“I love snow for the same reason I love Christmas. It brings people together while time stands still.” -Rachel Cohn 

Happy holidays, dear customers! We hope that the jingle bells are jingling and that you are already creating memories you will cherish. The Christmas season is a time of year with a hard-to-describe ethereal thickness to it. This is partially because it involves traditions and shared values that go back generations and then centuries. Some of these traditions feel almost frozen in time – resembling Victorian aesthetics and literal passages from poems, songs, books, and more. 

So…what better way to get deeper into the holiday spirit as the big day approaches as some Victorian paintings? 

There are two things that I appreciate about 19th-century depictions of Christmas. The first is that the majority of artists lived in areas with “typical” winters, or at least their work would suggest as much. The way that they took a landscape seemingly void of color and life and transformed them into works that bring to mind one of the most colorful times of year is quite inspiring. And second, the nature of the weather and the holiday caused many artists to create images involving families in indoor settings, much more than we see in illustrations of other seasons. 

Pour a glass of hot wassail with me and let’s step inside a Victorian Christmas. 

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“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”
~Laura Ingalls Wilder

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” ~Charles Dickens

Franz Skarbina, 1892

“The rooms were very still while the pages were softly turned and the winter sunshine crept in to touch the bright heads and serious faces with a Christmas greeting.” ~Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Unknown, 1840

“Christmas! ‘Tis the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” ~Washington Irving


“Freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin—inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night.” ~John J. Geddes

George Henry Durrie, 1852

“[little tree]” by E.E. Cummings
then when you’re quite dressed
you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they’ll stare!
oh but you’ll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
“Noel Noel”

John Morgan, 1865
Louis Lang, 1865

“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!” ~Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

More Victorian Christmas fun:

A Beatrix Potter Christmas

A winter wardrobe – the Victorian way

Head-scratching Victorian Christmas cards

A Victorian Christmas party

Christmas on the Frontier