English Christmas

Washington Irving thought rural England was a refuge from the imaginatively barren landscapes of his native America. In The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon (1820) he described England as a ‘half-mythic land of stage coaches and ivy-covered cottages, festive Christmases and forelocked peasants, high church spires and quaint crooked byways.’ The stagecoach on Christmas Eve is loaded with hampers and returning schoolboys, while Christmas dinner is eaten in front of a crackling log fire in the great hall, with minstrels singing carols. So true, so true. Happy Christmas to our reader.