Category Archives: Christmas

Children Christmas Entertainment Games

To Vanish A Glasse of Beere

To celebrate Christmas, here are some entertaining party tricks from a children’s magic book published in 1634. Try these at home during the festive season, to the admiration of all.


[The credentials needed for a junior magician] First, he must be one of an impudent and audatious spirit, so that hee may set a good face upon the matter. Secondly, he must have a nimble and cleanly conveyance [that is, a good sleight of hand]. Thirdly, hee must have strange termes, and emphaticall words, to grace and adorne his actions, and the more to astonish the beholders. Fourthly, and lastly, such gestures of body as may leade away the spectators eyes from a strict and diligent beholding his manner of conveyance.

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Christmas Custom Entertainment Food Household

We Were All Merry

These fragments come from the water poet John Taylor, and offer a glimpse into typical Christmas Day celebrations in 17th century England.  I’ve also included a carol, published in 1688, which provides further insight into festive food and the all-importance of Ale.  I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to visit Fragments in the last twelve months, and to wish you all a very merry Christmas!

I was presented with a cup of browne Ale, seasoned with Sinamon, Nutmegs, and Sugar.  When dinner was ready, I was set at the upper end of the Table, my owne company set round about me, and the rest ate with the servants.  We had Brawne of their owne feeding, Beefe of their owne killing; we had brave plum broth in bowle-dishes of a quart.  The White-loafe ranne up and downe the Table, like a Bowle in an Alley, every man might have a fling at him.  The March Beere marched up and downe, and we were all merry without the helpe of any Musicians.  We had good cheere, and good welcome which was worth all, for the Good-man of the house did not looke with a sour or stoicall brow, but was full of mirth and alacrity, so that it made the house merry.

Dinner being done, Grace being said, the Cloth taken away, the poore refreshed, we went to the fire, before which lay a store of Apples piping hot, expecting a bowl of Ale to coole themselves in.  Evening Prayer drew nigh, so we all repaired to Church, so went I home againe and passed the time away in discourse while supper, which being ended, we went to Cards. Some sung Carrols, merry songs, some againe to waste the long nights, would tell Winter-tales.  At last came in a company of Maids with Wassell, Wassell, jolly Wassell. I tasted of their Cakes, and supped of their Bowl, and for my sake, the White-loafe and Cheese were set before them, with Mince-Pies, and other meats.  These being gone, the jolly youths and plaine dealing Plow-swaines, being weary of Cards, fell to dancing; from dancing to shew me some Gambols.  Some ventured the breaking of their shinnes to make me sport, some the scalding of their lippes to catch at Apples tied at the end of a sticke, having a lighted candle at the other; some shod the wilde Mare; some at hotcockles, and the like. These Country revels expiring with the night, early in the morning we all tooke our leave of them, being loth to be too troublesome; and rendering them unfained thanks for our good cheere (who still desired that we would stay with them a little longer) we instantly travelled towards the City.

Being entered into it, we saw very few look with a smiling countenance on us, but a few Prentices or Journeymen that were tricked up in their Holiday cloathes. At last the Bells began to ring, every house-holder began to bestirre himselfe, the Maid-servants we saw hurrying to the Cookes shops with Pies, and before we were aware, whole Parishes of people came to invite us to dinner.

 Father Christmas, 1653

(For those who may wonder, nappy, in the context of this carol, means having a foaming head!)

A Carrol for Christmas-day at Night
To the Tune of My Life, and my Death

My Master your Servants
and Neighbours this Night,
are come to be merry,
with love and delight.
Now therefore be Noble,
and let it appear,
that Christmas is still
the best time of the Year.
To sit by the fire,
rehearse an old tale,
and taste of a bumper
of nappy old Ale.

It flows from the Barley,
that fruit of the Earth,
which quickens the fancy,
for pastime and mirth.
And therefore be jolly,
now each bonny Lad,
for we have no reason
at all to be sad.
Remember the season,
and then you’ll ne’er fail,
to bring in a bumper
of nappy brown Ale.

Now some of your dainties
let us freely taste,
my Stomach is ready,
I am now in haste.
And therefore sweet Mistris
I hope you’ll be brief,
to bring out the Sirloin
or Ribs of Roast Beef.
With other choice dainties
I hope you’ll not fail
at this happy season
with nappy brown Ale.

And now let me tell you
what dainties I prize,
I long to be doing
with curious minced-pies,
where plums in abundance
lie crowding for room.
If I come but near it
I’ll tell you its doom,
I’d soon part the quarrel
but hold, let’s not fail
to think of a bumper
of nappy old Ale.

The Pig, Goose and Capon
I’d like to forgot
but yet I do hope they’ll
come all to my lot.
We’ll lay a close siege
to the walls of the Goose,
and storm her strong castle,
there is no excuse
shall hinder our fury,
therefore let’s not fail
to have a full bumper
of nappy old Ale.

All those that are willing
to honour this day,
I hope that they never
will fall to decay;
but always be able
their Neighbours to give,
and keep a good Table
as long as they live.
That love, peace and plenty
with them may ne’er fail
and we may ne’er miss
of good nappy Ale.

Nativity Scene
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