MERRY CHRISTMAS from England to all of my wonderful friends in
I hope that you are all ready to celebrate this wonderful holiday, one of my favourites, mainly because it is all about family and togetherness and wonder. Unlike Americans we Brits have not already had one of the biggest holidays of the year, Thanksgiving, and therefore are gearing up for our big one. In fact I often wonder where those Christmasses that meant stores and workplaces closed for at least the two big days, Christmas and Boxing Day (St Stephens feast and the day after Christmas) which meant that most families and friends got at least two days to spend together have gone. Much unlike today where stores seem to be open 24/7……. if stores are open people will shop and if they close the world will not end, in fact it might even become a nicer place! I try never to go shopping or near anything like a mall over the holiday period and it is bliss. I do not know how you feel about it all???
Going back to Boxing Day, I always thought that it was a day when boxing matches took place but it the tradition of this being a bank holiday stems from centuries ago when servants and tradespeople would be given the day off to go and visit their families along with a ‘Christmas Box’ full of goodies as a treat! I also found out that in many American Southern states this tradition is also upheld… interesting! Traditionally here there is also rather a lot of rugby and football matches played…….as apparently there is college basketball matches in America.
And of course the traditional Christmas dinner…..oh my goodness, how good is that……my very favourite meal of the year, in fact Thanksgiving this year with friends in West Palm Beach was probably one of the best Christmas dinners I have had. their traditional Turkey and stuffing along with Scott’s home-made gravy with our contribution of roasted vegetables in the traditional English manner blended into a meal fit for kings, it will be hard, if not I possible to beat this year! Although I have it on very good authority we have what we call a bird within a bird, which means that there is a turkey inside a duck, inside a chicken…….it all looks most beautiful when carved, I have heard there can be as many as five birds within birds, I think the smallest must be something like a pidgin!!!! I will keep you posted on that one.
Everyone tends to eat later at Christmas with the meal being served around 3:15 because the Queens speech takes place at 3pm. This is a hugely important tradition started in 1932 with a radio broadcast by King George V. It was first televised in 1957 and has been that way until present day. One of my overriding memories of Christmas Day as a child was having to be quiet when this took place and then we would raise a glass to relatives in Canada who we knew at that time would be listening too, albeit a lot earlier in the day for them!
Traditions are important I think and I love the traditions that abound at this time of year…carol singing,……pantomimes……Santa’s grottoes…. decorations and the whole experience. Our annual school Carol concert was amazing as usual, musicians newly trained to old hands played and sang their way through some beautiful pieces encouraging the congregation to sing along, it was fabulous…….lots of pieces from Frozen, I am sure that was a huge theme this year in most schools!
Of course as predicted last week, the panto was excellent and huge fun…..the noise is deafening and not for the faint hearted……boos when the Villain appears and lots of ‘he’s behind you’ and of course you might know the villain disappears as soon as we alert the poor victim who then says ‘oh no he’s not’ to which the audience shouts ‘oh, yes he is!’ ….it all sounds very silly and of course it is, but it is amazing fun and a great family outing, I recommend it should you ever have a chance to attend. Our weather here continues to be good maintaining a steady temperature of upper forties, no sign of snow here in the South, but we are headed to the Midlands for Christmas, so that could all change….we shall see!
And so my friends, I wish you all the very best of everything for Christmas and the New Year, I hope they are both full of sparkles and wonderful things for you, speak to you again in 2015. Thank you AnnaMaria for allowing to be part of this wonderful blog and for you all so patiently putting up with my rambles!