Does anyone else around here adore Christmas like we do? From evocative scents and culinary opulence to endless decorations, intriguing presents and much merriment, Christmas traditions are the essence of our festive nostalgia. But what are the origins of the things we most associate with this magical time of year?
A London sweet maker named Tom Smith invented these ubiquitous table decorations in the 1840s. He got the idea from French paper-wrapped bonbons, but it wasn’t until he sat in front of a sparking fire that the idea came to add a crack when pulling them. After his death, his three sons began adding little trinkets and hats inside the crackers. Cheerful. We’ve taken the hidden-treasure element up a notch by filling our very own Christmas Crackers with our scented Little Luxuries.
Clementines in Christmas stockings
We have St Nicholas to thank for this marvellous Christmas treat. He is said to have thrown sacks of gold down the chimney of a poor man who couldn’t afford to give his daughters’ dowries. The gold landed in their stockings drying by the fire – and are represented today by the clementine’s we leave at the bottom of ours. No wonder the fruit’s sweet, citrusy scent immediately gets us feeling all festive. Orange Bitters Cologne anyone?
It was the brains behind what is now the Post Office, Sir Henry Cole, and his friend, artist John Callcot Horsley, who came up with the first commercial Christmas cards in 1843 to drum up business for the new postal service. The idea caught on and, by 1900, everyone across Europe was sending festive messages of goodwill to friends and family.
Christmas trees and the scent of pine
This German tradition was popularised in the UK by Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert in the 1840s. Decorated with candles (to represent stars), glass ornaments and little presents, this famous royal fir was reported in the press, and this fashionable Christmas trend caught on. The scent of pine cones too can’t help but make you hope there is still an undiscovered present waiting for you under the tree. Ramp up the giddy excitement by scenting your home in the run-up with Pine & Eucalyptus Home Candles.
It’s said that the Crusaders brought back the first meat-based recipes from the Middle East, and it was the British who threw in spices, such as nutmeg and cinnamon, as an homage to these far-flung lands. Mince pies went through a series of transformations before ending up as the fragrant, fruit-filled pastry delights we know today. Their association with Christmas comes from the Middle Ages, where eating them was said to bring you 12 months’ good luck. Tell yourself that next time you’re tucking into one straight out of the packet at 10.30am!