Traditional Indoor And Outdoor Games - online book

An Illustrated Collection of 320+ Games & Entertainments For Kids of All Ages.

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We have Tennyson's warrant for certain games and amusements as belonging to Christmas. He says:
"Charades and riddles, as at Christmas here," and "What's My Thought?" and "How and When and Where." Charades are an evolution of the "Masques" —which were given in dumb show, no speaking being allowed. One of the forms of pantomime easiest to give impromptu is to represent the titles of books, in which two or three of the company in turn are the actors, and the rest form the audience and try to guess what books the former try to suggest.
The last one might be given by a young man on a step-ladder fastening a bit of mistletoe to the chandelier, a girl holding it firm as the man steps down, suggesting Darwin's "Descent of Man." The mistletoe being now in place, the young men may avail themselves of its traditional privileges.
Mistletoe is sacred because its berries grow in clusters of three—emblematic of the Trinity.
People used to hang bits around their necks as a safe­guard from witches, but Sandys says: "In modern times, it has a tendency to lead us toward witches—of a more attractive kind."
The maid that was not caught and kissed under the mistletoe at Christmas would not be married within the year—so the tradition goes. Brand says that the ceremony was not properly performed unless a berry was pulled off after each kiss and presented to the maiden. When all the berries were gone, the privilege ceased.
Riddles must not be forgotten as part of the Christmas entertainment. A riddle by Sir Thomas Wyatt (age of Henry VIII.) might be given when under the mistletoe:
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