Christmas with a “K”

“For Christmas that year Princess Augusta, known to Victoria and Albert’s children as ‘Aunt Prussia,’ sent Vicky four miniature fruit and vegetable shops just like those in Berlin, and to brother Bertie, five cartons of Prussian toy soldiers in wood and lead.”

— An Uncommon Woman, by Hannah Pakula (1997)

In exchange, the Princess Royal’s mother, Queen Victoria, sent a Scottish kilt to Germany, as a present to Fritz, the fifteen-year-old prince.

Aunt Prussia  forced the poor lad to wear it for a State dinner.

Set of World War I toy German soldiers.

I love vintage German ornaments. The reproductions are quite nice, too. They remind me that a lot of Christmas as we know it came from Germany.

German “putz” houses

glass tree ornaments








German Christmas customs have become so embedded it’s easy to forget their origin. The Advent wreath, for instance, marks the Sundays of Advent. On each one I pray that the combination of so much greenery adjacent to an open flame does not burn the church down.  Weihnachtsmarkte, the Christmas market, makes a great fundraiser for any group, be it a historical society or a soccer booster club. Der Adventskalender, or Advent calendar, is meant to provide order to the wild anticipation children experience with the coming of Christmas.

This is entirely theoretical, of course.

A 1970s Advent Calendar — from Cold War West Germany


They even say der Weihnachtsmann, or Christmas man,  resembles Santa Claus. Scholars would have us believe this mythical figure is derived from Thor.

A Santa worth waiting up for.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas at Windsor Castle

Lighted Christmas Tree - Octagon Dining Room at Windsor Castle

In 1844, long after the events in Notorious Vow and Notorious Match, Diana and Vivien attended the young Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, at Windsor Castle.  The countess and marchioness were astonished to see a tree suspended from the ceiling of the Octagon Dining Room, where the chandelier is normally hung.

A Christmas tree, the Prince Consort explained.

This is from the Royal Collection’s website at :

In the German tradition, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve and presents were laid out on tables, each of which had a Christmas tree at its centre.  Two gift tables will be recreated with presents exchanged by Victoria and Albert.  Among the highlights is a painting by Sir Charles Eastlake commissioned by Victoria in 1844 as a gift for Albert, and a sculpture of Princess Beatrice as a baby lying in a shell, given to the Queen by Prince Albert for Christmas 1858.

In the Castle’s State Dining Room, the table will be laid for a Victorian Christmas feast with a magnificent porcelain dessert service by Minton of Staffordshire.  Known as the Victoria Service, the set was purchased by the Queen at the Great Exhibition in 1851 and includes four porcelain figures of the four seasons, ice pails, cream and bon-bon dishes, and a pair of silver-gilt sauceboats shaped like sleighs.

This special display has been recreated for the public’s viewing and ends on January 8th.

Porcelain Dessert Service - State Dining Room at Windsor Castle