Merry Christmas from all at the Cook and the Curator!
As we hoe into just that one extra slice of pudding (can I have that end bit, and yes, I will have the custard thanks), we cant help but share this wonderfully over-the-top comparison between a British and Australian Christmas. Its the introduction from that most traditional Christmas tale, the Dickens-style ‘Yuletide ghost’ story. Enjoy!
AN ENGLISH CHRISTMAS STORY.
You Australians, with your beautiful sunny climate and bright summer weather in December, can hardly know what Christmas is like in the old country. You have your joyous excursions into the bush or boating trips up beautiful streams, passing the holiday in delightful rambles amid the glorious scenery which even the vandal march of bricks and mortar will be unable to wholly mar for generations yet to come ; but we, your brothers in the old land, know nothing of all this.
With us, Christmas is too often a time of bitter cold, of ice and snow, and fearful suffering amid the helpless poor, despite the universal charity which seeks to make Christmas day a period of happiness, however transient, to all within the reach of its influence. And so we shut ourselves up in our homes, where the blazing coal fires and glaring lights illumine the masses of dark-leaved holly and evergreens which decorate the walls, and often in the pauses of our indoor revelry we think of the dear ones in far off Australia and wonder whether we shall ever meet again in this world…
The Illustrated Sydney News, Saturday, 20 December 1879
(If we’ve whetted your appetite you can read the full story here. )
And our Christmas card is this fabulous Anglo-Indian sketch from 1860 of a lavishly decorated duranta serving as a Christmas tree – with a runnaway angel that’s had too much Christmas cheer we suspect!