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For an Edwardian-style Christmas: A huge collection of ideas for traditional holiday decor, delicious recipes & more

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Antique Christmas postcards (4)

How to decorate for Christmas in the Edwardian style (1910)

From El Paso Herald (El Paso, Tex.) December 17, 1910

It is doubtful if St Nick in all his travels ever beholds a dwelling in which, no effort has been made to make festive the Yuletide with the green of the leaf or the scarlet of the berry. Sometimes, when it is but a bit of faded ribbon or a tiny sprig of holly, the tenderhearted old fellow must be greatly touched.

In the household where there are big eyes to peer into the mysterious darkness and small ears to listen for the old saint’s coming, the Christmas tree, of course, is the universal decoration.

The home carpenter may have some difficulty in making a device to support the tree properly. One way is to use a stout packing box, and turning it on its side, nail cleats to hold the tree in place. On the opposite side of the box, directly over the cleat enclosures, a hole is then cut which is large enough to admit the butt of the tree. The box may be covered with cotton, sprinkled with mica, or may simply be wrapped in green or red tissue paper.

House and table decorations for the holidays (1910s)

Besides the tinseled decorations for the tree that may be bought in the shops, one may add to its attractiveness by many little home-made trifles. Walnuts may be gilded and hung from the tree by bright ribbons. Cranberries strung on thread may be festooned from the branches, and figures cut from crepe paper may be pasted to tiny clothespins and placed on the tree.

One woman who was obliged to make her decorations from the materials at hand-gilded eggshells and, by means of a bit of ceiling wax and narrow ribbon, suspended them from the tree. She also dyed long strings of popcorn both green and red and hung them in festoons. From the butterfly crepe paper, she cut the butterflies of various sizes and poised them on the branches with wire.

Antique Christmas postcards (3)

The Christmas dinner table

The miniature Christmas tree for the center of the table is probably the most popular decoration because it lends itself so well to attractive lighting and the distribution of small gifts or favors. If one does not care for the artificial trees sold in the shops, any nurseryman, usually to be found out of town a ways, should be able to furnish at very small cost a little Norway spruce about, a foot and a half high. This may be tacked to a thin board and trimmed as elaborately as one wishes, and the base covered with a mound of holly.

A small log symbolizing the old Yule logs which has been hollowed out and filled with holly or mistletoe is also attractive and inexpensive. A gilded holly tree, when lighted with many tiny candles, is most effective.

The wreath idea in table decorating may be carried out in detail. About a tall candle in the center of the table place a large holly or other Christmas wreath. Encircle this with smaller candles, not too close together, and about the candles have a larger wreath. Each plate may be encircled by a wreath and each dish that is served may be garnished in a way to carry out the same idea — parsley about the bluepoints, and smilax twined about the sherbet glass, for instance.

Antique Christmas postcards (2)

A decoration more elaborate in appearance but simple in construction is the use of two hoops, one perhaps a foot and a half in diameter, the other two feet. These should be wound closely with Christmas greens or smilax and hung by wires from the ceiling, the smaller one about a foot above the larger. In the center, suspend a huge red Christmas bell, and from the hoops hang smaller bells which may be those already made from tissue paper, or may easily be cut from red cardboard.

A scarlet poinsettia would be appropriate for the center of the table, or candles with shades made from white or green watercolor paper upon which have been pasted red bells. Place cards may be double bells cut from red paper with the name on the outer sheet and the menu written on the inner one.

Vintage Victorian Christmas decorations

House and table decorations for the winter holidays

A decorative scheme suggested by the Christmas Eve celebration of the Russians, called “The Festival of the Evening Star,” requires several sheets of gilded or silvered paper.

Cut a large star to lie flat in the center of the table and about its edges make a border of holly or mistletoe. Tiny candles may follow the lines of the star, or a wooden manger be constructed in which are piled small gifts, tied with ribbons, that are carried to each place. The candle shades may be studded with little stars, and the place cards cut into star shapes.

For the small dining room with perhaps a dome swung from a single chain from the ceiling, ropes of cedar festooned from the molding to the center of the ceiling give a gala effect. The chain of the light should be wound with the cedar, and the glass covered with thin paper upon which fir trees cut from dark green paper have been pasted. Candles with shades fashioned in the same way add to the effect.

For a centerpiece, a great mound of snowballs, made from cotton sprinkled with diamond dust and containing some small gift, would be fitting. A toy airplane, painted red or green, with the venerable Santa at the wheel, and the planes covered with drifted cotton snow which has formed irregular icicles depending from the edges, may seem a violation of the reindeer tradition, but it has the advantage of being quite new.

Christmas postcards with Santa 1913

A few suggestions for the children’s table

Cover the table to within about a foot of the edge with white cotton sprinkled with mica dust, and outline the cotton with holly. Form a chimney in the center of cracks which are red candy boxes. Arrange the cotton about the top of the chimney like snow with bits of it hanging down, and place a figure of Santa Claus to look as though he were just emerging from the chimney. The children, at the conclusion of the dinner, may be given the candy boxes and the small gifts that Santa’s pack contains.

Gifts may also be secreted in a huge snowball made of pasteboard and covered with cotton, or each little article may be rolled in its own cotton snowball and the balls with white ribbons attached that lead to each placemat be piled up about the figure of St Nick in the center.

In place of “Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,” harness the beloved Teddy bears with scarlet ribbons to the sleigh that Santa drives over a mountainous snowheap in the center of the table. Or erect the North Pole — a mica-sprinkled stick of rock candy at the top of the glittering snowheap — and place Teddy in a proud attitude of victory upon it.


Sparkling, shiny Christmas decor for your home (1916)

by Dorothy Dale – The Spartanburg Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC) December 17, 1916

Half the joy of the holiday season is in gayly decorating the home. You can easily make your own Christmas decorations, and the little ones can help you with your labor of love.

Garlands and chains festooned about the tree may be made of red and white peppermint sticks tied with narrow scarlet ribbons. Tinfoil makes an effective decoration. Crescents and stars may be cut from cardboard and covered with tin foil and suspended by a silver cord or picture wire.

Christmas bells may be made from scarlet or white bristol board. White cardboard, gilded or silvered, makes pretty bells. A circle four inches across will make two bells.

White crystals are made of rice paper. The simplest way to make the crystals is to fold a circle about 4 inches in diameter, marking the pattern with a lead pencil on the folded circles, and then cutting it out. Once the paper is unfolded, a crystal appears which may be strung with thread so as to form a snowy chain of crystals glistening with diamond dust.

Vintage Christmas postcards (2)

Red and green for the Christmas table

Red and green are the colors used principally for decorating at Christmas. The kiddies will love a table with Santa Claus standing on a snowy cotton mound dressed in red crepe paper, with trimmings of white cotton to simulate white fur. The hair and beard are also of white cotton. Secreted in snowy mound are little gifts wrapped in holly paper. Each souvenir is attached to a long green ribbon, which is drawn to the cotton and reaches to each place.

To complete the effectiveness, the candlesticks are capped with crepe paper shades sparkling with diamond dust, and each candlestick is encircled, with a wreath of small everlasting flowers.

Merry Christmas - antique postcard

The bon bon boxes are little boxes in the shape of snowballs, adorned with a gay spray of holly and filled with red and white sweetmeats.

While the guests are seated, little telegrams may be distributed which contain personal Christmas greetings. The glass dome of the chandelier may be covered with Christmas pictures, cut out and pasted on the paper.

A table with the star for its principal feature has a large red star-shaped box outlined with diamond dust holding the souvenirs. From the chandelier by means of wire are suspended strings of stars.

More stars and festive decor

The sandwiches may be cut in star shapes and the cakes iced with red icing, decorated with green candies. The ice cream may be served in a snowball shape, sprinkled with coconut. Tie a bit of evergreen to each cup handle. Popcorn wreaths are effective for decorating the table. Sew each kernel separately on white hat wire and form circles.

Vintage Christmas postcards (1)


The Christmas table: Festive treats and touches

For the holiday dinner or the evening party — festive touches not too difficult

The hospitality which we dispense at Christmastime will seem all the more hearty and enjoyable to our guests if they see that it has been our pleasure to plan something different, in honor of the day and their presence with us, from what we are used to having on our tables on ordinary days.

It is the loving thought worked out in extra effort and expressed in the little surprises that makes the day stand apart from all others.

House and table decorations for the holidays (1910s)

Many hostesses who are noted for the charm of their entertainments always plan to have at the beginning and end of the meal some little novelty in substance or serving that will be likely to start and keep up a lively flow of conversation.

The funny faces of the goblin oranges, for instance, will cause a merry comparison of expressions, which, by a slight difference in the marking, may vary from grave to gay.

How to make a festive old-fashioned Christmas table for your holiday dinner (1911)

The central decoration on the poinsettia table is a favor receptacle made by covering a tin milk-pan, first with smoothly stretched crepe paper and then with a mass of scarlet ruffles with serrated edges suggesting flower petals. From its center rises a tall, spreading cluster of flaming paper poinsettias.

House and table decorations for the holidays (1910s)

A flounce of poinsettia crepe finishes the edge of the table, and the ice-cups and place-cards are decorated with smaller blossoms of the same gorgeous variety. The table would be equally pretty, although perhaps not so cheery, if the scheme of decoration were worked out in either of the other blooms — holly or mistletoe — which we naturally associate with Christmas.

House and table decorations for the holidays (1910s)


Decorations and foods for the old-fashioned Christmas table

The table itself must be Christmassy in its setting and decoration, however simple, and once our eyes have taken it all in, we settle down to the enjoyment of turkey and all the “fixin’s” to appease our appetites without any particular regard to garnishings. When that is accomplished, we are tempted to eat because “it looks so good.”

The housewife’s skill as a fancy cook is shown in the lighter courses that give her a special opportunity to serve dishes that are attractive in Christmas colorings.

It is the little extra touch that makes a dish or table festive in appearance. While all of the decorations and dishes presented on this page may be duplicated exactly by housewives who delight to make things “fixy,” many a housekeeping mother will. we trust. be pleased to select even one of the ideas illustrated and use it to add a bit of festive ornamentation to a more or less plain dish or cake. We are sure she will be rewarded by the pleased exclamations of the children.

The table - Edwardian-style Christmas


Food and treats to set upon the old-fashioned Christmas table (1911)

From Ladies Home Journal (December 1911)

Poinsettia cake with candles in poinsettia holders

At this woodsy table, luck is invoked by the rite of burning candles. Pine branches and beach-grass baskets filled with dried bayberries form an unusual centerpiece. A pine cone serves as a holder for the bayberry dip at each cover.

The dips are to be lighted at the beginning of the meal and allowed to “burn to the socket,” following the suggestion of the old jingle printed on the place-cards: “A bayberry candle burned to the socket / Brings luck to the house and gold to the pocket.”

The candle burning at Yuletide in Old England was very likely to be of bayberry. In our own country, the use of the bayberry candle is as old as the settlements in Massachusetts and Virginia.

The Christmas table - food and festivity from 1914 (2)


Festive treats and dishes for the old-fashioned Christmas table
  • Four-inch candy yule logs with miniature holly
  • An individual serving of vegetable salad garnished with poinsettia of pimento
  • Ornamented with pistachio nuts and white candies
  • Cranberry pie containing raisins
  • Plum pudding with almonds
  • Surprise frozen chocolate served with fruit-filled whipped cream and little partridgeberry cakes
  • Cheese molds with Christmas garnishings

The Christmas table - food and festivity from 1914 (4)


Festive food for the old-fashioned Christmas table
  • Jellied crab met salad in green peppers
  • Christmas eclairs filled with pistachio ice cream and decorated with cherries
  • Pulled sugar cup filled with ice cream
  • Fruit and nut Bavarian cream for dessert

The Christmas table - food and festivity from 1914 (3)


Authentic Edwardian Christmas decorations and games for children from 1916

To make the children’s party at Christmas time a brilliant success is not at all difficult. All they need is room to play in, games and pastimes planned ahead to fill up the time, someone to supervise them and Christmas goodies to eat. This last item in the program of the Christmas party means a great deal to them, but they are easily pleased.

The old-fashioned games, “blind man’s buff,” “drop the handkerchief,” “hide and seek,” have unfailing charms for the youngsters, but they will not play at one game long.

A “fishing pond” pleases them and is easy to manage. A lot of toys and trinkets are wrapped in paper and tied up — a sufficient number to provide something for every child. Before the party, these are piled up in some convenient corner and a curtain of some kind hung across the corner to hide them.

Fishing poles with lines having a crooked pin at the end are made ready, and each child casts his line over the top of the curtain. Someone in charge of this part of the entertainment fastens a little parcel to the bent pin for each child, and someone else sees to it that each little guest gets one chance at the pond.

Antique Christmas postcard with Santa and children

A fortune teller’s corner helps amuse the little folks and their brief fortunes all are written out before the time of the party. A big owl, mode of paper, stands on a small bench in a corner with a box containing the written fortunes behind him. His head is made so that it will move in a nod to signify “yes,” or from side to side for “no” in answer to questions. Someone, of course, sitting behind, manipulates the answers and finally thrusts one of the folded pieces of paper forward on the bench or table.

When it comes from time for refreshments, they are served, and from a decorated table containing a “Christmas pie,” each child gets a little bag of sweets or some little trinket to carry away. The “pie” is a centerpiece containing the little gifts.


Christmas cakes from many lands (1911)

The San Francisco Call (California) December 17, 1911

Every housewife has her favorite recipe for Christmas cakes, but she is also open to conviction when the Christmas spirit in baking takes possession of her. In fact, if there is one time in her life when she is willing to experiment, it is just before the holidays when the household purse strings are loosened.

Every country where Christmas holiday is recognized, and every state in the union, has some particular cake for which it has more than local fame. For instance, there are the Italian pastes, the gay French and German cakes and the English loaf cakes — each in its turn worthy of housewifely attention.

The following recipes have been tried out by many generations of home cooks:

Virginia walnut cake
German Christmas cake
Swiss Christmas cake
English mistletoe cake
English Christmas cake
Southern pound cake
French chocolate cake
Hickory nut wafers

Merry Christmas cakes


Virginia walnut cake recipe

To one pint of nuts, measured after they are shelled, allow one cup of sugar, half cup of butter, three eggs and a pinch of salt, one-fourth cup of sweet milk, with flour enough to make a dough.

Beat the butter to a cream and mix thoroughly with the sugar. Next add the well-beaten eggs, the milk and the salt with a little of the flour; then the nuts, which have been shelled and passed through the meat chopper, and last the remaining flour. Roll out lightly, cut into shapes, sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake in a moderately hot oven.

German Christmas cake recipe

The fatherland cook boasts of many recipes, but this one is a prime favorite with all classes. These delicious sweets can be cut into as many shapes as the housewife has tin patterns and can also be made to take a variety of colors by dividing the icing in parts, tinting it green, rose or yellow with vegetable dyes and using chocolate for a fourth.

To four eggs, allow one pound of pastry flour, three fourths of a pound of sugar, half a pound of almonds well-blanched, and one-fourth pound of candied orange peel or citron, as preferred; one lemon, one large and juicy orange, half an ounce of ground cinnamon and one-fourth teaspoon of good ground cloves, half a teaspoon of allspice, one teaspoon of baking powder and half a cup of honey. Beat the eggs and sugar to a cream.

Blanch, dry and pass the almonds through a meat chopper. Beat the eggs without ceasing for 20 minutes, then add eggs and sugar and little by little the flour and almonds. Grate the rind of lemon and orange into the mixture, add the strained juice and the honey, then the baking powder. Mix well and if not stiff enough to roll out add more flour. Roll into thin cakes, cut into fancy shapes, bake in a moderate oven.

When cold, spread with boiled icing colored as directed above.

Swiss Christmas cake recipe

The whites only of the eggs are used. For three of these, allow two ounces of sugar, two tablespoons of red and three of white wine, one lemon, and flour to make a paste.

Rub the rind of the lemon with the sugar, then dissolve it in the wine, add the whites of the eggs beaten quite stiff and flour to make paste. Spread over a buttered pan in a thin layer and cook in a rather quick oven.

Immediately on removing from the oven, cut into narrow strips, and while hot wind them quickly around a small stick, and when cold slip them off. At serving time, pile high in a pretty silver dish.

English mistletoe cake recipe

This cake is both ornamental and toothsome, for it shows the genuine Christmas colors. For the layers allow three ounces each of butter and sugar, three eggs, half a pound of flour, one teaspoon of baking powder and one wineglass of orange flower water.

Separate the eggs and beat the whites to a stiff froth, the yolks to a cream. Beat the sugar and butter together, add the yolks of the eggs, the flour sifted with the baking powder, the orange flower water and lastly the whites of the eggs. Bake in three layers.

For the filling: Whip half a pint of cream until stiff, sweeten slightly and divide in two portions. Color one with spinach green anColor one with spinach green and add grated coconut to the other. Spread the green cream over the first layer of the cake, cover with the second, spread over the white cream and place third layer on to. Ice thickly with plain boiled icing and decorate while fresh with bits of candied citron, cut to represent mistletoe leaves, using silver comfits for the berries.

Edwardian-style Christmas

English Christmas cake recipe

Allow one and a half pounds each of butter and sugar, four eggs, one gill of rich cream, five pounds of flour, three pounds of currants, one-fourth pound of sliced citron, one grated nutmeg, one tablespoon of salt and five teaspoons of baking powder.

Rub the butter and sugar to a cream, whip the eggs thoroughly, then mix all together. Sift the flour and mix thoroughly with the fruit and spice. Then add it and the salt to the mixture little by little stirring gently until mixed; add the baking powder and beat until smooth. Bake in a moderate oven for two hours.

Southern pound cake recipe

Beat one pound of butter and one pound of powdered sugar together until they form a cream. Separate the whites from the yolks of one dozen eggs. Whisk the whites to a stiff froth and beat the yolks until thick. Beat the whites into the creamed butter and sugar, then add the yolks and beat all thoroughly together.

Sift the flour and stir in lightly little by little, stirring only enough to mix well and smoothly. Bake in a moderate oven for one hour and a quarter. Be careful not to stir or shake the pan until the cake is well set. The genuine pound cake is always unflavored, but if preferred, the juice and grated rind of a lemon may be added.

French chocolate cake recipe

For the foundation, allow three eggs, four ounces of powdered sugar, one and a half ounces of flour, one ounce of cornstarch and one-fourth teaspoon of vanilla extract. Separate the eggs and beat the yolks to a cream, then add the powdered sugar, the flour and cornstarch little by little and finally the vanilla. Beat all thoroughly, then add the whites of the eggs, which have been whipped to a stiff froth, and whip lightly into the mixture.

Butter lightly a sheet of white paper and spread over an ordinary baking pan. Press the cake mixture through a pastry tube to form rounds about the size of a silver half dollar. Bake in a moderate oven until firm and allow the cakes to become cold.

Cut all of one size with a small round cutter, spread the flat side of half the number of the cakes with peach marmalade and cover with the other half. Put one cup of granulated sugar in a saucepan with one-quarter cup of water and cook until it will spin a thread. Melt an ounce of chocolate over hot water, beat the white of one egg; stiff, then whip in the syrup little by little until thoroughly mixed. Add the chocolate and beat all until thick.

Take as many wooden toothpicks as you have cakes and stick one in each and, holding the toothpick in the hand, dip one cake into the icing, covering it entirely. Turn a flour sieve upside down on a table and place the ends of the sticks in the holes, supporting the cakes thus until quite dry.

Hickory nut wafers recipe

These delicious little dainties hall from Vermont.

For each egg, allow one-fourth cup of butter, one cup of sugar, one cup of chopped hickory nuts.

Beat the butter and sugar to a cream, then add the well-beaten eggs and the flour with a pinch of salt. Lastly, stir in the nuts. Drop in small spoonfuls on buttered paper, flatten a little with the back of a spoon and bake in a moderate oven.

Edwardian-style Christmas celebrations


4 Christmas desserts for the children (1913)

The North Platte Semi-Weekly Tribune (North Platte, Neb.) December 30, 1913

For the young people, many of the rich foods that are served at this time are entirely inappropriate, and a few simple desserts and puddings will be used for them. Here are ones that are warranted to be reliable.

Grape juice souffle

Mix together a pint of grape juice, a third of a cup of sugar and two tablespoonfuls of granulated gelatin. Stir until dissolved. Set the pan into hot water and the process will be hastened. When the mixture begins to thicken, stir in the whites of four eggs beaten stiff. Half-fill small molds, then add a cup of heavy cream beaten stiff to the remainder, and fill the molds. Chill and serve without a sauce.

Drop cookies

Cream one cupful of butter and add gradually one and a half cups of sugar, then add three eggs well-beaten. Dissolve a teaspoonful of soda in one and a half tablespoonfuls of hot water, add to the first mixture with two cupfuls of flour mixed with a teaspoonful of cinnamon and half a teaspoonful of salt. Add one cupful of chopped walnut meats, one cup of raisins, and one and a fourth cupfuls of flour. Drop by spoonfuls two inches apart on a buttered sheet and bake in a moderate oven.

Antique Christmas postcards (5)

Almond cookies recipe

Cream a half cup of butter and add a half cup of sugar creaming well together, then add one egg well beaten, one-third of a cup of blanched almonds finely chopped, the grated rind of half a lemon, two tablespoonfuls of orange juice and one of vanilla, two cupfuls of flour sifted with two teaspoonfuls of baking powder, a half teaspoonful each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Roll and cut with a round cutter. Bake in a moderate oven until delicately brown.

Another frozen pudding recipe

Dissolve two tablespoonfuls of granulated gelatin in a half cupful of boiling water. Cook together a cupful each of sugar and water until it forms a thread. Add this syrup to the beaten yolks of three eggs, beat until cool, then add the gelatin. Fold in two cupfuls of whipped cream, then add a half cupful of sultana raisins, a cup of mixed nut meats. Freeze, and when partly frozen, add a half pound of candled fruits, chopped and soaked in vanilla.


Recipes for 3 kinds of Christmas cookies (1914)

by Caroline Coe – The Day Book (Chicago, Ill.) December 12, 1914

Almond croquettes

Beat two eggs until they are very light. Add a half teaspoon of salt and one-half pound of pulverized sugar. Beat the eggs and sugar until very foamy. Grind one-half pound of shelled al monds fine, add them to one-half pound of flour. Grate the rind of one lemon and add to the eggs and sugar. Grate one-half cup of chocolate and add with the flour and almonds to the first mixture. Mix until smooth.

Flour the board slightly and, taking a little of the dough on the board, roll out very thin, and over top, roll sugar. Cut in strips an inch and a half wide. Cut again “on the bias” and bake in slow oven until golden brown.

Cinnamon strips

Cream two cups of brown sugar with four eggs until they are a light froth. Add one-half cup of shredded almonds, the grated peel and juice of one lemon, one-half teaspoonful of grated nutmeg, one half teaspoonful each of cloves and cinnamon, a pinch of salt and four cups of flour.

Mix thoroughly, roll out on floured board, cut in inch-wide strips and bake slowly.

Peanut cookie recipe

Sift together four times one cup of flour, one fourth teaspoon of salt, one level teaspoon of baking powder. Cream one tablespoon of butter with one-half cup of brown sugar and one egg, beat five minutes. Remove the brown skin from enough peanuts to make three-fourths cup of chopped nut meats.

Add to the sugar-butter mixture two tablespoons of sweet milk. Beat well, then add the flour and nuts. Mix all together and drop on well-buttered pan from small spoon. Leave at least two inches between each cookie, as they will “spread.” Bake rather fast and have cookies rather brown.

4 classic European Christmas cookies from 1911 (2)

Christmas hearts cookie recipe (1912)

Miss A. Hill, Oakland in The San Francisco Call (California) December 15, 1912

Ingredients: Two cups granulated sugar, one-half cup cream, one-fourth cup butter, one-half cup chopped candied cherries, one teaspoon vanilla or wintergreen extract, one-half teaspoon red coloring.

Directions: Put sugar, cream and butter into a saucepan and stir gently over fire until the mixture threads from spoon. Remove from stove and let stand till cool, then add red coloring, extract and chopped cherries. Beat until it thickens and begins to grain, then pour into paper-lined pan and allow to cool. Cut into hearts with a small, sharp-edged cake cutter.

Plum pudding bars

Ingredients: Two ounces candied peel, two ounces each of currants, sultana raisins and dates; one tablespoon cold water, white of one egg, a little melted chocolate and confectioner’s sugar.

Directions: Chop all the fruits very fine. Put the white of egg into a basin, add the water and mix smooth. Add one tablespoon sifted confectioner’s sugar to the fruits, and then stir in enough sugar to form a stiff paste.

Let the mixture dry for a couple of hours. Brush it over with melted chocolate. When dry, turn the sweet over on to greaseproof paper and brush over the other side. When set, cut into neat bars with a sharp knife or round with a sharp cake cutter.

Antique Christmas postcards (4)

Santa Claus squares (Candy)

Put two cups white sugar, one-half cup water and a pinch of cream of tartar into a granite saucepan and stir well. Then place on fire, but do not stir. Let boil until it blows a bubble, then pour it out in equal quantities into three deep plates. Into each pour a few drops of almond extract.

Into the first plate, pour a few drops of green vegetable coloring, and a few drops of red coloring into the second. Leave the third plate as it is.

Allow to stand for five minutes, then drop a few nut meats into each plate. Stir each plateful until cool enough to knead, then knead until creamy. Lay on oiled paper in a long, even loaf about two inches wide. Place the white layer between the colored layers. Let candy cool, then slice it. Wrap each slice in a paraffin paper, fold up and fasten with a Santa Claus seal.

Fig cream (Candy)

Ingredients: Three cups sugar, one cup cream, one-half cup corn syrup, one-half pound figs, one tablespoon lemon juice.

Directions: Cook the sugar, cream and syrup to a soft ball; test (firm and waxy); cool the mixture, stir, and when it thickens, add the figs (cut fine) and add lemon juice. When too thick to pour, spread on buttered pan and cut into squares before it is cold.

Snow balls

Ingredients: One pound almond paste, one pound powdered sugar (three cups), two tablespoons lemon juice and one white of egg.

Directions: Knead into the paste, gradually, the sugar, lemon juice and unbeaten white of egg. Form the mixture into balls and roll in cocoa. It may also be dipped in melted chocolate or fondant. Then dip in honey and roll in shredded coconut.

Kris Kringle dates

Wash the dates, then wipe and remove the stones. Fill with fruit fudge, press together and roll in granulated sugar.

Pineapple rings

Select a pineapple that has been canned whole and cut into rings one-fourth inch thick, or use sliced canned pineapple. Simmer in a thick syrup until it is firm and candied. Remove from the syrup and place them in a draining pan that has been well greased. When dry, dip the rings in melted chocolate and sprinkle with grated nut meats.


Vintage Christmas cookie recipes to try (1915)

by Margaret Hamelin

“I like anything with molasses in it,” is the universal cry when the boys and girls come home for the holidays. Warm gingerbread served with whipped cream or melted chocolate is a special favorite, and if they know where the cooky jar is kept, they will hardly know when to stop. Homemade cookies, snaps and jumbles can be made without making much of a draft on the white sugar supply.

The girls are partial to the crisp, snappy ones, while the boys demand the thick, crumbly cookies “that fill a fellow up.” Make the cookies and snaps two or three days before serving, but the spiced drop cakes are best when fresh and warm from the oven.

Let your holiday cakes be cookies Classic cookie recipes to try (1918)

Crispy snaps cookie recipe

For the “crispy snaps,” boil one pint of dark molasses, half a cupful of shortening and one cupful of crushed maple sugar for eight minutes. When lukewarm, add a scant tablespoonful of ground ginger, a teaspoonful of ground cinnamon, one level teaspoonful of baking soda and sufficient finely sifted flour to form a dough that will roll very thin. Bake in a rather quick oven.

Thick, old-fashioned cookies

For the old-fashioned cookies, nearly half an inch thick, take two cupsful of molasses, three-quarters of a cupful of shortening, two scant teaspoonsful of baking soda, half a cupful each of sour milk and water, half a teaspoonful of salt, one teaspoonful of ground ginger, one grated nutmeg, one teaspoonful of ground cinnamon and half a teaspoonful of allspice. Mix the ingredients, dissolving the soda in the sour milk until very smooth; then stir in enough carefully silted flour to form a soft dough.

Use as little flour as possible. Flour the board and rolling pin, roll and then cut the dough and use a cake turner to remove the cookies to the baking pan. A few chopped seeded raisins may be added to this recipe, as no sugar is used.

Honey nut cookies recipe

Melt a quarter of a cupful of oleo [margarine], add one cupful of strained honey, one tablespoonful of lemon juice, the grated rind of one lemon, two ounces of chopped sweet almonds (blanched), one-quarter of a teaspoonful of ground mace, half a teaspoonful of baking soda and about two and a half cupsful of finely sifted flour. Mix thoroughly and set aside covered in a cold place overnight. Roll into a sheet half an inch thick, cut in squares and bake in a moderate oven.

Rolled oat, fruit and nut cookie recipe

Cream half a cupful of oleo and beat in a scant half cupful of corn syrup, one lightly-whipped egg, two tablespoonsful of milk, half a cupful of chopped raisins, one-quarter of a cupful of chopped peanuts, one large cupful each of rolled oats and finely sifted flour, and half a teaspoonful of baking soda. A little extra flour may be required; roll into a thin sheet and cut into rounds. This recipe makes about twenty-five cookies.

Hermits cookie recipe

These are probably the most popular of all cookies. Cream one-quarter of a cupful of clarified beef dripping and add half a cupful of corn syrup (maple syrup may be used if preferred), one lightly-beaten egg, half a teaspoonful each of salt and cinnamon, one-quarter of a teaspoonful of cloves and one-third of a cupful of cold water. Sift together one and a half cupsful of wheaten flour and three teaspoonsful of baking powder, and gradually blend with the other ingredients.

Beat the batter vigorously and add a quarter of a cupful each of chopped raisins, currants and nuts. Drop by the spoonful on to a buttered sheet and bake in a moderate oven from fifteen to twenty minutes.

Prune marshmallow cookie recipe

Beat to a cream one-third of a cupful of any preferred shortening and half a cupful each of corn syrup and maple syrup, half a cupful of milk and half a teaspoonful each of ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Then blend in gradually one and three-quarter cups of finely-sifted flour and three teaspoonsful of baking powder.

Have ready a scant half pound of prunes that have been washed, stoned and cut in bits with sharp scissors. Flour these lightly, add to the batter and drop from the spoon onto a baking sheet. When cooked, cover with a thin layer of frosting made from melted marshmallows.


4 classic European Christmas cookies (1911)

The Day Book (Chicago, Ill.) December 13, 1911

Those who make their own Christmas goodies will find the recipes given here favorites.

Antique Christmas postcards (1)

Peppernuts cookies (Pfeffernusse)

Beat 4 eggs 15 minutes. Add one pound-powdered sugar and beat 15 minutes more. Add the juice and grated rind of 1 lemon, and 1/2 teaspoon each of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir in one cup flour and 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder. Add flour until it is the right consistency to roll.

Cut with small cutters, and bake in a moderate oven on buttered tins.

Belgraber Brod

Fold 1 pound powdered sugar into the stiffly-beaten whites of 8 eggs. Add 1 pound chopped almonds, 2 ounces citron, 2 ounces lemon peel, 1 dessertspoon cinnamon, 1/2 dessertspoon cloves. Let the batter stand 2 hours. Put equal parts of flour and powdered sugar on the molding board. Work in just enough to make the dough keep its shape in baking.

Form into small pieces and bake in a slow oven.

Basler Leckerli

Heat 1 pound honey, and add 1 wineglass brandy. Then add 8 ounces almonds, 8 ounces citron, 4 ounces orange peel. Stir in 1 pound sugar, 1 teaspoon cloves, 1 small nutmeg ground. Add gradually 2-1/2 pounds flour, keeping the mixture heated. Stir well, roll out and cut into small squares. Bake in floured tins in a moderate oven.

Ice while hot with 1/2 pound sugar boiled with a little water to make a thick syrup.

Rolled oat macaroons recipe

To 1-1/4 cups rolled oats add 1 egg and 2 tablespoons each of cream, milk and water. After the oats have soaked up the moisture, add 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 tablespoon melted butter. Add 2 teaspoons baking powder and enough whole wheat flour to make a stiff batter.

Make into balls the size of a walnut and bake in a moderate oven.


The family’s Christmas presents (1910)

The San Francisco Call (California) December 18, 1910

You have probably made the selection of gifts for the family, but the question now clamoring for an answer is, in what way shall they be distributed to make the gift-giving an enjoyable event of the day?

There is the gathering around a Christmas tree, tiny if you wish, upon which gifts are hung. The father of the family should present them with appropriate speeches. The baby might be dressed as a special messenger to give the packages to each member of the family circle.

Some families reserve the distribution of gifts until mealtime. If this is your idea, there are some suggestions below that are easily carried out, and that will answer any cry for the unusual.

On a wire frame, bent in the form of a star, stretch a piece of muslin and allow a slit in the upper surface. Place all little gifts in it, each one on a red or green ribbon, and print the name of the owner on the end. Draw it out to each plate and have the gifts taken “gently and in order” from the star. This last admonition is necessary if a tangled mass of gifts be not your aim.

This little ceremony may be kept for the family’s very best gifts — the silver watch for brother, the gold piece for grandma, and the ring for sister.

Antique Edwardian Christmas card - children hanging stockings

Instead of a Christmas tree on the table

If you do not wish a real tree on the table, why not make a stand of cardboard? Draw on green cardboard four pine trees, connected at the bottom by a two-inch band. Bend this between each two trees and fasten the ends together by clamps or with cardboard.

Let this be a green covering for the gifts inside. The huge muslin Santa Claus bag is another holder for the family’s presents. Make it with a large opening on a drawstring. Then, cut out from glazed paper (costing 8 cents a sheet) immense holly leaves, and paste them on the bag. If one of the family can dress as Santa, enter with the pack and leave it for the family — the enjoyment for children will be doubled.

Just another suggestion for holding the family’s presents. If you can get bark from a woodpile, make use of it in improvising a yule log. Fasten strips of bark upon a long pasteboard box, completely covering the sides. The ends are open. Gifts can be placed inside and drawn out from each end by means of ribbons. Mistletoe, holly or pine boughs add a seasonable touch to the log.

The method of giving the gift is just as important as the present itself. Why not do something different this year? Surely it is worthwhile!

Merry Christmas - antique postcard


For the Christmas giving: Suggestions from 1916

The Commoner (Lincoln, Neb.) December 01, 1916

We are told there is plenty of work for all, and the wages are reasonable; but all the necessities of life have risen so highly in cost that the pinch is felt even among the best paid. So, the Christmas giving must be carefully balanced.

One of the most welcome of the inexpensive gifts, and one which carries no touch of barter and exchange, is the picture postal card. They come at all prices, and many of the cheapest are beautiful, and will carry a tender message from friend to friend.

Of the plain postal cards, ready-stamped, twenty-five cents will carry twenty-five messages; a few kindly words, name and address, will be all that is necessary. Each card, of course, among the picture cards must be stamped with a one-cent stamp; but some of the least expensive are beautiful.

Simple Christmas giving (1916)

Many of these Christmas cards are humorous without being coarse, and will carry a laugh with them to the heart of your friend.

Common, suggestive pictures should be tabooed, even among men; and there are so many of the better class that one can hardly fail to be satisfied. The recipient will feel glad to return the compliment, with no sense of money obligation.

A good, cheery letter will carry untold comfort and good will, and create a heart-warmth second to none other. The children should remember the lonely old folks with the letter, no matter what else goes with it. Though parents should send letters to the far away young people, because inevitably they will have a touch of homesickness with the day.

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Antique Christmas cards from 1916

And now, while we are talking of “gifts,” I want to ask every one of you to send a postal card to me. I have been with you a long time, and many of you are warm, personal friends, though we have never met.

“Just a few words” from the old friends as well as the new, giving name and address, so I will know who to thank for the kindness. Many of our old time readers, who were with us when I took my place among you have gone home; but new ones have joined us.

Meantime, I wish each and every one of you a heartsome, wholesome Christmas and a prosperous New Year, with the hope that the “peace” we all pray for may soon still the troubled waters of the world.

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Vintage Christmas cards (1916)

Verse on a Christmas card from 1916

It’s hard to pass the tempting shops
So full of gifts to send
But friendship measures not good will
By what we have to spend

Here’s just a card of Christmas cheer
But with it goes to you
A heart that holds more friendliness
Each time the day is due

House and table decorations for the holidays (1910s)


Overdoing it: The problem of Christmas gift-giving (1914)

Where one has a full purse, the hardest part of the Christmas shopping is eliminated — that of stretching one dollar to cover the purchases of three.

But the majority of us are not surfeited with money, and much time is spent in planning to meet all demands — or what we fancy are demands, upon our friendship.

Many women are now giving only simple little gifts, such as cards, flowers, a box of candy, or an inexpensive book.

One does not like to receive without giving in return, and when a simple, inexpensive gift is received, it is often far more welcome than one which causes us to stop and count our small balance to see how much is left for a return gift.

So many dainty little things can be had at the Ten Cent stores, often for but two or three cents, that it seems one might satisfy every taste and make quite a few presents for a dollar. Beautiful boxes for the home-made candy, or vases for holding the few rosebuds — there are so many things.

Vintage Christmas postcard with Santa

And for the children, there seems no end to the attractive toys, while whole Christmas trees can be made a-glitter for a few cents with the offerings that used to call for dollars.

It is useless to give gifts to children that will last but an hour, if one has to pay a big price for it; but where the purchase cost but a few cents, one does not feel so resentful for the allowed destruction.

Useful things for the little tots are seldom appealing. It is the unusual, the attractive, the bright colors. Do not leave the shopping to the last minute, for the stores are always crowded in the last hours, and one has to wait to the point of exhaustion before getting what they want.

It is better to pick up a few things at a time, here and there, now and then — or better still, to have your Christmas box open all the year, dropping little things in the “slot,” as you come across them, and getting only the particular gifts for the individual tastes as the shopping season opens.

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