Synopses & Reviews
Oh, by gosh, by golly. Its time for . . . rowdy bands of drunkards roaming the streets, lighting firecrackers, and firing off guns? Gangs of masked youths invading peoples houses, demanding food, drink, and moneyand threatening to break the windows (or worse) unless theyre given what they want?
Welcome to Christmas, circa 1800. Yes, the season of light, joy, and gift-giving was once regarded as a time of darkness, danger, and dissipationand celebrated with all-too-public displays of noisemaking, inebriation, and gluttonous overeating. (Well, maybe not everything has changed.) And though we tend to imagine Victorian-era Christmases as sentimental gatherings around the candlelit tree, blazing hearth, and festive punchbowl, the 19th-century evidence tells us quite otherwise.
Drawing from his extensive collection of antique postcards, greeting cards, advertising giveaways, and other ephemera, author John Grossman presents a picture of Christmas past that, frankly, looks a lot more like Halloween. Broomstick-riding witches and vampire batborne cupids deliver New Years greetings. Fur-clad fairies gather round a campfire to roast their Christmas dinnera huge dead rat. And Saint Nicholas? Hes that skinny guy in the bishop robes who arrives with his dark companion, the Devil-like Krampus brandishing switches to punish the badly behaved.
With Christmas Curiosities, STC wishes you a very merry, very scary Christmas.
About the Author
John Grossman is the owner of one of the worlds largest collections of museum-quality artifacts and ephemera from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. He is the co-author of A Victorian Scrapbook, Joy to the World, A Victorian Christmas, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, all published by Workman. We Wish You a Merry Christmas has subsequently been republished by Castle Books.