Remembering Christmases past at The Geffrye Museum

Last wegeffrye-christmas-treeek saw the opening of The Geffrye Museum’s annual Christmas Past display, which allows visitors to step back through the centuries and see how some of our favourite Christmas traditions began. The Museum’s period rooms are transformed with authentic decorations, lighting and music, and show how Christmas celebrations have changed over the last 400 years.

A Christmas trail quiz tests visitors’ knowledge of Christmas traditions. Did you know, for example, that until the late nineteenth century the main dish of Christmas dinner was beef, served on the same plate as plum pudding? Or that Christmas was banned by the Puritan-dominated Parliament between 1644 and 1660? Find out why we send cards, kiss under the mistletoe and hang stockings.

For me, the highlight of the exhibition is seeing the rooms from the decades of the twentieth century.
Nothing quite takes you back to the Christmases of your childhood like seeing the gaudy decorations that are now stashed away in your parents’ attic as they aren’t in keeping with this year’s colour scheme.

If the exhibition puts you in the mood to deck the geffrye-shophalls, the shop has a lovely range of tree ornaments, including a London-inspired range by Gisela Graham. There are also great gift ideas from gardening tools and luxury candles to retro telephones and neon globes. Until December 11th, there will also be a pop-up shop, Hidden Art, featuring work from up-and-coming designers, ideal for unique gifts.

Christmas Past: 400 Years of Seasonal Traditions in English Homes runs until January 8th 2017 and entry is free.

For information on other Christmas events at the Museum, including talks, workshops and festive late nights, see

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