Charles Dickens promoted the idea of giving and charity during the festive period in his works ‘ the Christmas Tales’ which started in 1843 with the publication of ‘ A Christmas Carol .’
In 1880 Thomas Edison's electric Christmas Tree lights made the news.
Holidays for some included both Christmas Day and Boxing Day the 26th of December. Boxing Day was when the working people opened the boxes in which gifts of money had been collected.
The Christmas meal at this time could have included such delicacies as the ‘Christmas Pudding’ one recipe included from a book first published in the 1880’s contained a recipe which required ‘suet, currants ,raisins , sugar ,ten eggs ,grated nutmeg ,mixed spice ,grated ginger, bread crumbs ,flour ,milk ,brandy’ all required boiling in a cloth for six or seven hours.( Consult Me For All You Want to Know. New Edition 1883 p. 125.) The full recipe for this and other festive meals from this period are provided below. I cannot give a guarantee for these recipes as I can only just manage to boil an egg lol!
Perhaps our own idyll of what Christmas should be, really does come from this period. 'Snow falling on gas lit streets, carol singers, blazing log fires, plenty of festive spirit for those indoors, good food and good company.'
Christmas Pudding Recipe
Suet 1 and a half lbs, minced small; currants, 1 and a half lbs.; raisins, stoned, three quarters lbs.; sugar, 1 lb .; ten eggs, a grated nutmeg.; 2 ozs of mixed spice, a teaspoonful of grated ginger, half lb. Of bread crumbs, half a lb of flour, 1 pint of milk, and a wine-glassful of brandy. Beat first the eggs, add half the milk, beat altogether, and gradually stir in all the milk, then the suet, fruit , & c., and as much milk to mix it very thick. Boil in a cloth six or seven hours.
ANYONE FOR MORE PUDDING?
Flour, suet, currants, raisins, of each 1 lb.; nine eggs; 2 ozs. Of candied peel; almonds and spices, according to taste. Boil in a cloth.
A good-sized turkey should be roasted two hours and a half, or three hours - very slowly at first.
TURKEY, to Carve. - A turkey roasted or boiled is trussed and sent to the table like a fowl, and cut up like a pheasant. The best parts are the white ones, the breast, wings, and neck bones. The neck is taken away, and the hollow part under the breast stuffed with forcemeat, which is to be cut into thin slices, from the rump to the neck, and a slice given with each piece of Turkey.
FORCEMEAT.- Take a pound of fresh lean veal, and the same weight of beef suet, and a bit of bacon or ham; shred all together; beat it in a mortar very fine; then season it with sweet herbs, pepper, salt, cloves, mace’ and nutmegs; add the yolks of two or three eggs well beaten. A few oysters may be added; or marrow, if the forcemeat is intended to be rich. This may be made into balls about the size of a walnut .