While most people are thinking about autumn holidays my (Amanda Mariel’s) brain has skipped right to Christmas. More specifically Christmas in Regency England. I have eyeball deep in research for the past few months as I work on my newest book HOW TO KISS A ROGUE. Doubly exciting is that my book is a companion book to my dear friend Christina McKnight’s book A KISS AT CHRISTMAS TIDE. I will tell you more about that later. Right now I want to talk traditions.
I have discovered some fascinating things and even a recipe I want to try this holiday: Wassail.
Wassail was a concoction of beer, sherry, sugar, and spices. This drink was not for the faint of heart! Wine was also common on the dinner table during the holiday meal due to water not being safe (I found that super interesting). Recipes for wassail very but here is the one I plan to try:
1 gallon Apple Cider
2 cups Orange Juice
1 Cup Lemon Juice
Half a cup of Sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 orange sliced for garnishment
½ cup of brandy (Me thinks it needs triple the brandy and a splash of beer-or rum. LOL)
Mix juices, sugar, and seasonings together. Add the Brandy. Slowly bring to a boil for one minute. Reduce heat and simmer for thirty minutes. Serve hot with orange slices floating in the punch bowl. It is not quite traditional, but I will be enjoying it come Christmas.
The research I turned up is almost as good as the wassail sounds. I had never looked into Regency Christmas traditions before starting this project and had only read a couple of Christmas romances so most of what I found was news to me. Here are some things I found especially interesting:
It was not a wide spread tradition to gift each other. Small toys were sometimes given to children but gifting as we know it was rare.
The day after Christmas was known as Boxing Day. Land owners gave boxes or gifts to those who had served them well the past year. This was also traditionally a day for fox hunting.
Mistletoe commonly grew mostly in western and southwestern parts of England and if you were not lucky enough to have it growing nearby a friend or family member would likely send you some by coach.
Decorations often consisted of evergreens, apples, paper flowers, mistletoe, and sometimes paper dolls representing Mary, Jesus, and so forth.
This project has been so much fun and I have loved learning all of these fun facts about Christmas in Regency England. I do hope you will check out HOW TO KISS A ROGUE and A KISS AT CHRISTMASTIDE. Remember they are connected so you must read both to get the full story.
I’ve been working with the fabulous Christina McKnight on a special double release. Christina McKnight’s Christmas novella is A Kiss at Christmastide and is available for pre-order on all retailers for $0.99. You’ll also find my Christmas novella, How to Kiss a Rogue up for pre-order on all retailers for $0.99. My book releases on November 1st. What’s so fun is our heroines have a history together. Lady Natalie (How To Kiss A Rogue, my story) and Lady Pippa (A Kiss At Christmastide, Christina’s story) were friends…but some nasty stuff went down and now they are enemies! You’ll have to read both stories to find out why!
HOW TO KISS A ROGUE BLURB:
A misunderstanding that wounds the bonds of friendship leads a lady to find the love of her life.
Lady Natalie’s betrothal is ended and frees her to pursue the man of her dreams. During a holiday party she discovers the lord she desires in attendance. So hatches a plan to snare him.
Lord Christian St. Vella the Marquess of Knightly has no desire to marry. The more Lady Natalie chases the more irritated he becomes. As the party progresses he cannot help but see past her shallow exterior and recognizes a lady he could fall for.
Will they come together to share a unforgettable Christmastide.
A KISS AT CHRISTMASTIDE BLURB:
Lady Pippa Godfrey has suffered the most ruinous London Season. She escapes to her Somerset estate for a quiet Christmastide holiday with her family, away from society’s prying eyes. But before her parents can join her, a storm crashes down on Somerset to destroy any hope of Pippa’s white Christmas dream. The roads have flooded and travel is impossible, leaving her stranded and alone. But a muddied, angry and devilishly handsome lord appears at her door demanding shelter. Lucas Hartfeld, the Earl of Maddox, has been summoned by his parents, the Marquis and Marchioness of Bowmont, to attend a holiday party in the wilds of the country, far from his London townhouse. He suspects they command his attendance for far different reasons than a simple country party. When a storm strands his carriage, he’s forced to seek shelter at the only home for miles around, a local manor called Helton House. When Lady Pippa is reluctant to admit him, he does what he’s been raised to do—demand she provide him and his servants with shelter until the storm passes. But the beautiful woman draws his interest far more than he’s willing to admit. Can Lucas find a way out of the predicament his parents are planning? As Lady Pippa scrutinizes another arrogant, demanding lord, she is bombarded with memories of betrayals in her past. Can she forget those difficult life lessons to claim a Christmastide kiss from a perfect stranger?