View Full Version : Married on Christmas Day

31-10-09, 09:43
I don't know if it is just that Dec 25th is a particularly memorable date, but I seem to keep coming across marriages for that day - especially for my London ancestors.
Has anyone else noticed this?
Was it cheaper perhaps?
Presumably it was one of the few holidays that people could get, but I would have thought that the vicar would have been rather busy on that day.

Jill on the A272
31-10-09, 10:26
I havent any marriages but I've got a birth cert from 1847 where my ggg grandfather (a grocer) registered his youngest child's birth on Christmas Day. Just try doing that now:Big Grin:

31-10-09, 10:26
I think it was due mainly due to the fact that Christmas Day and Boxing Day were two days when people officially didn't have to work. In the 1800s it wasn't like today when people could get paid vacation for marriage or even an approved day off. Most people worked six days a week and didn't get paid when they didn't work which most could ill afford. There were few if any job benefits iin those days. It's only with the rise of the labour unions in the twentieth century that working conditions started to improve.

31-10-09, 10:32
Christmas Day was one of the very few days that people had as a day off, particularly amongst the agricultural workforce, which made up about 80% of the population back in the 1800's, hence the popularity of marriages on that day. The population of the UK was nowhere near what it is today, less than 18 million, and there were many more churches and people expected to go to church on that day. The vicar/priest would know that he would have at least one marriage on his books for that day. Marriages back then were uncomplicated. Just 3 readings of the banns on 3 consecutive Sundays, best clothes worn as they would be in any case for any Sunday, dancing and making merry in the local barn and that was it. Holidays as we know them did not enter the calendar until the 20 century.

I have some Christmas Day marriages.


Olde Crone Holden
31-10-09, 10:53
Many churches did free marriages and baptisms on Christmas Day (and Easter).


31-10-09, 11:32
I have about 5 marriages that took place on Christmas day might be more I don't know about of course.

The last one I know of was my aunt in 1937.

31-10-09, 11:44
I have several too. Some of them are in Australia during the late 1800's.

31-10-09, 11:45
My parents in law were married on Christmas Day 1948 at St Margarets in Barking Essex - I thought it was just them being a bit different till the records came on line via the ERO - there were from memory 13 others that day - and 6 on Boxing Day - doesn't happen today does it????

31-10-09, 11:54
That's interesting - than you for all the information. Incidentally, I was born on Christmas Day, once lived in a Christmas Cottage and was married in a St Nicholas's Church. Always felt that there may be a bit of a theme going there!!

31-10-09, 20:20
Christmas Day was not a holiday in Scotland until about the 1950s or 60s. In my younger day I had to use a day's annual leave to give me the day off.

However, we did get three days off at New Year. A question of priorities!


PS I know - we are a pagan lot! lol

Olde Crone Holden
31-10-09, 21:08
It wasn't necessarily a day off for servants and ag labs, either! Although time would always be allowed for them to go to church. Boxing Day was the servants' holiday.


Little Nell
31-10-09, 21:56
I have so many marriages on Christmas Day that if I find a marriage registered Dec q of any year I am almost certain its a Christmas Day one!

Apart from attending a Christmas service at church and maybe a special dinner, there wasn't a bit fuss about Christmas like there is now. Christmas Trees and decorations were encouraged by Prince Albert, sending Christmas cards was a Victorian idea etc.

So our ancestors would just have regarded Christmas day as a suitable time when people would be able to attend.

I've also read - but no idea how accurate it is - that some clergymen would perform marriages without taking a fee on Christmas Day.

Olde Crone Holden
31-10-09, 22:28
Yes, a number of Cathedrals performed marriages on Christmas Day without charging a fee and some of the Parish churches did so, too.


01-11-09, 00:43
I have quite a few marriages on Christmas day in my tree also. Mostly in London/Middlesex area.

01-11-09, 01:05
I've come across this quite a lot, I always thought they hated going to church and thought well we have to go Christmas day for sure so while we're there we might as well get married and have the kids baptised as well, then we've got the rest of the year free to have loads more kids to add to the 12 we already have.