Christmas annuals


Senior Member
Hello! I am making inquiries about Christmas annuals. I found them in the following description: "Oh, it was such a beautiful room! There was a large bright sparkling fire, and a large bay window opposite, with a most lovely view out of it,(...) and Christmas annuals, and doll's books, and scent bottles, and all manner of pretty things" ("Memoirs of a London Doll" by Horne, 1846). What were Christmas annuals? Were they a sort of magazine? Thank you in advance.
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    A new form of literary work called the "Annual" was a fad from about 1823 through 1857, and became so popular, that they were soon published up to 17 times a year*. British royalty increased their popularity. They closely resemble many college literary "books" just produced for college campus today, except they contained lots of etchings of beautiful women from steel plates. They were the fashion magazines of the day. Later it became fashionable to watercolor the etchings, and the "Annuals" became early coloring books. There was later a backlash against "beauty", and the fad ended, as did steel plate etchings for books.
    One of the earliest annuals [in the UK] was issued in 1822. Frederic Shoberl was the founding editor of Ackermann's ‘'The Forget-me-not'’ which was an early Annual, a new type of publication in England.[7] Shoberl continued to edit the annual until 1834. A junior annual The juvenile Forget-me-not was published from 1828.

    * Incidentally, I'm rather doubtful about this Wiki'fact' ...
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Thank you for the question, negala. I think I shall read some of the stories in the annual I linked above. One piece, "The Miseries of Christmas", by the Irish writer Mrs. J.H.Riddell, is refreshingly cynical.
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