Good Wishes for the Holiday Season
And a Healthy and Happy New Year
Christmas-Eve is celebrated in almost every family by a supper, the chief dish of which is frumenty, made of steeped wheat, boiled with milk and seasoned with sugar and spice; after which comes apple-pie, and lastly cheese and gingerbread. The gingerbread cake, in each family that can afford it, weighs from four to eight pounds; and it is reckoned very unlucky to cut this or the cheese before the time. At the commencement of the, supper, the yule clog, a short block of wood, is laid on the fire, and the yule candle, a tall mould candle, is lighted and set on the table; the candles are often presented by the chandlers to their customers. It is reckoned unlucky to light these before the time, or to stir from the table during the supper; nor must the candle be snuffed. A game of cards is the usual desert, and it is unlucky to have an odd number at table. Sometimes a piece of the yule log is saved and put beneath the bed, to remain till next Christmas, then to be burnt with the new log. This is supposed, during the interval,to secure the house from fire. A piece of the candle is also kept to ensure good luck.
On Christmas morning before break of day all is in an uproar; numbers of boys sally forth, roaring out before every door "I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year," vociferated over and over again till the family are awakened, and admit the clamourous visiter, who if he be first, is taken into the house and liberally treated with money, cheese, and gingerbread. No person (boys excepted) are permitted to go out of doors, till the threshold has been consecrated by the entrance of a male. Females have no part in this matter; and should a damsel lovely as an angel enter first, her fair form would be viewed with horror, as the harbinger of death.