Saturday, December 7

Author Rue Allyn Presents Christmas in 1870!

Hiya, WordWrangler Readers! We are so excited to welcome historical author Rue Allyn to the blog today! Rue is going to give us a peek into the past today (and give us a glimpse of her yummy heroes, too)! Take it away, Rue!

Christmas 1870

As I prepared for the holidays, I began to wonder what Christmas would be like for the characters of my Wildfire Love series. In general terms the Alden sisters grew up in the repressive household of one of Boston’s richest and most powerful fictional characters. Despite the rise of gift giving and other holiday traditions occurring in the late 19th century, Edith, Kiera and Mae would not have received much if anything from their miserly, hypocritical, misogynist grandfather. He would have lavished the few gifts he gave on politicos and business associates whose favor he sought. Until he passed away in 1870, the girls experienced the joy of the season with the household servants, at religious services, and in charitable endeavors. Freed from their grandfather’s guardianship and as his heirs, these young women would probably carry on their charity having learned from experience the pleasure in giving to others. Having found their HEAs they would also have begun to celebrate with decorations, meals and the exchange of gifts in their own homes.

So what specific traditions would Edith, Kiera and Mae include in their new lives as wealthy wives and mothers?  In researching the topic I found this fascinating article at I quote the first two paragraphs (since the author says it as well or better than I could).

“At the beginning of the nineteenth century American Christmas celebrations varied considerably from region to region. These variations reflected religious and ethnic differences in the population. In PURITAN New England, for example, many people ignored the holiday (see Christmas in Colonial America). In Pennsylvania German-American communities reproduced a number of German Christmas traditions. Prosperous Southerners, especially those of Anglican English or French descent, hosted lavish Christmas meals and parties. All across the country many of those who celebrated Christmas in nineteenth-century America did so with noisy, public, and some-times drunken, reveling. By contrast, non-observers tried to ignore the noise and the festivities. They treated the day as any other workday, since it was not a legal holiday in most of the century.

“During the second half of the nineteenth century, however, more and more people began celebrating Christmas. Regional and religious differences faded as new American Christmas customs emerged. These customs helped to transform the American Christmas into the tranquil, domestic festival we know today. As the century rolled on, larger numbers of people incorporated customs and myths surrounding the Christmas tree, Santa Claus, and family gift exchanges into their Christmas celebrations. The Civil War (1861-65) served as a watershed in American Christmas observances, after which time the commercial trappings of the holiday—especially Christmas cards, store-bought gifts,store window displays, and wrapping paper — took on greater importance.

The books in the Wildfire Love series are One Moment’s Pleasure (Edith), One Night’s Desire (Kiera), and One Day’s Loving (Mae). You can get more information about each book by clicking on each title or you may purchase directly from Amazon.

Check out my website for links to other holiday tour posts. All who comment will be entered into a drawing for a free download of the entire Wildfire Love series. Enter as many times as you like.

About Rue Allyn: Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures.  Learn more about Rue at


  1. Interesting information. Welcome to the corral!

  2. Thanks for visiting Liz. My research did not lead me to any personal accounts (although I'm sure some exist). However, I found the increase of gift giving after the Civil War to be a compelling enough nugget for this blog.