Christmas Day

Christmas Day
Christmas Day
Much as it is in the States, Christmas day is the day when families get together and the climax to the joy of the season takes place.
Christmas day starts as early as the children decide it is time to wake up. With screams of “He’s Been He’s Been” the children wake the house (and maybe the neighbors) to let everyone know that Father Christmas has been.
A cup of hot tea is made for all to drink. I want to take a quick moment to talk about tea. We sometimes joke that the entire social structure of English people is wrapped up in a cup of tea. There is some truth in that. At any time of year and any time of day, when you visit friend in their homes or even if you visit a client for a business meeting, a cup of tea is always involved. In the states, when friends visit with each other, a soda is often offered or when men get together there is often beer or coffee. However a cup of tea in England is almost compulsory. Whether you are happy or sad, elated or tired, with lots of friends or sitting alone, whatever the mood, a cup of tea is always part of the English culture.
With a cup of tea families all sit in the living room around the tea and each family’s father Christmas (Santa’s Helper) hands out the presents. This is load of fun for everyone especially Santa’s Helper but there is very strict discipline to the job. Santa’s helper is normally the eldest child who can take responsibility of handing out the presents (prezzies). There are rules to this job. First of all, Santa’s helper has a respect for each present and knows how much thought and work went into the present. One at a time the gifts are handed out and as the present is handed to the recipient the names are read out “To Mummy, From Daddy.” Before the presents are opened, the stockings are passed out to each person. It is always so fun to reach into your stocking and pull out your favorite chocolate or biscuits (cookies) to eat at the same time you are drinking your tea and opening presents.
Christmas is becoming more and more commercialized in England as it is in America. Though it is sometimes difficult, we try to really make an effort to remember the true spirit of Christmas.
The next few hours are taken up with all the children playing with their toys, the father picking up all the torn wrapping paper and saving any large pieces of wrapping paper that can be used again the following year. If there is a fire, he will stoke the fire and bring in more wood.
Everyone then chips in to help set the table for the Christmas dinner. Christmas dinner in England is very similar to the food served on American tables. Turkey and stuffing along with mashed potatoes (or roast potatoes) and gravy, green peas (mushy peas and gravy), carrots, and, of course, cranberry sauce. The dessert is the Christmas pudding that we talked about earlier and which was made far in advance.
Next: Christmas Crackers
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