Christmas Foods and Traditions: Snowflakes

Snowflakes are a collection of snow crystals which fall through the earth’s atmosphere in a range of temperatures and humidity fluctuations, developing an infinite number of shapes. Individual snowflakes differ in detail from one another, but may be categorized in eight broad classifications and at least 80 individual variants. The main shapes for ice crystals,…

Christmas Traditions: The Postbox and Postman

Yesterday we learned about the first Christmas Card so it is fitting that we learn about the post-box and the postman today! Letterboxes had been known in France from the beginning of the 17th century. In 1653, the first post boxes are believed to have been installed in and around Paris. By 1829, post boxes…

Christmas Traditions: The First Christmas Card

The first Christmas Card was created by Sir Henry Cole, in London. Cole was a prominent innovator in the 1800’s. He  managed the construction of Albert Hall, arranged for the Great Exhibition in 1851 and was the first director of the Victoria and Albert Museum. In his spare time he ran an art shop on…

Christmas Foods and Traditions: Chocolate

The Spanish first brought the cocoa bean to Europe from Central America. Cocoa pods fell from the cocoa tree or were cut off. The cocoa pods were easy to harvest because they grew on the trunk of the tree or on large branches near the ground. The harvested pods were split open and the pulp…

Christmas Foods and Traditions: The Trencher in Elizabethan Times

The 16th century was a fast-paced and fascinating time for the whole of Europe. Improvements in design of ships meant they could travel further and faster, resulting in the circumnavigation of the world. Queen Elizabeth granted Sir Walter Raleigh a Royal Charter, which authorized him to explore and colonize any “remote, heathen and barbarous countries,…

Christmas Foods and Traditions: The Tudor Christmas and the Trencher

In 1526 the Eltham Ordinances were written at Eltham Palace. These were rules and regulations monitoring food purchases, storage and distribution of food across all the palaces. The Eltham Ordinances also laid down instructions for court ceremony, for example how the food was presented and the manner in which it had to be taken to…

The Elizabethan Christmas and the Tale of Oranges

To continue with my Christmas Foods And Traditions Series we will look today at the Elizabethan period of England. As a queen, Elizabeth had access to some of the most luxurious foods that were on offer now from many parts of the world. Her food reflected the wealth and power of England and was an important…

Christmas Foods And Traditions: Oranges

Why Do We Put Oranges in Stockings at Christmas? 1. St. Nicholas and his sacks of gold. One explanation for this tradition stretches back hundreds of years to St. Nicholas, who was born in what is now present-day Turkey. He inherited a large sum of money, but devoted his life to helping others, and eventually…

21 Steps of Honor

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: What do you know about it? 1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknowns and why? 21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignity. 2. How long does he…

A Stroll Through Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Upon arrival the Brookfield House B&B looked like this! Located on a quiet side street it is still close enough to walk to the shops and restaurants. The Brookfield B&B was the perfect spot to stay in so let’s look at some of those photos first! We like staying in small B&B’s when we travel and…

Agatha Christie’s Greatest Mystery

In December 1926, Agatha Christie was a thirty-six year old, established crime writer, when she mysteriously disappeared. Early on the morning of December 3rd, Colonel Archibald Christie, an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps, had asked Agatha for a divorce because he was in love with another woman, Nancy Neele. He then packed up and…