However by the end of the century it had become the biggest annual celebration and took on the form that we recognise today.
The transformation happened quickly, and came from all sectors of society.
In 1843 Henry Cole commissioned an artist to design a card for Christmas.
The illustration showed a group of people around a dinner table and a Christmas message.
published a drawing of the royal family celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree, a tradition that was reminiscent of Prince Albert's childhood in Germany.
Soon every home in Britain had a tree bedecked with candles, sweets, fruit, homemade decorations and small gifts.
The roast turkey also has its beginnings in Victorian Britain.
The commercialisation of Christmas was well on its way.The sweets were replaced by small gifts and paper hats in the late Victorian period, and remain in this form as an essential part of a modern Christmas.Decorating the home at Christmas also became a more elaborate affair.The turkey was added to this by the more wealthy sections of the community in the 19th century, but its perfect size for a middle class family gathering meant it became the dominant dish by the beginning of the 20th century.While carols were not new to the Victorians, it was a tradition that they actively revived and popularised.