Monday, December 12, 2016


    Brits who follow tradition for celebrating Christmas in England will put up their trees precisely 12 days before Christmas, and take them down precisely 12 days after Christmas. 
   Each and every member of the family, by tradition,  stirs the pudding with a wooden spoon from east to west.  This is intended to represent the honorable Three Kings.  Then, the family drops a silver coin into the pudding mixture before it is cooked.  The lucky person who gets the coin when the pudding is doled out,  is supposed to be in line for wealth, health and happiness.  if they keep the coin, that's a start toward the wealth....unless they happen to be the same family member who produced the coin in the first place, of course.


   English folks started decorating their trees in 1841, after Prince Albert arranged for a Christmas tree in Windsor Castle to be strewn with lights, as a gift to Queen Victoria and their children.  This carried out a long time tradition that Prince Albert adopted from Germany.  Precisely a century later, relations between the two nations would not be so cordial, but celebrating Christmas in England still involves decorating a tree.

   When they celebrate Christmas in England, they don't have Santa Claus.  In England he is called Father Christmas.  The kids can hang their stocking on the fireplace, but they also have the option instead of placing their stocking at the ends of their beds.  The "end of the bed" alternative should eliminate concerns about Father Christmas, like Santa, coming down the chimney into a roaring fire.  But wait!  There also is a legend that if British children write letters to Father Christmas and toss them into the fireplace, somehow their messages will turn into smoke that wafts up the chimney and carries directly to Father Christmas.



   The English Christmas is traditionally celebrated with an early morning unwrapping of presents, followed by a Christmas lunch.  Some typical menu items for an English Christmas lunch include a roasted turkey, gravy, roasted potatoes, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, and root vegetables,  such as parsnips and carrots. For dessert it's usually  a Christmas cake (fruit cake, often made with brandy, marzipan and white icing).  The Christmas cake is often made a couple of months in advance to give it time to age.  the flavours blend together for a rich, moist taste.  Another traditional dessert is the Christmas pudding.  It is made with dried fruits which are pressed into a bowl to create a round shape. The Christmas pudding is topped with brandy and lit so that a flame appears momentarily before it is served.  For safety sake, this dessert should only be prepared by someone knowledgeable and experienced with preparing it.  Finally, traditional treats of an English Christmas are mince pies.  They are made of a sweet blend of fruits and spices which are used to fill a small pastry crust.
   A unique aspect of celebrating Christmas in England is the Christmas cracker.  These small wrapped toys are placed on the Christmas table before lunch.  When pulled apart, they make a loud "pop" sound-hence the name Christmas cracker.  Inside,  there is usually a paper crown and some type of toy or gadget. Everyone puts on their paper crown to enjoy the Christmas lunch.

   An idea for celebrating Christmas in England,  is to book reservations at a pub or restaurant.  Many English pubs and restaurants provide a special meal at Christmas or Christmas Eve.  However, book well in advance, because it's a popular option.
   Many British families take a vacation during the Christmas holidays in England.  Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts tend to get booked up quickly, so plan ahead.
   Celebrating Christmas in England  means many days of celebrations.  Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, is also one of the holidays that are celebrated.  Families might enjoy a meal together or enjoy a walk by the seaside.
   Celebrating Christmas in England is a fun way to learn about different traditions.  Just keep in mind that most businesses are closed for the holiday so buy any supplies you need well in advance for your English Christmas.

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