It is December and that can only mean one thing. Christmas! Do you celebrate Christmas in your country? I you do, how do you celebrate? Celebrations in your country are undoubtedly as unique and special as our traditions here in England! So, what do we do here to enjoy this special time of year?
No Christmas is complete without a tree in your living room, be it a real fir tree or an artificial tree. These days, more people are buying artificial trees with snow, fir cones and red berries on the branches. Some people love big tall trees that touch the ceiling while other people look for small trees in pots that can be put in the garden after Christmas to continue growing ready for next December.
People spend time decorating their tree with twinkling fairy lights and lovely round baubles in rich beautiful colours such as red, gold and silver. After the tree is finished, families put their gifts to each other underneath it wrapped in beautiful coloured paper.
With the introduction of artificial trees many families now decorate their homes at the very beginning of December. If you walk around the streets of England, you will see many beautifully decorated houses both inside and out!
Christmas Eve – the 24th December
In England, Christmas Eve is a day full of excitement and anticipation but unlike Europe, we don’t usually spend this day with family, eat traditional food or open gifts in the evening. Instead, we may go to work during the day and in the evening celebrate with friends in a restaurant or pub. Excitement is in the air and everyone is in a fantastic mood ready for the next day. Some people use this day to do some last-minute Christmas shopping!
Some families go to church in the evening to sing traditional Christmas Carols by candlelight. The service lasts about one hour and combines singing by the congregation with readings from the bible.
For families with small children, parents usually uphold the tradition of putting out a glass of milk and a mince pie for Santa so that when he stops off at their house, he has something to eat and drink ?.
Christmas Day – the 25th December
The special day has finally arrived! Children wake up early and rush downstairs to see what Santa has brought them. Sometimes their gifts are in stockings which are hanging up in the living room or they are in big bags under the tree. They open their gifts in an excited frenzy, tearing off wrapping paper and showing each other their new toys. Adults drink their tea or coffee and slowly open their gifts to each other. There is usually a Christmas jumper for the men which they are encouraged to wear that day! The morning is full of noise and excitement.
Between 1 – 3 p.m. families sit down to a large Christmas dinner usually comprising turkey, gravy, roast potatoes and vegetables. For dessert, people eat Christmas pudding, mince pies or other delicious sweets. Everyone generally eats far too much and then complains that they can’t move!
The rest of the afternoon and evening is frequently spent enjoying a nice drink, watching good films on television, and for the more energetic families, going for a walk to ‘walk off’ the Christmas dinner!
Boxing day is sometimes known as the 2nd Christmas Day. It is a public holiday in England so very few people work. Although gifts are not usually exchanged, families often meet their extended family and enjoy another large meal together as well as play games. It is a chance to exchange stories from the day before and to wish each other well.
So, why don’t you come and learn English in EC London and experience our Christmas traditions for yourself! We look forward to meeting you soon!