Victorian Christmas Decorations | 1901 Christmas Decorating

(festive atmosphere music) – Hello, merry Christmas, happy holidays, all of that fantastic stuff. It is that glorious
time of year where I get to take an unreasonable amount of greenery and put it in my house,
claiming it as decor. Of course I am talking
about Christmas decorating. Seeing as I live in a
turn of the century house and am obsessed with most
things from that era, I was wondering if I
could find a reference from the turn of the
century that would tell me how to decorate for Christmas circa 1900. Spoiler, I did. So today we are going to go on a wonderful and very exciting adventure in which I decorate my front hall Victorian-ish. In all honesty, this did start out as a purely historical endeavor, but then quickly devolved
into me doing whatever I want. Which is fairly common. Since we are in the middle
of a massive renovation, I decided to combine my
decorations just to the front hall. But what a spectacular front hall it is! This staircase is the single thing that sold me on the entire house. I didn’t care about the
state of the rest of it, I didn’t care about how bad it was, and I didn’t care how
high our heating bills were going to be because I fell completely head over heels in love
with this staircase. The front hall also has a lot of doors. Five in total, but only
four that I will actually be decorating because they have this nice little ledge on top of the entablature. Knowing where I’m going to decorate, now I have to decide
what am I going to do. So I began searching for references in the same place I always
do which is I typed in Christmas
decorations, narrowed my search from between 1895 and
1910 and started reading. And to my utter amazement, I found gold. The book that I found is
called The Book of the Home: A Practical Guide to Household
Management Volume III. The copyright for this
particular volume is from 1901. Considering this book had
more than enough information to get me started for this
year, and I am completely lacking in anything resembling patience, I went ahead and just took this one book as my guide for my whole decoration. The greenery is the
easy part, but there are a few purchase supplies
that I need to go get. Without further ado, let’s get shopping. Okay, not shopping quite yet. They mention in The Book of the Home that holly is one of the best greens to use to decorate for Christmas. I don’t happen to have any holly bushes, but my mother does, so
on my way to the store I stopped by and grabbed a few branches. Up next I had to stop at the grocery store to get a few tasty treats. The book describes
Christmas trees as being decorated with small
muslin bags of treats. I discovered that peppermint candy was not invented until 1927, so I couldn’t use the
traditional candy canes. Instead I chose to fill my treat bag with marshmallows, peanuts, and licorice. Last but not least, the craft store to get some wire to hold
the greenery together. Thinking here we’re going to have to go for maximum footage, as
opposed to thickness. I feel like 175 feet is enough. Let’s see, I have four doorways. It’ll probably take 50 feet for the total. Yeah, this is fine, we’ll do this. Fun story, I bought
these ones for my house and I brought them home and I put them in my house and my house was like… You bring me fake cranberries? What am I, a heathen? So I promptly returned them and I never did that to him again. Now that we have our purchase supplies out of the way, it’s
time to get the greenery. In addition to the holly,
The Book of the Home also mentions fur, ivy,
and other evergreens can be used for the Christmas foliage. We don’t have any fur trees
and I’m vaguely concerned that all of our ivy is
of the poison variety, so instead I’m going with the other evergreen option in
the form of the literal forest of cedar trees at
the bottom of our field. Oh. It’s snowing. How delightful. Normally I would just walk down there to get what I needed
and then come back up. We’re going to take a slightly different method of transportation. (dramatic atmosphere music) (truck revving) (upbeat violin music) Did I park on an incline stupidly and so had to strap the
door open so I could get the appropriate filming angle to filling up the back of the jeep? Oh yeah. Yeah I did. (upbeat violin music) So here I am down in our cedar patch at the bottom of the fields here and this one is really interesting because all of these have a very yellowish-green color, but this one for some reason looks kinda bluish. So I’m going to grab some of him, and then some of these guys, and start loading up the back of the jeep. (upbeat violin music) With all of my branches
picked, it’s time to head back up to the house and
start making a garland. This is a big project
and I need a big space. Good thing I have a
table with drop leaves. (upbeat violin music) I’m starting with the swags over the doors because The Book of the Home says that evergreens can be
used for the purpose of bordering pictures and doorways. To do this, I’m just taking
some of the ceder branches that are the least fluffy and voluminous and knotting them together in
the middle with floral wire. Next I’m taking a few
pine branches that I cut from the tree in the backyard
and just attaching them to the end so that they’ll droop down below the sides of the door trim. These are a softer, gentler kind of needle than the ceder, so they hopefully will be a little less pokey on the ends. To give the swag something to anchor to, I’m putting tiny nails in
the top of the door trim. No one will ever see
these, they’ve very small, and I can fill them if I need to. For installing the swags, I just loop the metal wire around the
middle nail and the two end nails and fussed with
it until they stay put. Don’t be fooled though. This is one of the most rage-inducing house decorations I have every encountered because they pop off frequently. When I eventually got the
main body of the swag to stay, I then filled in some of the
greenery with a little bit of holly and a few leftover pine needles. Now onto the stair garland. I didn’t have any twine,
so instead I just wired each branch of the garland to the next one making sure the branches were connected securely before adding
an additional branch. It was time to attach the
garland to the staircase, and this is the point where I always get a little off the rails. On the bright side, the hall
right now smells fantastic. Because of all the fresh greens. But on the downside, this is the part of the creative process
where I start to get scared. Maybe this is going to not be as awesome as you thought about it in
your head, but we carry on. I slept on it for a night,
and then I came back and absolutely couldn’t
stand the horseshoe-like creation that was sitting on my staircase. So I undid what I did
yesterday and started just playing around with shapes until I found something that I liked. It turns out that the more that I straighten the garland,
the more I liked it, so I eventually gave in
and just made the entire garland straight down
the bottom of the stairs. The number one key to making any natural home decor look incredible is scale, so once I got the basic garland installed on the staircase, I started sticking all of the extra greenery that I had in it to make an
absolutely massive garland. Because I am just decorating the hall, I’m not actually going
to get a Christmas tree, but instead what I’m going to do is treat the garland on the staircase like a Christmas tree in terms of what sort of
embellishments I put in it. First I’m going to make
the muslin bags of treats. To do this, I’m just
tearing a piece of muslin into five and a half inch squares and then separating them into three piles according to my three
different kinds of treats. I purchased 50 yards of
quarter inch red ribbon on Amazon, I’ll link it
in the description below, but I’m just cutting
these into 12 inch strips that will be used to tie up the bags. Then I placed a small
amount of one of the treats inside the muslin square, wrapped it up, and twisted the top to keep it together and secured everything
with a pretty little bow. (“Deck the Halls” piano melody) I put them all in a
basket because something about Victorian treats
in a basket with a lid is just so perfectly,
deliciously Christmas. The Book of the Home suggests
that loose-braided chains of gilt or silver paper will light up the boughs of the Christmas tree. I purchased some silver
and gold tissue paper and cut it into one inch strips. Securing the beginning end
with a little bit of tape, I then gently braided all
three pieces together. When I ran out of length, I attached a piece of the opposite
color to the bottom of the Braid stand and
then continued braiding until I needed to add more pieces. I secured the final pieces
with a little bit of tape and I have a glorious gilt
and silver paper braid. Finally I cut a bunch of
12 inch strips of ribbon and tie them into small bows
to place on the garland. With all of my supplies
finished and gathered, it is time to start decorating the tree. I mean the garland. (“Deck the Halls” piano melody) And for the final touch, a wonderful follower on Instagram knows I’m afraid of real fire, so they
sent me these amazing LED candles that will be just perfect. (“Deck the Halls” piano melody) After all of that work and all of that fun, and all of those prickly cedar branches, here is the finished hall. (festive atmosphere music) Thank you so much for watching. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, please click the like button and subscribe for more videos like this and other of our renovation shenanigans that will be going on around
here in the near future. We have been renovating
for the past two years and we have made a lot of mistakes, so to make sure that you don’t make them, I have included a download to the top 10 renovation mistakes in
the description box below so you can make sure that
these crucial mistakes are not happening in your renovation. Stay tuned for more
videos, thank you so much for watching, and I’ll see you next time. Bye. (festive atmosphere music)


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