Amy Aspin’s reply
The festive season (sober fact) written for “Judy : or The London serio-comic journal”, published on the 24th December 1884, is an article all about the seemingly worst parts of Christmas. The beginning of the article starts by saying “The festive season (sober fact) means purchasing a heavy-priced turkey on Christmas eve. Staying up late to fix up mistletoe and holly decorations. Rising late on Christmas morning; spanking the children for stealing mince pies; abusing the cook for getting tipsy before dinner; hacking at the overcharged-for under-done bird with a blunt knife at dinnertime- hacking verily amidst the cries of an unsympathetic wife, and still more unsympathetic children that, “pa’s in a rage”.” This article shows how many things about Christmas are painstaking and, especially for the father, an overall nuisance. I think that by gradually worsening the array of problems as the list does on, it does show the way in which these problems are more suited to a middle-class man more than anything else. This story does seem to be centred on a more modern (for the time period anyway) Christmas than a traditional, religious one. By talking of turkeys, mine-pies and ice-skating its clear that this is not a religiously focused Christmas article. The way that the author writes about these Christmas experiences can be seen as almost cynical, as though the author is disgusted by the whole notion of Christmas. The way they describe “an unsympathetic wife, and still more unsympathetic children”, shows the lack of compassion and a lack of caring for family which is especially shocking around this festive period which can be seen as centred around family. I believe this article was written with a sense of dark humour as it is a comic, so the cynical attitude is not to be taken too seriously, especially with the addition of the humorous illustrations. This dark humour may have been more popular among the middle-class men it seems to be reaching out to. The repetition of “the festive season (sober fact)” adds to the argument that this is merely an article in a comic showing some dark humour about this particular holiday. The author clearly had an intention with this article, which was to turn the seemingly bad parts of Christmas and portray them using slightly darker humour than is to be expected around this festive holiday.