How to have a traditional Christmas with a modern twist

Many of the things that make Christmas began in the Victorian period. Here we cut through the tinsel and dish the glitz on how to bring traditional trappings bang up to date in a modern home.

You might be surprised to learn that Christmas, as we know it, didn’t exist until the Victorian era. That’s right – no cards, no tree, no crackers, no gifts…Thankfully all that changed with the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the introduction of workers’ rights to holidays and Prince Albert’s fondness for a Tannenbaum – that’s a Christmas tree, to you and me!).

So how do we take the well-loved elements of a traditional Christmas and turn them into something you’d be proud to show off in a modern home? Here are some fun festive hacks that will wow your friends and family…

Christmas cards

The history

The first Christmas card was sold by Sir Henry Cole in his London art shop in 1843.

Modern day twist

Forget cramming cards on every available surface. Instead create a contemporary display by upcycling old picture frames with a lick of paint, some string and some mini pegs.

Christmas tree

The history

Prince Albert brought a Christmas tree to Windsor Castle in the 1840s, sparking our love affair with all things fir-ry!

Modern day twist

Take a break from green and go for an ultra-modern DIY ombre tree in a monochrome palette.

Christmas presents

The history

The industrial revolution meant kids’ toys could be mass produced, making them more affordable. The Christmas stocking of presents became popular around 1870.

Modern day twist

Never write a gift tag again – wrap your presents in plain brown paper and stick on a fab photo of the recipient for the ultimate personalised pressie.

Christmas crackers

The history

Tom Smith, a London confectioner, was the first to wrap sweets in twists of paper in 1848. Mottos, trinkets, hats and snaps were added later in the period.

Modern day twist

A cracker that’s also a dinner napkin? Ok, so there’s no big bang but it will make your Christmas table look oh-so-smart!