December Post: A Victorian Christmas and new year

When it comes to preparing my house for the festive season, it’s always nice to draw inspiration from history and tradition. My Victorian house in Tramore has been standing since the 1890s and from the exterior, it’s the perfect image of what the architecture was like back then. I think it’s wonderful to remember the Christmas traditions that would have been present at that time. That’s why I like to ‘look back to look forward’ for inspiration for my decorations.

Old photo c. 1890 of the street leading to my house. I love this image with the pony and trap and it captures the day-today life of residents in Tramore back in those days (left). Photo of Train hill courtesy of glornamara.scoilnet.ie/blog/2018/01/18/old-photographs-of-tramore (right).

The house itself is listed under Ireland’s National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. I like to honour the historical period that it belongs to by using decorations that aren’t too modern that they distract from the history but instead compliment it’s Victorian features. I’ve tried to keep this theme running throughout my house when I originally bought and restored it in 2004.

Festive photos of the front door and front steps of my house.

I think the key to decorating for dinner parties, whether Christmas, new year’s or any other celebration, is attention to detail. This goes for whether you keep your table spreads minimalist or tend to go more elaborate. I’m like to get inspired by my collection of Waterford and Tipperary crystal. I think their design and Irish craft fit perfectly with the Victorian theme and I think they bring a lot of class. And because of their transparency, you can get away with putting more on the table without worrying about it looking overcrowded.

Some of my crystalware that I like to use during Christmas and new year. Using different colours, glass sizes and shapes really catches the eye. I think pieces like these make the table spread look timeless and elegant.

Below is a collection of photos of my Christmas and new years decorations over the past years. I like to replicate the image of a sophisticated Victorian dinner and respect Christmas tradition but redesign it for today’s world by bringing in a few modern elements. Details that I think make a difference and that I like to add are also incorporating decorations like mistletoe into chandelier and hand sewing ivy around the table cloth.