Programming note: On Christmas Eve The Mark Steyn Show returns to GB News across the UK. You can watch from anywhere around the planet right here. The show starts at 7pm GMT - that's 2pm North American Eastern. Afterwards Mark will be back here with some Christmas words and music.
Welcome to our final Christmas contribution from Washington Irving, one of the first American writers to find an audience in Europe. Having taken us by stage coach to a merrie olde English Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Mr Irving concludes the proceedings with an account of Christmas dinner:
When the cloth was removed, the butler brought in a huge silver vessel of rare and curious workmanship, which he placed before the Squire. Its appearance was hailed with acclamation; being the Wassail Bowl, so renowned in Christmas festivity. The contents had been prepared by the Squire himself; for it was a beverage in the skilful mixture of which he particularly prided himself; alleging that it was too abstruse and complex for the comprehension of an ordinary servant. It was a potation, indeed, that might well make the heart of a toper leap within him; being composed of the richest and raciest wines, highly spiced and sweetened, with roasted apples bobbing about the surface.
The old gentleman's whole countenance beamed with a serene look of indwelling delight, as he stirred this mighty bowl. Having raised it to his lips, with a hearty wish of a merry Christmas to all present, he sent it brimming round the board, for every one to follow his example, according to the primitive style; pronouncing it "the ancient fountain of good feeling, where all hearts met together."
Hmm. Has Fauci issued an edict on communal wassail bowls yet?
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read this concluding vignette from Christmas with Washington Irving simply by clicking here and logging-in. Our earlier episodes can be found here - and a cavalcade of Christmas capers by everyone from Dickens to Steyn is awaiting you here. Oh, and don't forget this year's Christmas poem.