Christmas in Great Britain
In Great Britain the hustle and bustle of the season begins well before Christmas and there is barely anytime for a break until the Twelfth night. There is preparation going on of foods, the sending of Christmas cards, the decorating of houses and churches, and the readying of gifts keep everyone busy even the youngest family members.
On Christmas Eve youngsters hang up their stockings on the ends of the beds or by the chimney so that when Father Christmas comes he can leave them something.
On Christmas morning the family traditionally opens their presents and prepares for a big feast which typically is served just after midday. The table gleams with the best china and glassware, and at every place on the table there is a cracker. The meal begins with a toast, followed by the popping of the crackers. After the meal they sit down in front of the Television for the traditional Christmas speech of the British Monarch.
In the afternoon they exchange visits with neighbors other family members.
Some churches in Great Britain have a Christingle service on the fourth Sunday of Advent. This is a carol service of Scandinavian origin at which every child received an orange and candle wrapped in a red ribbon. The candle represents Jesus and the ribbon stands for the blood of Christ and the love of God embracing the world.
In Britain, children write their letters to Father Christmas. Years ago they used to throw them into the fireplace so they will float up the chimney and fly to the North Pole. If the lists caught fire first, they had to rewrite them.
At Christmas dinner, a plum pudding is served with little treasures hidden inside that bring their finders good luck. Britain was the first country to hang up mistletoe.