Christmas around the Globe

Christmas in England. #ChristmasAroundtheGlobe

2.12.14

Today I begin my 'Christmas around the Globe' series, and I'm starting off with +Holly Hollyson  from Full of Beans and Sausages.  She ​​will be kicking off this series and I hope you enjoy reading about her traditional English Christmas--make sure to follow her on her social media (at the bottom of the post).

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I am so excited to have been asked by Diane to guest post on her blog for her series ‘Christmas Around the Globe’. It is our Christmas traditions that really make this season festive and I can't wait to hear all about the different ways in which people celebrate Christmas – maybe I will be able to pick up on a few new traditions! Here are my components for a successful British Christmas:

The Christmas advert
Christmas for me in England always really starts on December 1st. People in England don’t go as wild for early decorations in the UK as they do here in Canada, although, like everywhere else in the World, festivities do seem to get bigger every year and begin earlier. For most people though, Christmas seems to begin with the first glimpse of the coca cola Christmas advert (although in recent years the John Lewis adverts definitely count too). I have to confess that these adverts can make me so sad though, because I am so so far away from home this year.
Yikes, now I have a few sentimental tears running down my face!

The Nativity
In some countries, religious carols and nativities are banned in schools. I do, truly, understand why this is, but for me it is a shame. When I was a teacher, and a child, I relished the little quavery notes of 5 year olds singing ‘Away in the Manger’, of the children wearing tea towels on their heads to denote they were shepherds. The contemporary characters like trolls, or penguins, just cuz we are British and quirky. I love the Nativity Story and always shall.

Visits from Santa Clause!
Every year, usually in the shopping centres and garden centres, Santa Clause visits the children to ask them what they want. He is a bit like a celebrity nowadays, he even tours the villages to wave at the villagers! One year I was lucky enough to live right in a village centre and I was able to open up my window and see the procession of Santa and his reindeer below.
















The Christmas Eve Party
Every year on Christmas Eve, my parents have all the family over and we have a ‘fuddle’ of cheese, crackers, celery and dip, mince pies, pork pies, scotch eggs, salad, bread rolls and other plain fare such as this. My Mum always makes her family-famous trifle and we all sit around drinking wine and laughing. In recent years, the addition of the two nephews have added an extra excitement to the proceedings as they have little presents and they drag us all over the house to play with them. When all the family have taken their children home though, it is time to hit the pub for a few pints.




The Designer Christmas Tree
People in the UK do go through fads: one year monochrome Christmas trees were in fashion, the next it was hot pink and black. I remember the year you could buy upside down Christmas tree, just in case – as in The Twits – you wanted to trick your neighbours into thinking they were walking on the roof. For my Mom, it has always been a twiggy tree that we have teased her about for a long time and that she traditionally defends. For most people, real Christmas trees are key and the red and gold and green decorations that have stood the test of time, the best. There is something so comforting in the routine opening of the same Christmas decorations that you have always had.

The Legend of the White Christmas
Snow is rare in the UK. So rare, in fact, that we all remember that one year when there really was a white Christmas and it quickly becomes the best Christmas we have ever had!



The Christmas Dinner
Turkey and Yorkshire puddings, brussel sprouts and bread sauce, a bottle of fizz washed down with a Christmas pudding a month in the making! Then it is time to retire to the sofa for the Queen’s Speech and an entire box of Celebrations. Of course, an evening tipple of mulled wine and lovely mince pies just tops you off perfectly! There is no room for dieters on Christmas Day!



The Christmas Stocking
Each year I make up a stocking. They are my favourite part about Christmas. When I was little, I would lie in bed and feel the limp sock on the end of my bed throughout the night. We would use my Dad’s old football socks and us girls would always campaign for the softer socks, whilst the boys had the stretchiest (to fit more presents). That feeling of the weight of the stocking on your feet and knowing that, at last, Santa had filled it, will never ever go away.
The presents were always much of a muchness – toothbrushes, deodorant, a book, underwear, makeup, chocolate coins (to be eaten right then and there) and a few thoughtful gifts that only Santa would think to give. Then your hand would close on a Satsuma or a walnut or an apple and you would know you were at the end. You should always give the stocking a good shake, in case you missed something, and then start examining your booty and show your Mum and Dad what Santa
got you this year, before going back to sleep because it is 1am and you will be tired in the morning!!


The Christmas Disaster
Every year, there is always something that goes wrong – an undercooked turkey, or overcooked sprouts. That new girlfriend who turns out to be a vegetarian. Or that silly sibling who tries to burn his paper hat in the candles on the table and manages to burn a hole into the table cloth. It is just best to laugh about these things – as we did the time our great dane pushed his head through one of the glass panes in the door of the room he was shut in when we went visiting relatives.

The Present Opening Debate
Every year amongst friends we discuss our present opening traditions: before breakfast or after breakfast? Stocking or no? Should we open a cheeky present on Christmas Eve or not? It is interesting that this debate should now be a part of the Christmas tradition! For us, it has always been: the first person up wakes everyone else. The bravest wakes Dad. When Dad gets up we can open our presents. Whilst we wait for that we have breakfast. Then we each take it in turn to open a present – starting with the oldest child and working down.





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