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Christmas Cheese


Not a specific type of dairy product, but a substantial cheese purchased for the Festive Period. The ceremony of 'Cutting the Christmas Cheese', to be served with cake or biscuits to the assembled company, marking the start of the Christmas Celebrations is widely reported from the mid 18th Century into the early 20th as "a ceremony not to be lightly omitted."

For instance:' A Glossary of the Cleveland Dialect' (1865) by John Christopher Atkinson has;
"The cutting of the Christmas cheese is done by the master of the house on Christmas Eve and is a ceremony not to be lightly omitted. All comers to the house are invited to partake of the pepper cake and cheese the form of invitation seldom varying much, 'Noo ye mun taste our cheese'. Wine or spirits are usually offered too and the etiquette is to offer the good wishes of the season or the congratulations and kind words for the occasion as the cheese and its concomitants are taken."

'Studies in Nidderdale' (1882) by Joseph Lucas has;
"On Christmas Eve one Yule Cake is given to each member of the family, along with a piece of Christmas Cheese. As a rule, part of it is left for Christmas morning"

Western Times - Saturday 13 December 1856

And ... failing to invite neighbours round to share the Christmas Cheese could have nasty consequences..

Durham County Advertiser - Friday 05 December 1851

2015 - Chelsea Pensioners' annual Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses
Image: http://www.snowdoniacheese.co.uk/


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