Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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We Wish You a Merry Christmas!



Time-honoured Christmas is with us again. Houses are decked with holly and mistletoe; fires are burning brightly; merry groups are meeting; and the “waits”* with merry and welcome voice proclaim the festival.

poulterers ILN Christmas 1845

There have been indications for some days that Christmas was coming. The pyramids of fruit at the grocers; the prime meat decked with holly at the butchers; the fruiterer’s shop, a winter garden, gleaming in Christmas foliage; the turkeys and geese at the poulterers; and the grand display of books at the publishers, – all have reminded us that Christmas was coming.

At this festive season the loved members of the family circle gather round the domestic hearth, and men of business find relaxation and enjoyment they are unable to obtain except at this season.

May the cares of every day life be forgotten, and all around from the Queen on the throne to the humblest of her subjects, spend “a happy Christmas”.

Source: Isle of Wight Observer 26 December 1868


* The custom of carolling through the streets originated in England when wealthy businessmen hired street singers to accompany their strolls. These singers became known as “waits,” because the group would perform and then wait around for any sweet rewards, much as Carol Singers do today.