Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Old Christmas” as Want to Read:
Old Christmas
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Old Christmas

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  760 ratings  ·  139 reviews

Old Christmas is a tale of the quaint and old English traditions of celebrating Christmas. Irving travels to the English countryside and meets an old schoolmate, who invites him home to spend Christmas at the family estate.
Kindle Edition
Published May 12th 2020 (first published 1820)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Old Christmas, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Old Christmas

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  760 ratings  ·  139 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Old Christmas
Sandy
Christmas in England! The stuff of my dreams. This collection of five Christmas essays, both entertaining and informative, paints a lovely picture of the festive season in the early 1800s. The stories left me wondering, however, how an American author had acquired such an intimate knowledge of the seasonal traditions of 19th-century England. As usual, Wikipedia yielded some details.

Washington Irving had moved from New York City to England in 1815 to try to salvage his family's trading business f
...more
Julie
7/10

I needed a pre-Christmas injection of Hallmark Sentimentality, without having to suffer through a Hallmark movie, and this fit the bill nicely, she said, only half in jest.

Nicely done, Mr. Irving.



Gary
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a delightful quick read. I was able to finish it in little over an hour,and while eating breakfast. I love the language Irving uses....this basically talks about early Christmas celebrating in America,and some English traditions brought here.

Did you know they ate Peacock? It's interesting how it was prepared. I would recommend you read this with a piping hot drink to warm the cockles,and enjoy this short but fun little read. Definitely worth the time to read on Christmas Eve or Day....t
...more
Paul Haspel
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
The old Christmas traditions of merrie England clearly held a strong attraction for Washington Irving. In his Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1819-20), he included, along with much better-known works like “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” five sketches setting forth his favorable impressions of a traditional English Christmas celebration that he had the good fortune to witness while traveling in Yorkshire one December.

The Sketch Book vaulted Irving to instant literary f
...more
Gizem-in-Wonderland
What a grand depiction of a victorian Christmas!



Irving is quite grandiloquent and has a unique way with words. The pages are filled with vivid descriptions of English pasture, wintry landscapes, luscious dinner tables and fire crackling at the hearth. He has some specific notion of Christmas, I really enjoyed reading it. The countryside abundance manifests itself in Irving’s generous style and grandiose selection of words.
One thing though, I made a mistake of listening to the audiobook version
...more
Great Book Study
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
A sweet, joyous, and delightful rendezvous with Christmas past. We could all use a bit of that, I think.

Review here: https://www.greatbookstudy.com/2020/1...
...more
Cynthia
Dec 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a quaint old book this is! Washington Irving is best known for spooky stories set in the early part of 18th century America but here he looks back to the England that he traveled to in his younger days. There's a grand old country family with it's patriarch who entertains his extended family and even part of the village he heads. Irving describes these pre-Victorian (where lots of our modern traditions hail from) traditions as simple but still very enjoyable. As will most likely always be t ...more
Matt
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Old Christmas by Washington Irving conveys a simple message of the joy of the Christmas season and its traditions. This is a nice and uplifting story and I’m glad I stumbled across this audiobook on LibriVox.
Trish
A charming little book filled with ancient Christmas traditions. Irving's power of description does a great job of taking you back to older times. ...more
Miles Smith
A charming memoir on Irving's time in Britain. The chapter that includes his reflections on the Christmas prayer service is especially good. ...more
Moonkiszt
In my pile of Christmas reading, I found this old, old story. Dust and musty air caught between the pages and freed itself in my 2019 room. . . .

Poor old Washington Irving sounded just like my old grandpa years ago, about how nobody celebrated Christmas like they'd done in his youth. Then W Irving describes every kind of "christmas" thing that is not on my list - peacock pie? A harpier in the corner? a game called snap-dragon? It was the description of a world of a world of a world away from min
...more
Sylvester
Very short. By a man who loves Christmas and is full of positive feeling about it, except of course that the young people are ruining it, and no, it should be done the old way, and look! isn't the old way lovely?

And it is lovely.

There are all kinds of Christmases, all kinds of ways to celebrate it - this book only proves that.
...more
Kirsty
Old Christmas is rather a charming essay, made up of Washington Irving's reflections on Christmas traditions. I found some sections far more interesting than others, but very much admired his writing style throughout, and loved learning about forgotten festive customs. A must-read for Christmas. ...more
Christine Norvell
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Touted as the author who singlehandedly revived American Christmas traditions, Irving depicts light narrations of rural British celebration. Bountiful adjectives, food, music, more adjectives, and blazing firesides. I read it as a comparison to Dickens' Christmas celebration in his Pickwick Papers. ...more
Elisabeth
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
A delightful, nostalgic reminiscence about old English Christmas celebrations and customs. Perfect for getting in the holiday spirit.
Al
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-history
This is a collection of five essays by Irving that describe Christmas in England. The first essay is an overview and description of Christmas, both as to meaning and ways of celebrating it. The next four essays, “The Stagecoach”, “Christmas Eve”, “Christmas Day”, and “Christmas Dinner” describe a method of observing Christmas that is virtually non-existent today. As I read this (slowly!!), I thought of the movie version of “The Christmas Carol”, the one with Alastair Sim as Scrooge. This was so ...more
Dianne
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, christmas
Full of charm - and wonderful sketches - this little book is a collection of observances about Christmas in England many years ago. It begins with the authour rambling a bit about Christmas and how it has changed, then he meets up with a friend, and having no other plans, agrees to join him and his family for Christmas.

The family live in a large manor house where the Christmas gathering includes people of all ages. The Christmas Eve celebrations are described - from the children's games to the g
...more
Shawn Thrasher
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up for several reasons. I read an article here -- http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/d... that detailed how Old Christmas was the father of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. I read another essay that while Washington Irving didn't invent Christmas, he certainly "dressed it up." And finally, it was Christmas weekend and I wanted something new but delightfully old fashioned to read. This certainly fit the bill. If you read Dickens every holiday season, consider adding Washington ...more
Judy
Not engaging but it is descriptive, painting a detailed picture of how Christmas was celebrated years ago (c1700s? 1800s? maybe some of both?). I can see how the preparations gave people something to anticipate in the days before electricity, faster transportation, and instant communication. Just think how long those dark nights must have felt, how seldom many country-dwellers would have talked with friends, and how much time they may have had on their hands without as much outdoor work to do. T ...more
Paul
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of Washinton Irving's most often read books. Set at Bracebridge Hall in the north of England in the early 1800s it describes his "experiences" during the families Yuletide celebrations, & is a delightful picture of an "Old Christmas" complete with Youle logs, holly wreaths & greens, holiday parlour games, music & merriment. My wife & I read this classic every year at Christmas as part of our Yuletide celebration & Christmas wouldn't seem complete without it. A perfect delight. ...more
Han
Dec 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating, Dickensian depiction of Christmas traditions in the 19th-century English countryside. Made me nostalgic for a time when Instagramming gifts wasn't a prevalent part of Christmas. Be sure to read an edition containing Caldecott's wonderful illustrations (can be found here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20656/...). ...more
Ian
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It has become a Christmas tradition of mine to read Washington Irving's Old Christmas, an excerpt from his Sketchbook, with wonderful illustrations by Caldecott originally published in 1875. The caricatures and sketches of old English Christmas traditions always puts me in a festive and contemplative mood for the season and can be easily read over the course of an evening or so. ...more
Jeanne
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the old language, beautiful descriptions, and the reasons why traditions are so important. Old Christmas is about the medieval and Renaissance traditions of old England, as upheld by an old country squire. Lovely and quaint!
Bella Martinez
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very quaint. The diction was a delight, as was Irving's poignant yearning for the Christmas celebrations of yesteryear. ...more
 Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ Jenn Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ Schu
An interesting look at earlier Christmas celebrations written in Irving's notable descriptive writing style. ...more
Paul Haspel
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
The old Christmas traditions of merrie England clearly held a strong attraction for Washington Irving. In his Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1819-20), he included, along with much better-known works like “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” five sketches setting forth his favorable impressions of a traditional English Christmas celebration that he had the good fortune to witness while traveling in Yorkshire one December. The Sketch Book vaulted Irving to instant literary f ...more
Rugg Ruggedo
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Washington Irving wrote Sketch Book from 1819-1820. Originally appearing as a series of seven paperbacks (large pamphlets). In number 5 there were five stories that centered on The Feast of the Nativity. Irving's fascination with old English customs and and tales drew him to the fun side of Christmas that England and the world was getting away from. Drawing on his knowledge of the poetry and fantasy, as well as the history and traditions, he had read about and become infatuated with, he created ...more
Batgrl (Book Data Kept Elsewhere)
If you're going to read this one, definitely use the Gutenberg version with images. There are a lot of images and many are interesting and detailed. On the whole this is interesting for an American's view of old English Christmas customs in a particularly unusual British house. But it's a bit dull in spots, which is all the more reason to have those illustrations.

First, look out for which version you have. I read the Kindle version which had taken out all the quoted poetry and songs. So there wo
...more
Pedro F. Rocha
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
E assim se completa o meu ano de leituras. Com um fantástico livro sobre as tradições do Natal inglês. Um livro que comprei por 1 singelo euro numa loja de antiguidades em Coimbra. O seu anterior dono tinha-o, pelo menos, em 1981, e pelo meio do livro deixou-me dois trevos de 4 folhas. Que tenha mais sorte que ele e que o agora meu livro não vá parar às mãos de outro.

Não podia ter terminado de forma melhor:
"But enough of Christmas and its gambols ; it is time for me to pause in this garrulity. M
...more
Henry
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christopher Darconte
“Why write these stories? If, however, I can by any lucky chance, in these days of evil, rub out one wrinkle from the brow of care, or beguile the heavy heart of one momentof sorrow; if I can now and then penetrate through the gathering film of misanthropy, prompt a benevolent view of human nature, and make my reader more in good humour with his fellow beings and himself, surely, surely, I shall not then have written entirely in vain.”

Mr. Irving. Thank you for writing such wonderful stories. Yo
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Remarks about Old Christmas et al 1 7 Jan 05, 2009 11:17AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Christmas Angel
  • The Birds' Christmas Carol
  • A Christmas Tree
  • The First Christmas Tree
  • The Cricket on the Hearth
  • The Chimes
  • The Haunted Man
  • The Greatest Gift: A Christmas Tale
  • What Christmas Is As We Grow Older
  • Matchless
  • A Child's Christmas in Wales
  • Christmas & Christmas Lore
  • Jotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent
  • Winterlust: Finding Beauty in the Fiercest Season
  • Little City of Hope
  • An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
  • Inspector Proby's Christmas
  • The Autobiography of Santa Claus (The Christmas Chronicles #1)
See similar books…
719 followers
Washington Irving was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. He began his literary career at the age of nineteen by writing newspaper articles under the pseudonym Jonathan Oldstyle.

In 1809, he published The History of New York under his most popular public persona, Diedrich Knickerbocker.

Irving is best known for his short stories The Legend of Sleepy Ho
...more

News & Interviews

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” So, this January, as we celebrate Martin Luther King...
43 likes · 16 comments
“Surely happiness is reflective, like the light of heaven; and every countenance, bright with smiles, and glowing with innocent enjoyment, is a mirror transmitting to others the rays of a supreme and ever-shining benevolence.” 36 likes
“It was the policy of the good old gentleman to make his children feel that home was the happiest place in the world; and I value this delicious home-feeling as one of the choicest gifts a parent can bestow.” 3 likes
More quotes…