The 12 Days of a Jane Austen Christmas – The Darcys’ First Christmas — 42 Comments

  1. I never knew about the Yuletide log until I started reading in English.

    In Mexico we have the Posadas. In them we represent the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph asking for shelter in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. And then we defeat the capital sins by breaking a piñata with seven points that represent them. Much of these traditions have been lost but they still are celebrated in some places.

  2. I grew up in an extended Polish-American family, and lived on a farm on the North Fork of Long Island until I moved to New York City in my 20s. When I was a child and teenager, my extended family would gather every year at my grandmother’s house for Christmas Eve, or Wigilia, as it is called in Polish. Some years, there would be as many as 40 or so of us, eating dinner in three rooms, as my grandmother had raised five children of her own and six foster children.

    On the afternoon of December 24th, I would set up the large wooden table with all its leaves in the main room, being sure to put a mound of straw, which represented the manger at Bethlehem, in the center of the table, underneath the cross stitched tablecloth my grandmother had bought from an itinerant peddler years before. A plate of blessed Christmas wafers – oplatki – would be placed over where the mound of straw sat.

    That evening, my grandmother would lead us in a prayer in Polish, and then we would each break off a large piece of oplatek, so that we could go around the room and break off pieces from each others’ wafer. Then the meatless meal would commence, everyone having brought something to contribute. There would be a good selection of fish, fried eels, pickled herring, golabki [cabbage rolls], my mother’s sweet potato with marshmallows casserole, bread rolls soaked in water and covered with poppy seeds, assorted vegetables, glazed poppy seed cake, and so on. We would eat and later open presents until it was time to head to church for Midnight Mass in Polish. Christmas Day seemed to pale a bit in comparison after all this, but most of us were together again for another large family meal.

    After my grandmother passed, my mother kept the custom going for a number of years, but as my generation – the second born in America – grew up and married, the tradition became more one of individual family celebrations.

    My grandmother’s cross stitch tablecloth was eventually handed down to me, and every time I see it at this time of the year, I fondly remember those long-ago Christmas Eves.

  3. I come from a working class family from Derbyshire so sadly the only Yule Log we grew up with was a chocloate one my Mum would make! Brilliant to get a new book from you now as Mrs Drummond has finished. Happy Christmas to you and yours x

  4. What a lovely start to my morning reading this lovely excerpt. I am British but have never done the yule log. Perhaps we should start. Christmas is my favourite time of the year. We always go to a Victorian Fayre on 23 December. We are going to Wallington Hall in Northumberland this year which is run by the National Trust. This year all family are foming to my house on Christmas Day and so are the neighbours. My daughter is travelling in Central America at the moment and is due to return home on Christmas Eve. Thank you for this Christmassey little snippet!

  5. Yule log? Yule log? What on earth is that? Lol. In case you cannot tell, the Yule log is not a big part of Australian Christmas culture. And to be honest, it has only been in the reading of historical novels that I even know the name. Australia is fairly well split on the traditional hot lunch, a barbie (bbq), and a cold seafood lunch. In my family we tended to do a hot lunch and a seafood evening dinner. Now, however it’s split. The kids and I spend the morning/lunch with my family, and then they have the afternoon/evening with their dad.

  6. In Italy we don’t have this tradition. We usually set up a “presepe”, a nativity scene made with little statues representing Mary, Joseph and Jesus but also all the shepherds and common people who went to see the child.
    Usually the manger remains empty till Christmas night when baby Jesus is put in it.

  7. That was a delight to read, and it made me nostalgic for something our family has never done. This year we have a fireplace, and since our furnace just died, it sounds especially wonderful to celebrate with a Yule Log. What a lovely visit with the Darcys this was. The new furnace will be installed within the next week, but the warmth and light from this story is already here. Thank you for a lovely post to start the day off with a smile.

  8. No, I have never had a Yule log, but this slice of the Darcys and their loved ones was so inviting! It would be a lovely tradition. I particularly liked the interaction between Darcy and Fitzwilliam in this excerpt.

  9. Wonderful! I am enjoying Christmas with my newlywed husband and we are starting our traditions. I am going to give him “Twelve Days of Christmas” gifts. Just small, silly things but want it to be a new tradition for me. Like rereading all of my wonderful Jane Austen books and wonderful adaptions. Love this!

  10. Thank you for the the whole concept of the Yule log makes so much more sense! One of the things that I so love about historical fiction is that is makes history come alive and helps me understand the culture.

  11. I love the idea of a Yule log, if only I had a fireplace… though I’d probably also need a hall boy to tend to it while it burns for twelve straight days!

  12. When I was young we all used to gather at my Gram’s and sit around and stuff ourselves and play Christmas movies (It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th St, White Christmas) and everyone would out quote each other and argue over politics and religion. It was something I will always remember. As an adult we don’t do any of that anymore and I miss it.

    • We love christmas and all its traditions at our house. We bake things, we have 12 days of christmas, we have a huge family dinner, we visit our friends, we decorate inside and out etc etc. Christmas is the best time of year. One of the things we enjoy the most is our “intangible gifts”. We give something that doesn’t cost any money such as a service or something we already have that someone else would like. It is great fun and brings us closer together.

  13. Thank you for sharing this with us. We had no fireplace, so no yule log, but it sounds like it was a wonderful event to share in. Thanks again!

  14. I already purchased my copy of The Darcy’s First Christmas and have thoroughly enjoyed it. 🙂

    Most of our traditions revolve around Advent, with the Advent wreath on the table and the hand-sewn huge Advent calendar on the wall with pockets for every day. Each pocket has a Scripture verse attached to be read, and I put candy in the pockets. We’ve wrapped small toys when the kids were little.

    Thanks for this lovely excerpt, Maria Grace!! 🙂 You are a gem!!

    Advent blessings,
    Susanne 🙂

  15. This is a lovely tradition for the Holidays. Hadn’t heard about this tradition until reading all Christmas variations of Pride and Prejudice. Would be a tradition to add, but several years ago I converted my two fireplaces to gas. Wouldn’t be a good idea to start this tradition now. The tradition I remember most was staying with my aunt and grandparents baking all kinds of Christmas cookies enough to feed hundreds of people. Some of the thicker decorated cookies were tied to the tree and used as ornaments. Grandma didn’t mind, because next year we started all over agaovely excerpt.

  16. This is a lovely tradition for the Holidays. Hadn’t heard about this tradition until reading all Christmas variations of Pride and Prejudice. Would be a tradition to add, but several years ago I converted my two fireplaces to gas. Wouldn’t be a good idea to start this tradition now. The tradition I remember most was staying with my aunt and grandparents baking all kinds of Christmas cookies enough to feed hundreds of people. Some of the thicker decorated cookies were tied to the tree and used as ornaments. Grandma didn’t mind, because next year we started all over again. Lovely excerpt.

  17. No Yule logs in our family but your story is delightful! I can hardly wait to see what mischief befalls the Darcy’s on their first Christmas. Jen Red

  18. So lovely. I could almost smell the greenery !
    No yule log here on so Louisiana. Or sw Mississippi where I am moving

    Can’t wait to read the rest!

    Merry Christmas Maria grace!!

  19. No yule log for me either. No fireplace. It sounds like a lovely tradition, though. 🙂

    Thanks for the wonderful excerpt and for the great giveaway!

  20. We have a daily Advent Calendar, and everyday we open it to find a Christmas activity to do that day — some big, some small. The kids and adults can’t wait to open it every morning.

  21. I would love to have a Yule log, but alas we have no fire … apart from it being totally the wrong season in NZ!
    Instead we put out mince pies and a cold drink for Santa, and a carrot for the reindeer. We always have pavlova for dessert for Christmas day, so this is made on the 24th.

  22. Christmas is our favourite time of year, but no fireplace so no yule log sadly. We have many traditions we follow every year from the hunt for a live tree to where and how decorations are displayed. We make merry the whole month.
    Great to see you have a new story out. Thanks for the chance to win.

  23. Though we’ve never had a Yule log, we do light a fire in the fireplace nearly every night during the holiday season. On New Year’s Eve, we write down the one thing we wish to forget from the past year, toss it in the flames, and as Darcy says in your excerpt “allow the flames to consume those that we may begin the coming year with a clean slate.”

    • This well-written, delightful story provided good insights to Regency celebration of Christmas by the wealthy. And, of course, this information was intertwined with a delightful new story.

  24. Thanks for the excerpt–it’s always nice to get a new bit of P&P to read. Too bad Jane herself isn’t still writing, but then there wouldn’t be so many fun fan stories!

  25. We never had a yule log, but we did light a fire in the fireplace a few years on Christmas eve. Our tradition was late service at church.
    Congratulations on the new release!

  26. I also grew up in Derbyshire (not far from Lyme Park – Pemberley 1995) We only had a chocolate log as well – but it was very nice! In my house now I don’t have a real fire so couldn’t have one anyway. I loved the excerpt and would really like to win a copy of this book – thank you for the giveaway.

  27. I’ve never experienced the yule log tradition, which I assume to be very much a northern hemisphere tradition, but have heard of it in many stories. I find the idea of Christmas traditions interesting as they seem to be either cultural or family based, both of which are steeped in history of one kind or another. Traditions being so makes them rather suitable for a P&P story 🙂

  28. We don’t do Yule Logs much in the States. We only had gas fireplaces after we moved into a house. I remember quite a bit of cooking. Mom always made mince meat pie for my older brother and the good china came out for dinner.

    The most memorable Christmas was very quiet and very small. My brothers and sisters couldn’t come home so I was the only one of the “children” there. My older brother was in Viet Nam and my sister-in-law and their 2 small sons came from California for Christmas. Daddy saw a tree in the window at Sears that was beautiful. We always had had live trees until then. Daddy wanted that Christmas to be special for his Grandsons. He and I went to get the tree….he never drove so I had to take him since this was a suprise for everyone else. He bought that tree decorations and all. It was beautiful. I still have the garland and the decorations from that tree. It’s been 45 years but I think of him everytime I decorate my tree.

    Your story, as always, was wonderful and a pleasant start to the morning.

  29. We have a yule log dvd that we put on every christmas day. though now we heard about the hallmark channel yule log with a dog and will be checking that out this year

  30. We always watch the yulelog Christmas music channel on Christmas Eve, it’s the closest we can get having a gas fireplace in our house! Sounds a bit silly but it reminds me of Christmas Eve fires from my childhood! I can’t wait to read the rest of your story, the exempt was lovely.

  31. This excerpt has certainly made me curious of what is going on! Thank you for the giveaway. One of our traditions is to sit down on Christmas day for a large, delicious breakfast. (Even as adults, they still expect the breakfast whenever they come home!) Only afterwards, were gifts opened and each child opened one at a time so all could be part of it and it would extend the joy of opening gifts.

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