Friday, December 19, 2008

UK Christmas observations

Given work and the move, Christmas has snuck up on us in London…usually, by this time of year in Germany, we had been to 8-10 Christmas markets, raised a few glasses of gluwhein, and eaten a couple of bratwursts, and done all things “Frohe Weihnachten”.

So what holiday experiences have we had in the UK? Short answer: Well, not too much. Oh well, there is always next year. I have observed a few things about Christmas traditions in the UK that are at the forefront of my mind.

#1: I need a Christmas “pud” (sp?, and pronounced PUHD). Translated, someone wants a Christmas plum pudding. OK, I still have not tasted one of these. Maybe I can pick one up at Sainsbury’s while watching the finale of Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday night.

A corollary to the Christmas pudding: Mince pies are big deals here.

#2: Christmas trees are put up a bit later than what we see in the States. People really only began to purchase their trees and don them with ornaments last week / weekend. Next year, being we are in the |new and improved” house, we will have a place for a tree and all those lovely German ornaments. For now, I am tree-less so I must get refueled on Christmas trees “Texas style” over the next couple of weeks while at home.

#3 – What’s a Christmas Panto? Short for pantomime, it is a family style Christmas play that all cities big and small put on. Plays/musicals for the Christmas pantos include Aladdin, Mother Goose, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, etc. Not necessarily Christmas themes but always beloved family shows.

A visit to the pantomime is as much a part of Christmas as decorating the tree and giving presents. Apparently, Pantomime Dames, Horses and Cows, terrible jokes, and out of work television personalities are all a part of the event….Some even run post Christmas so maybe we will take one in and report back.

#4 – Happy Christmas! So instead of saying “Merry Christmas” or singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, change that to “Happy Christmas”. It’s cute but old habits are hard to break.

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