Tag Archive | Christmas traditions

A Regency Christmas Dinner

Christmas Decoration

Merry Christmas!

 Reblogged from Kathy L. Wheeler‘s Blog

December 10, 2013

Roast beef dinner

Christmas Dinner, served around midday, might feature a boar’s head (really a pig, since there weren’t any boars around by then), roast goose or roast turkey (which came to England from the New World around 1550 and rose in popularity through the eighteenth century). These were accompanied by vegetables such as boiled or steamed brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, and roast potatoes (sometimes boiled or mashed), as well as stuffing.

According to legend, Henry VIII was the first to have turkey served at Christmas. In A Christmas Carol (1843), Scrooge sends the Cratchitts a large turkey for their Christmas dinner. But turkey did not become a popular favorite in England until the 20th century.

The meal would be accompanied by wine or wassail (See December 13th post), which was often made with sherry or brandy.

wassail copy

For dessert, there was always a Christmas pudding (See December 3rd post), which might be served with brandy butter or cream. Although it was sometimes called “plum pudding,” there were no plums—only raisins. Mince pie was another traditional favorite (See December 4th post). There might also be gingerbread and marzipan and other popular sweet treats.

After dinner, the family might gather around the pianoforte (if there was one) and sing carols such as Deck the Halls, Here We Come a-Wassailing, and While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks. Most other Christmas carols sung today are of German origin and didn’t spread to England until Victorian times.

Traditionally, a small tithe was given to a landowner on Christmas Day, and sometimes children might receive a small toy, but the Regency Christmas was not a time of gift-giving as it is today. All in all, Christmas was a time for family to assemble together and celebrate the Christmas-tide Season.

A Twelfth Night Tale is on sale for the remainder of 2014!

In A Twelfth Night Tale, the Barlows celebrate the holiday with their neighbors, the Livingstons, and the St. Vincents—a wealthy viscount who is courting the elder daughter Lucy and his three daughters. Andrew Livingston, who has returned wounded from the Peninsula, suffers a few pangs of jealousy as he watches the viscount’s attentiveness to the now-grown-up-and-very-desirable Lucy. Is it too late for him to stake a claim for her?


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Cotillion Christmas Traditions: Barbara Miller and “Twelve Days of Christmas”

Christmas Traditions is the theme of this year’s Ellora’s Cave Blush Cotillion Christmas series. Eight stories focusing on Christmas traditions during the Regency will be released digitally, and then in print version as two anthologies. The first to be released is Barbara Miller’s Twelve Days of Christmas.

The eight stories in the series are:

10/10/13: Twelve Days of Christmas, Barbara Miller

10/17/13: A Christmas Caroline, Christa Paige and Vivien Jackson

10/24/13: Festive Persuasion, Charlene Roberts

10/31/13: Lydia’s Christmas Charade, Saralee Etter

11/7/13: Snug in a Snowstorm, Cynthia Moore

11/14/13: Helena’s Christmas Beau, Aileen Fish

11/21/13: A Twelfth Night Tale, Susana Ellis

11/28/13: Sense of the Season, Kate Dolan

Interview with Barbara Miller

Susana: What comes first: the plot or characters?

Barbara: One character comes first and that hero or heroine has to invent their counterpart. I thought up Tamara first and she helped me create the perfect hero for her. She discovers Ash to be flawed but with self-doubt more than anything. It’s not her job to save him but he decides it’s his responsibility to save himself in order to be worthy of her. The plot must serve the characters and their relationship, not the reverse. Plot is easy to fix, but if you make a misstep with character creation you have to start over.

Susana: What is your writing method?

Barbara: I write via a bizarre and scary method I call active outlining. I write all the dialogue first with the connective tissue being bits of synopsis place holding the plot together. Once I get to the end of the patchwork of conversation, it know how it will end and I construct the action or plot. Then I fill in introspection and tagging. Finally I do description and transitions. It’s quick and crazy, but I have to be careful not to turn in too early a draft. Six iterations gets the book close to finished, but I still have places where the editor wants more introspection.

Susana: What author has most influenced your writing?

Barbara: Georgette Heyer was by biggest influence. I was amazed that she could get humor into even the gravest situation. My goal is to get humor into every book. It’s such a part of life it needs to be present in every story.

About Twelve Days of Christmas

TwelveDays of Christmas coverTamara Gifford gets herself invited to Oakley Hall for Christmas to rescue her brother from the reportedly depraved Lord Oakley. When she arrives she discovers that Ashford Steel is a former soldier trying to adjust to governing an estate. He is happy to have his mother and Tamara for company since his brother is supposed to be spending the holiday at Tamara’s house in London.

Though they are both angry at the deception of their brothers they enjoy banding together to find them while Ashford tries to remember the tradition of what Lord Oakley is supposed to do on the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Tamara gives him sound advice about how to go forward with his life rather than looking back. In return he helps her to see that she must make a life for herself and let her brother go. After they locate the young men and rescue them, Tamara agrees to marry Ashford, but what her brother wants to do with the rest of his life could tear apart their hard won love.


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About the Author

Barb July 08Barbara Miller teaches in the Writing Popular Fiction graduate program at Seton Hill University and is Reference Librarian at Mount Pleasant, PA Public Library. She has published historical romances, mysteries, and young adult books and has had two plays performed. You may email her at scribe@fallsbend.net or visit www.fallsbend.net.

It’s Party Time for Susana’s Parlour!


Susana’s Parlour was born a year ago, after I returned from my first RWA conference, in Anaheim, California. I had the time of my life there—especially in the evenings when my friend Selene Grace Silver took me Laguna Beach and other nearby sights. It was magical!

I knew from my local RWA chapter mates that I would need a blog eventually, but at the time I was an unpublished author and didn’t really expect to be published right away. I mean, don’t most writers have to plug away for a few years before they get “the call”? But I guess I finally allowed myself to be convinced that waiting until then to start a blog was a mistake.

So…what to write about? I decided I didn’t want it to be an “author” blog—where the author talks about the daily struggles of writing. It would be a “reader” blog, for those readers who enjoy reading historical—especially Regency—romances as I do. As far as content, I decided to use an article I had begun about my pet peeves in historical romances. And that’s how the “Deal Breakers” series began.

It was only two months later that I did get “the call”—or rather, “the email”—and by January, I was a published author!

That’s about when Lady P popped in to inspire me with all of her fascinating tidbits about the Regency era. And things just spiraled from there.

So what’s in store for the next year on Susana’s Parlour? Well, I’ve discovered that it’s hard to predict what Lady P will do, but she promises that she will be back at summer’s end when the weather in England starts to chill…and will be removing with me to central Florida for the winter. She’s anxious to see a real alligator and insists she wants to go to Disney World too. Will I ever get any writing done at all with her there???

But she assures me that she has lots of great things to talk about. Even though she spent most of the summer in the country with her daughter’s family, she will be in London for the Little Season and promises to bring back all the latest on-dits and fashion news. And it should be fun to introduce her to the other inhabitants of our retirement community. I wonder if they played bingo in Regency times. Hmm.

Announcement, announcement, annou-ounce-ment!

I’ve just contracted with Ellora’s Cave to have my Christmas novella published this season! It will come out digitally as a single and then in a print anthology with other Regency Christmas stories in the Christmas traditions series.

Yep, you heard right! It’ll be in PRINT!

I can’t post an excerpt yet because the edits haven’t been completed and the final product might look a whole lot different. But I can give you a little sneak peak.

About A Twelfth Night Tale

Wounded physically and emotionally, Andrew returns home from the War on the Peninsula to find himself drawn to the now-grown-up girl next door. Lucy has always worshiped her best friend’s brother, but first she’ll have to turn down the wealthy viscount who can secure the futures of her and her four sisters.

Lucy and her best friend Jane are busy planning a party for the community Twelfth Night celebration. Jane’s brother Andrew has been home for some time when they finally run into each other, and Andrew can’t believe what he sees. The little girl who used to tag along after him everywhere he went has grown into a beautiful young lady! He tries to convince himself she’s off limits; after all, he was recently jilted by an avaricious fiancée and she’s being courted in earnest by a wealthy viscount. But the more time he spends with Lucy, the more drawn to her he becomes, and he wonders if he might have a chance with her after all.

Lucy has loved Andrew forever, but thought him lost to her when he became engaged to another woman. Her parents have five daughters to marry off with little in the way of dowries, and it seems like an answer to prayer when a wealthy viscount comes to call on their oldest daughter. Lucy has just about resigned herself to the match when she and Andrew—sans fiancée—are suddenly thrown together. But he’s still coming to terms with his own situation, and she can’t keep the viscount hanging on forever.

If there is any chance for a match between them, it’s going to take a bit of Christmas magic to make it happen.

Contest on The Romance Studio’s End-of-Summer Bash

Test Your Knowledge of Regency-Speak…and win a blue silver and marcasite cameo necklace!


This contest ends at the end of the day Friday, August 16th