Monday, 5 December 2011

A Victorian Christmas, Part Two

Festive Activities
Carolling is a popular pastime come Christmas, with both events for the whole town put on in the town or school hall and smaller groups of people who go door to door, entertaining each household for a while. It is common to give a gift of money to these groups which is usually saved in the village fund to help pay for social events throughout the year.

The Children's nativity scene
The school children usually make a nativity scene which is displayed in the village square. They use papier mache, scraps of wood, donated clothes and anything else they can beg, borrow or steal to fashion the stable scene and participants. Again there is a donation box by the display and the money that is collected goes to help the poor of Milton, many of whom cannot afford decent food, let alone a Christmas celebration.
Entertainment in the home is usually in the form of readings. Popular book to read aloud from at Christmas are Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol and Hanz Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen but there are many other books that families can enjoy while sitting together.
Parlour games are also very popular at this time of year.
One of the more merry games played at Christmas is the laughter game. Each person takes it in turns to say “ha” and the first person to actually laugh is out. It may sound easy but try it; keeping a straight face is harder than it sounds in such a merry environment. Bessy is usually the winner of this game while Margaret and surprisingly, mother, are usually among the first to laugh.
A gentleman who has been "sculptured"
Charades is a game where one player tries to act out a name, place, object, book title, event or verse of prose without speaking. You can allow each player to chose what to act out or have some cards prepared beforehand. With a little forethought great fun can be had. For example, instead of a horse, which is relatively easy to act out, opt for camel instead and see the fun people have trying to act like a horse but with a humpback!
The sculptor is another favourite. One person positions each guests into ridiculous poses and then without touching them again, attempts to make then laugh or move. Bessy is particularly fond of blowing in peoples ears to make them laugh.

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