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Christmas on Titanic

With Titanic sadly sinking in April, Titanic never saw a Christmas onboard. However Olympic did have a few Christmas voyages in her career. So we can get a rough idea of what a Titanic Christmas voyage might have looked like.

What Titanic likely looked like on a Christmas Crossing. Artwork By


Its difficult to say exactly what decorations were used on Olympic and what was decorated as they are no known photographs of Olympic at Christmas. We can only assume decorations would have been minimal and of course Edwardian. This was to not alienate passengers with different traditions or religious beliefs.

Forget the abundance of garlands flowing down the first class staircase, and every door adorned with wreaths, this was simply not done at the time. Edwardian's did tastefully decorate their homes with holly, ivy, yew and mistletoe, as well as paper chains, ribbons, and candles.

Its not absurd to think ship-board decorations were the same.

Christmas trees were very popular at the time, and it would have likely been placed in either of the dining rooms or the first class reception room.

The tree would have been decorated with paper chains, homemade decorations and ribbons likely made by the children and electric lights were starting to become popular.

String popcorn, either bare or painted would have been hung from the ceiling as decoration, as well as different foliage of mistletoe and holly. Different foliage meant different things, like luck, wealth, and love. These would have been carefully placed in more appropriate locations.

With different families having different Christmas traditions, Titanic would have been expected to accommodate any passengers strange antics, and passengers to decorate their cabins however they wanted too.

An Edwardian Christmas Tree


Edwardian's had many different traditions depending on different beliefs and where they came from. As well as having family traditions, they were many Edwardian traditions that Titanic may have incorporated.

  • Christmas Crackers, these were a staple of an Edwardian Christmas and still is very popular today in a British Christmas. They are decorated rolled paper tubes with a toy, candy and a paper hat, wrapped up and pulled between two people to win the prizes inside. Modern day crackers have 'snap strip' that emphasises the sound.

  • Christmas cards, were part of the fun of preparing for Christmas, and passengers would have definitely wrote and sent them onboard.

  • Caroling, Its likely passengers would have sang carols around the ship and possibly gone door to door to sing their fellow passengers a Christmas carol. The band would have also played Christmas songs for people to enjoy.

  • Religious traditions, Mass, and religious pray, as well as Christingles, where candles were inserted in to oranges and paraded around as people sing.

  • Games, parlour games like musical chairs, find the thimble and Piggy Squeak where all very popular at the time to be played with everyone of all ages.

  • Luck, They are many luck traditions and superstitions that Titanic would have allowed passengers to practice. One popular one was to try throw the first opened champagne cork down the chimney from outside the house, I can imagine Titanic's funnel chimneys might have been much harder. Another was to find a coin in the Christmas pudding when its been served.


Edwardian's were all about food and Christmas was a feast. Olympic served a six course dinner for Christmas, with Ox tail soup, Roast beef, Roast gosling and plum pudding, mince pies and fruits.

Other food traditions were roasted nuts, dates, figs and chocolate. Boars head, sheep's tongue and chestnut pork. Cheeses, puddings, cakes, and sweets.

Christmas pudding, a fruit cake usually made in august then steamed and fed brandy until Christmas. On Christmas day, the pudding is steamed again and fed more brandy and is served flaming (yes the cake is on fire, usually emitting a beautiful blue flame)

Christmas menus from Olympic

Gift giving/receiving

Another tradition of gifts, especially for the children. Stockings were a relatively new trend, and passengers would hang stockings (socks) in their cabins to receive gifts from Father Christmas. Gifts of the time included, fruit, a toy or some coins. It was also said that naughty children received a lump of coal in their stockings.

White star line staff would have likely received gifts in the form or tips, or lucky trinkets. White star would have also likely given passengers a small gift on Christmas morning, either with breakfast or at dinner in the form of a candy sweet, or a small trinket.


December in the north Atlantic ocean can be bitterly cold and stormy. Christmas crossings might not be as comfortable as you'd think. Staff and crew would do everything they could to try and make passengers comfortable, but its likely a few passengers would be sea-sick in their cabins.

However, with the freezing cold weather, it would have been very cosy and warm inside the ship, and i image very nice to watch the weather from inside in the warmth.

Snow, would have likely fallen making the outside decks unusable to passengers. It is known however, for ships to host snowman building competitions and other snow games.

Artwork by

Written by Chris Walker of RMSTitanic.Design

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