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Christmas in the UK

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Advent

candleAdvent, even if this tradition is not wide spread in the UK, is the run up to Christmas. It is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas. Children usually get an Advent calendar filled with chocolate. The advent candle is also used. The candle has the days up to Christmas Day marked down the candle. Each day in December the candle is burnt down a little more each day.
In preparation for Christmas cards are sent to friends and families with a festive greeting of a Merry Christmas. People hang their cards up over Christmas. Children write a wish list for Father Christmas or Santa. Families start to prepare the food for Christmas day. It’s a busy time for everyone. Young or old, we are all looking forward to a festive holiday.

 

Christmas Eve

stockingsChristmas Eve is a busy day. People do their last minute shopping for Christmas Day.
Night time on Christmas Eve is a very exciting time for young children. It is the time when Santa or Father Christmas comes. Many families tell their children stories about Father Christmas and his reindeers. The children hang up their stockings by the fireplace and put out a plate of carrots for the reindeer and mince pies and sherry for Father Christmas to help him on his way.

sana_sleigh

Santa lives in Greenland where he makes all the presents with the help of his elves. He finds out if you are naughty or nice so make sure not to end up on his naughty list!

At night Father Christmas piles all of the toys onto his sleigh and rides across the sky with his 9 reindeers, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolf. Rudolf is the one at the front, to lead the way with his red nose.

santatree_leftIn the middle of the night Santa comes to place presents in the stockings and under the Christmas tree.
You may find a piece of coal if you have been naughty.

 

Christmas Day

Children wake up early in the morning on Christmas Day to open the presents in their stocking and under the Christmas tree. After breakfast children play with their new toys, eat chocolate, sweets and to watch TV. In England, telling ghost stories, local legends, and other strange, bizarre, and fantastic ”winter stories” is a centuries-old tradition.

At three o’clock you can watch ”the Queen’s Speech” on TV. It is heard by millions of people all over the world. After or during the Queen’s Speech, Families gather around the table for a traditional Christmas dinner.

dinnerThe Christmas dinner is usually a stuffed turkey , gravy, cranberries, parsnips, and roasted potatoes. The dinner is followed by a Christmas pudding; a rich fruit pudding served with brandy sauce or brandy butter. During the meal, Christmas crackers, containing toys, jokes, and a paper hat are pulled.

Christmas cake is also a must for Christmas. The cake is rich and contains almost every dried fruit you can think of, nuts, glazed cherries and candied peel. The cake is covered with marzipan and thick white Royal icing made with icing sugar and egg whites.

Christmas crackers

Boxing Day

In England Boxing Day celebrated on the day after Christmas Day. During this day time to give gifts and to spend time with friends and family. Both Christmas day and Boxing day are bank holidays in the UK. Almost everyone is off work to celebrate.

mistletoe_kiss

 
Why not bring a twig of mistletoe into your house?

It’s believed to have mystical powers and bring life and fertility.
Since then, tradition has lost ground. But, be prepared!
If you stand underneath the mistletoe – Prepare to be kissed!

 

 
Traditions vary from family to family but these are the main events of a traditional Christmas in the UK.

 

Did you know?
Today’s Christmas Celebrations date back to the 6th century.

Santa has many names:
Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Santy or simply Santa.

The first printed Christmas cards were produced in London in 1843.

The first Advent calendar was made in 1851. It originated from the protestant area of Germany.

During Queen Victoria’s reign 1837-1876, Christmas became a time for gift giving, and a special season for children.

The tradition of the royal speech began in 1932 with King George V. Queen Elizabeth II continues.

Queen Elizabeth II started to say Happy Christmas instead of Merry Christmas.

Norway gives a giant Christmas tree to raise in Trafalgar Square as a thank you for the help during the Second World War.

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