menu.   This article “What People Eat at Christmas”  from “The Argus“, gives a real insight into the Christmas fare of the time.  I have not included the entire article, which is worth reading in full.  Times were changing.

WEAT PEOPLE EAT AT CHRISTMAS. (1897, December 25). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 8. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article9784663

To conclude this 19th century overview of Christmas in Victoria, I must include the following article for anyone wondering if the 1899 Christmas was the last of the century.  It comes a little further afield than Victoria as it appeared in the “West Australian Sunday Times” on December 31, 1899.

Chronology Up to Date. (1899, December 31). West Australian Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1897 - 1902), p. 8. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38505997

 

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2 responses to “A Pioneer Christmas 1890s Style

  • Ann O'Dyne

    great post, thank you for the pleasure.
    “decorate with sweets, paper dolls and other ornaments that will readily suggest themselves” – how lovely to have pushy, talking stuff, and as for flinging MICA over a tree to make it sparkle, well ask for some of that at Bunnings and see the look you get.
    Happy Holidays.

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