Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Book 50 of 2014: Old Christmas by Washington Irving

I know that we're heading into summer now, but the weather recently has been decidedly wintry, so I guess that writing about Christmas books is fairly fitting. Back in November last year I read Old Christmas by Washington Irving, it's a free Kindle ebook of Christmas essays.

Not my copy of this book
This book was a fairly interesting look at how Christmas was celebrated in the past, from the point of view of an American travelling through England. Considering the fact that this was written way back in the 1800s, it's a great little glimpse into the old Christmas traditions, many of which have died out now.

The Christmas period is divided into several essays, each one focusing on a different aspect of Christmas; beginning with the journey for the celebration, then Christmas Eve, the morning of Christmas Day and Christmas dinner. It's a nice way of breaking things up and while the essays follow on one from another, you could probably just dip in and read the bit that interests you, if you don't want to dedicate time to the whole book.

I found it interesting to see which traditions have continued at Christmas time, perhaps without people really knowing the reason why. There are also some little snippets which I think it would be cool to maybe bring some of them back.

I think the book was really well written. Irving managed to paint pictures with his words so I could easily imagine the scenes that he was describing. I'd love to see an illustrated version of this book because I could imagine it being filled with lavish Victorian pictures.

I'd recommend this book for anyone who is interested in the history of Christmas (or history full stop). It's not a long read, and you can get it for free on the Kindle, so you've really no excuse.

Please note, this review contains an Affiliate Link.


  1. I love the sound of that - must check it out. thanks for the review Cait

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. If you read the book, you'll have to let me know what you think. :-)


Let me know what you think. :-)