Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Parties & Etiquette

Christmas party etiquette often has different rules for different areas, social class, etc. Below are some excerpts for you to browse when considering a Christmas Party for your historical Characters.

If it is a Christmas party the tree is the source of interest, and often a make-believe Santa Claus adds to the merriment of the occasion. The refreshments should be simple but fanciful. Make the table bright as possible—snowballs, cornucopias, lady-fingers, assorted cakes, love-knots, sandwiches (fancy), crystalized fruits, tarts, sliced tongue, pressed veal, thin bread and butter, rolled and tied, ice cream in molds, and one large heavily-frosted cake. A host of flowers, and the table is complete. Lemonade for a drink, or perhaps hot chocolate.
The good breeding learned, the opportunities of impressing upon children the beauty of self-denial and politeness, and of teaching them to dispense, and to receive hospitalities, and to restrain that tendency toward favoring certain playmates, so strong in childhood, will more than repay for the trouble of preparing the feast. Never permit the party to extend to late hours, and never overdress the little folks. White is always suitable for girls, and jacket suits for boys under the age for long trousers.
Source: Social Life ©1896

THE ETIQUETTE OF CHRISTMAS PARTIES.—Etiquette is less rigid at Christmas than at any other season of the year. Christmas parties, being intended for the re-union of relations and intimate friends, it would be a gross mistake to uphold those rigid laws of fashion which govern other entertainments. The good things provided by the host and hostess should be more homely than upon other occasions ; and there should be a marked heartiness in their demeanour towards those whom they entertain. Those who assemble may be more free in their intercourse than upon ordinary occasions, the good wishes of the season being upon every tongue. Dress should be less displayed now, than at the fashionable parties that will commence about the middle of January. At a Christmas party everybody should cheerfully join in the most simple pastimes. Old Age and Youth should shake hands and unite in the general mirth. A Christmas should be an era in everybody's history, and it should be our especial pleasure to contribute by each word and act to the happiness of those around us.
Source: The Corner Cupboard ©1858

This is a fun and different pov about hosting and attending Christmas parties.
If you have any intention of giving a Christmas party, now is the time to do it. The man who attempts to give a Christmas party in June will simply get left. Never arrange to give a Christmas party until you've done all you can to get invited to somebody else's, and have failed. If your next door neighbour is giving a party, and, after borrowing your other shirt and your wife's curl-papers, omits to invite you, don't allow yourself to cherish a spirit of resentment towards him on that account. Simply write him a nice little letter, and tell him you're jolly glad he hasn't asked you as you'd scorn to mix with a frowsy lot of friends like his. >.( your gentle rebuke fails to elicit a cordial invitation to come in and be one of the family, do what you can to circulate untruthful reports about his wife's relations, and express doubts as to the bona fdes of his Christmas sausages. If this fails, your only course is to go round to his guests and invite them to your house instead, and tell them that your party will be infinitely superior to his party, because there'll be more beer.
If you are invited out at Christmas time there are a few nice little poinis of etiquette that you ought to paste in your hat. Always take a couple of the children with you, and, if possible, the baby. If your host has a daughter, she will be glad the baby has come because she'll have to nurse it while you are at dinner, and it will break the monotony for her. If the baby should sit down to tabli with you, and should all at once grow peculiarly restless, break out into a cold perspiration, and m ike several ineffectual attempts to relieve its feelings by the use of profane expressions, it will probably be found that in the hurry of the moment the dear creature has inadvertently got seated on the hot pudding plates.
When the dinner is served, be especially careful to point out how much inferior it is to the dinner you had at Thompson's last year, and on no account omit to call the attention of the guests to the fact that the spoons and forks have been borrowed from the gentleman on your right, and that's the only reason why he was invited. If your host is indebted to you for a trifling loan, this is just the time to call across the table and ask when it will be convenient for him to pay it back. If during the evening one of the guests should feel a little faint, be prepared to render all the assistance possible. In the case of a gentleman, observe with sincere regret that it was a pity they let him sit so close to the spirits, and make a few general remarks on the sin of intemperance. In the case of a lady, observe sympathetically that you forgive her for overdoing it a little, as it is the only square meal she has had this year; and say that you've heard it's a good thing to let down her back hair and tickle her feet with the coal-scuttle.
Christmas is a lovely institution, and it is your duty to get all the fun you can out of it, whether you spend the peaceful, happy time in your own home or in jail.
Source: Pick-me-up ©1891

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