Victorian Christmas Traditions|English Heritage

Turkey or Festive Bird for Dinner

Like many of us, Victoria and Albert delighted in turkey at Christmas time. They would sit together as a household for their primary meal and take pleasure in turkey with all the trimmings.

As you would anticipate, the royal household were fortunate to share in numerous courses. These would include mince pies plus various starters, soups, the turkey and chipolatas. Later on they might indulge in a plum pudding to please the royal sweet tooth.The food overall was very abundant and could also consist of beef or perhaps boar’s head, along with a choice of cold meats.

Naturally finances influenced what households put on their Christmas tables, and the majority of individuals in Victorian England were not wealthy. Where possible a joyful bird stayed main to a family supper and for many this would have suggested a goose, like Charles Dickens illustrates in A Christmas Carol. Some even joined a goose club so they might pay in instalments throughout the year.

Today most Christmas meals are centred around a main joint of turkey, and the modern-day feast is perhaps not too dissimilar to the Victorian Christmas.

Image © Granger Historical Picture Archive and Alamy Images

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