12 Days of a Jane Austen Christmas: A Book of Days — 61 Comments

  1. What a wonderful post about Christmas for
    a young Jane Austen during the Regency!
    And what a wonderful giveaway at Christmas.
    Thank you and have a lovely holiday season
    and new year.

  2. That ball sounded like a wonderful time. I’ve participated in English country dancing evenings where there were not nearly as many dances, and it’s quite a workout. Kudos to Jane for her stamina.

  3. I’m looking forward to all the 12 days of Christmas here at Austen Variations, and this article was a fine way to start it off! I’ve read the letters, but must go back and do so again. I found that between pages of mundane reports with initials of people I care little about (gossip) were some wonderful tidbits of prose and delightful anecdotes. Thanks for sharing these ones, Diana!

  4. What a lovely way to start my morning reading about a Regency Christmas. Very interesting thank you. What a brilliant giveaway too. Good luck to whoever wins. Thanks Diana.

  5. Jane must have been a fun person to be around. It sounds like she borrowed a lot of herself when she created Elizabeth Bennet. Her letters are full of mischief and fun. Somewhere I have a book of her letters that I bought years ago, and never really got around to reading. I really must put that on my list and read it. Her wit is infectious and teasing. This was fun to read about her at Christmas. I was feeling grinchy, but this totally made me laugh, so thank you for posting; I needed that!

  6. Great look at Jane’s correspondence! I just love her wit and personality that comes out, even in her letters, as well as the picture we get of her activities. Thanks for sharing!

  7. How lovely it would be to open the planner and have a little “Jane” fix to start the day! Every day with a little “Jane” is a good day! Thank you for the chance to have this little treasure.

  8. What an interesting letter! Her wit and the dry humor that shows through in her letter just like her books. Great start to the morning! Thanks

  9. History is one of my favorite things. I love to know what the time period was really like. It certainly helps when we read books from certain time periods.

  10. I recently watched a YouTube video about JA’s life and that of her siblings. I loved this little reference to her brother. The book sounds beautiful. I’ll have to look it up. Thanks, jen

  11. I have the book “The Wicked Wit of Jane Austen” and it always brightens my day to just pick it up and read a bit when I’m having a bad one. I always love to hear about Christmases, especially Jane’s. So much fun. I guess it’s just as well that we don’t have nearly the dances that they did then, as I’m a terrible dancer. LOL

    • I was so happy to read your comment. I had no idea there was such a book, and I just ordered it from Amazon along with the Wicked Wit Of Winston Churchill, who is another long time favorite. I suspect those two will have me laughing constantly. Thank you so much for mentioning the book. I bought the Kindle version and can begin shortly. There is nothing more delightful than witty snark.

  12. What a delightful post. While it seems as though Jane had a quiet Christmas, when I think on it she must have been rather busy. Preparing for a dance and then dancing all night would be exhausting I would imagine. And then finishing a dress I’m sure would have taken a great deal of time. As to travel, while her family may have been close the travel would not have been comfortable I suspect. My how times have changed though!

  13. As always I enjoy the posts. The Christmas holiday is upon us and it is nice to reflect on past customs. Have a great holiday and thank you for sharing.

  14. What a fascinating letter that Jane wrote! I could wring Cassandra’s neck for destroying so much of Jane’s correspondence but little did she know how desperately we would love to have had them to read.
    But guess the ones that are left should be enough.

  15. That sounds so lovely. And how generous of you to give that gift at this time of the year. Happy Christmas to all.

    And thank you for the chance to win this.

  16. Wouldn’t Jane just love the ready made dresses now…I wonder if she would approve the shorter length!
    Thank you for the wonderful excerpts from Jane’s letters and for the chance to win this lovely day book!

  17. What a delightful post! The fine art of letter writing seems to have gone sadly by the wayside. I love writing letters and often do so with an oak stylus hand-turned by my talented husband and a fine-tipped brass nib and sepia ink, all on parchment-style paper. I’ve finally learned to write in straight lines and can do a creditable job of crossing…not that it’s needed now, but it is still a nice skill to have. 🙂

    I think that one of my New Year’s resolutions is to write at least one fine, handwritten letter per month. I’d like to commit to weekly letters, but I doubt I could keep that commitment with my current teaching load.

    Thanks for these lovely insights into Jane’s letters and how the Austen family kept Christmas. And how amazing is it for you to personally know Jane’s descendants! So impressive. 🙂

    With Advent blessings,
    Susanne 🙂

    • Susanne, you are the winner of my giveaway, the Jane Austen Day Book. Your comment was so interesting and I think you are someone who’d really enjoy having the book. Will you please email me with the address where I may send it? My email address is

      Thanks, and I hope you enjoy the book!


  18. Thank you so much foe sharing Jane’s letter to her sister with us. Christmas was quiet back then and no commercialization. I seems to have been a time to be with family.

  19. You captured the feeling of this season so very well with your post on Jane’s letter. I always look forward to your very fine writing.

  20. Thank you for sharing this post to set us all in the Christmas spirit. Thank you also to all the authors who give so freely on this site.

  21. What a fascinating time! Thank you so much for sharing the letter and so much more. I really enjoyed it, and it makes me want to read more of Jane’s life and letters, too. Thanks

  22. December is a favourite of mine. My dear husband’s birthday, our dear Jane’s birthday, the Christmas season. Thanks for a chance to win this beautiful journal.

  23. I imagined Jane wrote every chance she could and everything she wrote had meaning and she so loved her family and those she held close to her heart. You can read her closeness in all her novels as in this letter. What a lovely article and clever idea for a day book.
    Thank you for the chance to enter
    Merry Christmas and A Blessed New Year to All!

  24. I love the fact that Jane was such a faithful correspondent. We learn so much about the world she lived in through her personal narration in her letters. I long for a Christmas that was so much more laidback and reflective rather than the commercial chaos we now have. Jane’s Christmas sounds lovely. Dances with handsome men and dinner with friends. What more can you ask for?!!!

  25. This beautiful post and giveaway resonates with me greatly since I was correspondent when I was younger. Staying in touch with family and friends was what I loved and this method was the only one at that time. Thanks for this lovely giveaway and special feature.

  26. December is very meaningful for me since it is my birthday as well as my sons and one born on my birthday. This fascinating and delightful gift is ideal and unique. Many thanks for this interesting post.

  27. Thanks, everyone, for such wonderful comments, and Merry Christmas too! I am sorry I can’t reply individually, but you don’t want to hear about my computer dilemma – well, OK, briefly, Word Press thinks my whole internet server is a robot and I have to go over to my son’s house to even SEE the Austen Variations site! That’s dedication, folks! But it’s worth it, of course.

    Susanne Barrett is the winner of the giveaway of the Jane Austen Daybook, and if she’ll send me her mailing address, to, I will get it to her. Congratulations Susanne!

    And happy holidays to all.

    Diana Birchall

  28. Using the beautiful day book would bring back the art of writing rather than using an iPhone. I feel so much more connected to one’s agenda when one writes it down. Thank you for the giveaway.

  29. Why is it I always come across wonderfully entertaining blogs with exciting giveaways when it’s too late…haha! I have been so busy immersing myself in Jane Austen and finding as many Christmas references as I can, I missed a real treasure right under my nose. I did get quite a few Jane Austen gifts for Christmas but wasn’t aware of this edition. Luckily, I have a birthday coming up in a few weeks so it will go onto my wish it. How interesting that it was compiled by Joan Austen Leigh’s daughter. Last year I read her brilliant and very clever books, Mrs Goddard, Mistress of a School and Later Days At Highbury, fictional spin offs of Emma and they were so enjoyable. I’m also lucky enough to have a copy of the later signed by the author. What a treasure to discover James Edward Austen Leigh’s scrap book. Imagine having Jane Austen’s desk in the family.
    On the surface, there seems to be precious little mention of Christmas in Jane’s novels so we treasure every reference but there is a sprinkling of references to Christmas like a light fall of snow, in several of her novels. My wish is that she had talked about it in more detail but, of course, Christmas wasn’t celebrated so much in Jane’s era so, we use our imaginations to pad out what the chattering girls were doing whilst cutting up silk and gold paper in Persuasion and our senses to evoke the wonderful pies and other gastronomic delights that were causing the tables to buckle. Caroline Bingley refers to the extra gaieties the Christmas season brings in Pride and Prejudice when she rather spitefully wishes Jane many beaux and Emma positively oozes with events happening around Christmas ( well positively oozing in comparison to the other novels…haha) a favourite quotation here being: At Christmas everybody invites their friends about them and people think little of even the worse weather. Mary Crawford eagerly tries to find out from Fanny if it is the Christmas gaieties that keep Edmund away in Mansfield Park and we are told in Sense and Sensibility that the Miss Steeles were prevailed on to stay nearly two months at the Park to help in the celebrations ‘of that festival which requires a more than an ordinary share of private balls and large dinner parties to proclaim it’s importance’. Is this a clue as to what Christmas meant to Jane Austen, I wonder?
    Yes, there are incidents in all the novels where the word Christmas appears but sadly, except in Emma, little actual Christmas activities ever take place.

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