VISITORS to Fairfax House in York are being invited to enjoy Christmas in Georgian style.

The Georgians didn’t celebrate with Christmas trees or turkey - both were introduced later by the Victorians - but it was a time when Georgian houses came into their own.

The 18th-century house has been festooned for the festive season with symbolic greenery and decorative sweet-smelling garlands of evergreens, fruits and spices.

House director Hannah Phillip said: “The Georgian Christmas season was a much more wholesome affair than the sentimental Victorian Christmas that followed.

"While the Christmas tree was introduced much later, the Georgian’s loved the natural world and the symbolic use of laurel, bay, holly and mistletoe in garlands around the mantelpieces and bannisters has been customary since the medieval period.

“A traditional kissing bough was often hung from the ceiling, comprising a ball of twigs and greenery, decorated with seasonal fruit, such as apple and finished with mistletoe.

"It was thought to bring good luck and fertility and to offer protection from witchcraft. As the tree became the focal point of English Christmas decorations, the kissing bough declined in popularity."

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