With earnest sentimentality, Old Christmas by the prolific author Washington Irving spreads a simple message of joy as it provides a descriptive narrative on the traditions, origins, and miscellaneous details of the celebration of an English Christmas. Separated into five parts, Old Christmas begins with Christmas, a reflection on the holiday’s origins and meaning. Next, The Stage-Coach follows the speaker, Geoffrey Crayon, as he travels with children to Bracebridge Hall, a country estate, to celebrate the holiday. Christmas Eve details the events after his arrival to the manor, and begins the description of holiday traditions, including the old practices that Crayon preferred as well as the new traditions younger generations had adopted. Continuing to describe and compare the Christmas customs, Christmas Day examines and explores the celebration of the actual holiday, taking advantage of the preparations made nearly a month in advance. Finally, Old Christmas finishes with the decadent feast of Christmas day, including specifics on what they ate and how it was prepared. With a complete description of an English celebration of the beloved holiday, Old Christmas creates a lively and intimate portrait of a 19th century Christmas.
Published in 1876, Washington Irving’s Old Christmas has become a tradition itself, as it treats audiences with a serene and cozy reading experience perfect for the holidays. While comparing Christmas traditions both new and old, and mapping how they’ve changed over time, Irving reveals treasured details of a 19th Century Christmas celebration, and inadvertently invites modern audiences to compare their customs to those portrayed so fondly in Old Christmas.
This edition of Washington Irving’s Old Christmas features a striking new cover design and is reprinted in an easy-to-read font, restoring the classic literary work to modern standards while holding respect for the original. With these accommodations Old Christmas is the perfect companion for contemporary readers during the holiday season.