History UsefulNotes / AVeryBritishChristmas

18th Jun '17 10:44:19 AM twilicorn
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From 2005, you could nearly always expect the coveted Christmas Number One spot to go to whoever won ''Series/TheXFactor'' that year. This led to a backlash in 2009 when an online campaign propelled Music/RageAgainstTheMachine's "Killing in the Name" to the top instead, much to the displeasure of X Factor supremo [[TheMeanBrit Simon Cowell]]. Numerous similar campaigns attempted to hijack the position back for "real music" in the following years, though with less success: only two non-X Factor #1s appeared between 2009 and 2015, both charity-related singles: Gareth Malone & The Military Wives' "Wherever You Are" (2011) and a remake of The Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother" (2012). The 2015 battle for the number one might prove that the talent show's glory days are history, as that year's winner's single only finished at #12 and the top spot turned out to be a two-horse race for the position between Music/JustinBieber's "Love Yourself" and the NHS Choir's unlikely Music/SimonAndGarfunkel[=/=]Music/{{Coldplay}} charity mashup, "A Bridge Over You"; the latter would eventually claim the top spot -- [[Heartwarming/{{Music}} Bieber himself even thought that the choir deserved the #1 more than he did]].

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From 2005, you could nearly always expect the coveted Christmas Number One spot to go to whoever won ''Series/TheXFactor'' that year. This led to a backlash in 2009 when an online campaign propelled Music/RageAgainstTheMachine's "Killing in the Name" to the top instead, much to the displeasure of X Factor supremo [[TheMeanBrit Simon Cowell]]. Numerous similar campaigns attempted to hijack the position back for "real music" in the following years, though with less success: only two non-X Factor #1s appeared between 2009 and 2015, both charity-related singles: Gareth Malone & The Military Wives' "Wherever You Are" (2011) and a remake of The Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother" (2012). The 2015 battle for the number one might prove that the talent show's glory days are history, as that year's winner's single only finished at #12 and the top spot turned out to be a two-horse race for the position between Music/JustinBieber's "Love Yourself" and the NHS Choir's unlikely Music/SimonAndGarfunkel[=/=]Music/{{Coldplay}} charity mashup, "A Bridge Over You"; the latter would eventually claim the top spot -- [[Heartwarming/{{Music}} Bieber himself even thought that the choir deserved the #1 more than he did]].
did]]. The next year, the first non-X Factor related ("Killing in the Name" notwithstanding), non-charity Christmas #1 since 2003, Music/CleanBandit's "Rockabye", was propelled by incredibly high streaming figures, while several other bookies' favorites bombed hard due to minimal streams.
17th Jun '17 8:22:46 AM karstovich2
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* '''Roast potatoes:''' Every dish needs a starchy side; Britain opted for roast potatoes -- which, depending on who's making them, will either be (a) crunchy on the outside, fluffy 'n' soft on the inside, browned-to-perfection little delights, or (b) rock solid beasts which are somehow burned and raw at the same time.[[note]]A classic sign that the spuds were cooked at too high a temperature. [[OvenLogic Higher temperatures do not necessarily reduce cooking time]]; you need the ''right'' temperature to ensure the heat penetrates the whole potato before the outside starts getting ''too'' crispy. If you're having this problem, put the potatoes in at a lower temperature for longer and see what happens.[[/note]] There is no inbetween. Tradition holds that the best are cooked in duck or goose fat to make them super crispy.

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* '''Roast potatoes:''' Every dish needs a starchy side; Britain opted for roast potatoes -- which, depending on who's making them, will either be (a) crunchy on the outside, fluffy 'n' soft on the inside, browned-to-perfection little delights, or (b) rock solid rock-solid beasts which are somehow burned and raw at the same time.[[note]]A classic sign that the spuds were cooked at too high a temperature. [[OvenLogic Higher temperatures do not necessarily reduce cooking time]]; you need the ''right'' temperature to ensure the heat penetrates the whole potato before the outside starts getting ''too'' crispy. If you're having this problem, put the potatoes in at a lower temperature for longer and see what happens. You might also be using the wrong kind of potato; you cannot use potatoes with a "waxy" texture (that is, potatoes with a low starch content) for roasting. Floury potatoes, like the Maris Piper and King Edward, are best.[[/note]] There is no inbetween. Tradition holds that the best are cooked in duck or goose fat to make them super crispy.
12th Jun '17 9:32:52 PM nombretomado
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* ''Series/TopOfThePops'', former long-running music show that was killed off after a disastrous rebranding back in 2006, now survives as an annual special which serves mainly to announce who has secured the above-mentioned coveted Christmas Number One single, usually from a ''TheXFactor'' winner.

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* ''Series/TopOfThePops'', former long-running music show that was killed off after a disastrous rebranding back in 2006, now survives as an annual special which serves mainly to announce who has secured the above-mentioned coveted Christmas Number One single, usually from a ''TheXFactor'' ''Series/TheXFactor'' winner.
9th Jun '17 11:28:16 AM DarcyFoster
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** As of 2014, ''[[Film/TheAvengers2012 Avengers Assemble]]'' and ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' are now beginning to settle in as staples.
30th Apr '17 5:51:52 AM GojiBiscuits
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The general aim at Christmas is to consume at least 40% of one's own body mass over the course of the day -- aided by the vast choice lying around of chocolate selection boxes, sausage rolls, mince pies, mulled wine, German confectionery, cheese-and-pineapple on sticks, and all those 'nibbles' and peculiar savoury 'bites' supermarkets only seem to stock around Christmas: big bags of mixed nuts, large tubs of Twiglets (ask a Brit) and Mini Cheddars (ditto), cheese footballs, cheese straws, cheese twists, cheese puffs, cheese selection boxes, little sausages on cocktail sticks (with little cubes of cheese), a host of fun-sized versions of things such as burgers and pizzas, "luxury biscuit assortment" tins, etc. etc. These all turn up in the shops because they're theoretically what people like to buy at Christmastime. People only buy them because they're what turns up in the supermarket aisle labelled "Christmas" stuff and it's what seems expected of them. Thousands of vol-au-vents remain untouched in people's freezers past June, but capitalism remains happy. It all appears from around the time the schools go back in autumn, which means every year the same stories turn up in the press featuring the person whose shop-bought Christmas pudding has turned out to be labelled "Best before 12th December" or similar.

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The general aim at Christmas is to consume at least 40% of one's own body mass over the course of the day -- aided by the vast choice lying around of chocolate selection boxes, sausage rolls, mince pies, mulled wine, German confectionery, cheese-and-pineapple on sticks, and all those 'nibbles' and peculiar savoury 'bites' supermarkets only seem to stock around Christmas: big bags of mixed nuts, large tubs of Twiglets (ask Twiglets[[note]]strings of dough coated in a Brit) salty dressing similar to marmite, then baked to resemble twigs[[/note]] and Mini Cheddars (ditto), Cheddars, cheese footballs, cheese straws, cheese twists, cheese puffs, cheese selection boxes, little sausages on cocktail sticks (with little cubes of cheese), a host of fun-sized versions of things such as burgers and pizzas, "luxury biscuit assortment" tins, etc. etc. These all turn up in the shops because they're theoretically what people like to buy at Christmastime. People only buy them because they're what turns up in the supermarket aisle labelled "Christmas" stuff and it's what seems expected of them. Thousands of vol-au-vents remain untouched in people's freezers past June, but capitalism remains happy. It all appears from around the time the schools go back in autumn, which means every year the same stories turn up in the press featuring the person whose shop-bought Christmas pudding has turned out to be labelled "Best before 12th December" or similar.
30th Apr '17 5:33:11 AM GojiBiscuits
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Around this time, normally just before the rest of the economy wakes up and breathes in the Christmas spirit, two bastions of the Christmas commercials will appear on screens nationwide. The first of these are for the 'Big Six' supermarket chains,[[note]]Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and ASDA, plus Iceland on some occasions[[/note]] making sure that your ears ring by blaring obnoxious covers of otherwise gentle and soft Christmas carols while shoving down your throat their ideas of how Christmas should be. Given how these adverts are often filmed [[ChristmasInJuly in the height of summer]], eagle eyed viewers might spot the midsummer sun beaming through windows in the background, or a very obvious tree covered in green leaves.

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Around this time, normally just before the rest of the economy wakes up and breathes in the Christmas spirit, two bastions of the Christmas commercials will appear on screens nationwide. The first of these are for the 'Big Six' Three' supermarket chains,[[note]]Sainsbury's, Waitrose, ASDA and Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and ASDA, plus Iceland on some occasions[[/note]] making sure that your ears ring by blaring obnoxious covers of otherwise gentle and soft Christmas carols while shoving down your throat their ideas of how Christmas should be. Given how these adverts are often filmed [[ChristmasInJuly in the height of summer]], eagle eyed viewers might spot the midsummer sun beaming through windows in the background, or a very obvious tree covered in green leaves.
leaves. More upmarket supermarkets, such as Aldi and Waitrose, have considerably more bearable adverts.
27th Apr '17 9:46:35 AM GojiBiscuits
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'''Advertising'''. A couple of months or so before December 25th, commercial breaks will start quietly smuggling small yet increasingly suspicious quantities of stars and sparkles into their advertisements. One or two might even [[LampshadeHanging hang a lampshade]] on this by pointing out how it's not Christmas for ''ages'' yet. Listen hard, though, and somewhere in the distance you'll soon start to hear bells jingling. There are a couple of annual 'landmarks' in television advertising that effectively declare the season upon us: the first appearance of a vintage ''"Holidays are coming"'' Coca-Cola ad first aired in the early '90s, and the appearance of 'event' commercials advertising certain department stores to the soundtrack of teeth-grindingly twee SofterAndSlowerCover versions of well-known songs. Before you know it, every second advert is full of happy people dashing [[DreamingOfAWhiteChristmas through the snow]], dressing in [[HomemadeSweaterFromHell chunky red knitwear]] and ruthlessly pushing the necessity of a Traditional, Wholesome, Affordably Luxurious, Authentic Family Christmas™ come hell or high water -- while every ''other'' ad is a bafflingly obtuse piece of flimflammery for otherwise unseen brands of perfume.

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'''Advertising'''. A couple of months or so before December 25th, commercial breaks will start quietly smuggling small yet increasingly suspicious quantities of stars and sparkles into their advertisements. One or two might even [[LampshadeHanging hang a lampshade]] on this by pointing out how it's not Christmas for ''ages'' yet. Listen hard, though, and somewhere in the distance you'll soon start to hear bells jingling. There are a couple of annual 'landmarks' in television advertising that effectively declare the season upon us: the first appearance of a vintage ''"Holidays are coming"'' Coca-Cola ad first aired in the early '90s, and the appearance of 'event' commercials advertising certain adverts for major department stores to the soundtrack stores, namely John Lewis and House of teeth-grindingly twee SofterAndSlowerCover versions Fraser, marked by [[CuteKitten adorable]] [[TeamPet animals]], with TearJerker plots and overtly LighterAndSofter covers of well-known rock songs. Before you know it, every second advert is full of happy people dashing [[DreamingOfAWhiteChristmas through the snow]], dressing in [[HomemadeSweaterFromHell chunky red knitwear]] and ruthlessly pushing the necessity of a Traditional, Wholesome, Affordably Luxurious, Authentic Family Christmas™ come hell or high water -- while every ''other'' ad is a bafflingly obtuse piece water.

Around this time, normally just before the rest
of flimflammery the economy wakes up and breathes in the Christmas spirit, two bastions of the Christmas commercials will appear on screens nationwide. The first of these are for the 'Big Six' supermarket chains,[[note]]Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and ASDA, plus Iceland on some occasions[[/note]] making sure that your ears ring by blaring obnoxious covers of otherwise unseen brands gentle and soft Christmas carols while shoving down your throat their ideas of perfume.how Christmas should be. Given how these adverts are often filmed [[ChristmasInJuly in the height of summer]], eagle eyed viewers might spot the midsummer sun beaming through windows in the background, or a very obvious tree covered in green leaves.

Closely following the supermarket ads are bizarre and [[MindScrew borderline-disturbing]] adverts for perfume companies. As is tradition with these sorts of adverts, normally what is going on in the advert has nothing to do with the product itself, and will often involve two scantily-clad people performing horrifying [[BodyHorror body horror]]-esque poses as one of them smells the other. 2016's flavour of the year was to have the female models bend their necks in such a way that they should have snapped.
25th Apr '17 1:10:12 AM Hafumanroblox
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'''Christmas themed goods appear in the shops'''. This can happen as early as August, but is often delayed until after [[AllHallowsEve Hallowe'en]], or at least interrupted by it with products for both festivals coexisting. Expect shopping centres to have their basic decorations up long in advance, and jokes about mince pies being eaten or going out of date three months before they're used. Widely believed to be [[ChristmasCreep getting earlier and earlier each year]]; it isn't really, nor is it solely about rampant "commercialisation": British employees are usually paid at the end of the month, so for any Christmas bonus to be paid, there has to have been lots of Christmas shopping in October and November.

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'''Christmas themed goods appear in the shops'''. This can happen as early as August, but is often delayed until after [[AllHallowsEve Hallowe'en]], or at least interrupted by it with products for both festivals coexisting. Expect shopping centres to have their basic decorations up long in advance, and jokes about mince pies being eaten or going out of date to exist three months before they're used. Widely believed to be [[ChristmasCreep getting earlier and earlier each year]]; it isn't really, nor is it solely about rampant "commercialisation": British employees are usually paid at the end of the month, so for any Christmas bonus to be paid, there has to have been lots of Christmas shopping in October and November.
24th Apr '17 2:34:27 PM karstovich2
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* '''Brussels sprouts:''' A bitterly divisive foodstuff. These are small green vegetables, essentially miniscule cabbages, somewhere between ball bearings and golf balls in size, hardness and edibility. People either [[LoveItOrHateIt love or really, really, really hate]] them. This is largely because they contain a foul-tasting chemical that many people ''genetically lack the ability to taste'': generally those who do not like sprouts are the ones who can taste it.[[note]]"Largely," because even people who ''can't'' taste the chemical and ''do'' like sprouts in general terms will dislike them if you treat them wrong, which generally means overcooking them -- and it is very easy to overcook sprouts, especially if you're boiling them, where they can be reduced to little more than greenish slimy mush if particularly unlucky.[[/note]] Whilst other veg does get served at Christmas, these are a particular requirement unique to the festive season. Why they are named after the capital of Belgium, meanwhile, remains a mystery. %% Resist the temptation to defend or decry this vegetable here. Previous Tropers have had this problem. %%

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* '''Brussels sprouts:''' A bitterly divisive foodstuff. These are small green vegetables, essentially miniscule cabbages, somewhere between ball bearings and golf balls in size, hardness and edibility. People either [[LoveItOrHateIt love or really, really, really hate]] them. This is largely because they contain a foul-tasting chemical that many people ''genetically lack the ability to taste'': generally those who do not like sprouts are the ones who can taste it.[[note]]"Largely," because even people who ''can't'' taste the chemical and ''do'' like sprouts in general terms will dislike them if you treat them wrong, which generally means overcooking them -- and them--and it is very easy to overcook sprouts, especially if you're boiling them, where they can be reduced to little more than greenish slimy mush if particularly unlucky.unlucky. Sautéing the sprouts usually works better for those who actually enjoy them; there was a vogue for sprouts [[BaconAddiction sautéed with bacon fat]] around 2010ish.[[/note]] Whilst other veg does get served at Christmas, these are a particular requirement unique to the festive season. Why they are named after the capital of Belgium, meanwhile, remains a mystery. %% Resist the temptation to defend or decry this vegetable here. Previous Tropers have had this problem. %%
8th Apr '17 10:40:23 AM nombretomado
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* Christmas films -- terrestrial channels tend to show both more and higher-profile films (often ones receiving their terrestrial premiere) over the Christmas period (as exhaustively covered in the aforementioned ''RadioTimes'' bumper edition, naturally). In addition, while the usual Christmas-themed films (from ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'' and ''Film/MiracleOnThirtyFourthStreet'' (x2) to ''Film/{{Elf}}'' and ''Film/BadSanta'') will inevitably be on, many thematically-unrelated ones have nonetheless become staples of the season -- ''Film/{{ET|The Extraterrestrial}}'', ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'', ''Film/BriefEncounter'', ''Film/JamesBond'' films, the original ''Franchise/ThePinkPanther'' films with Creator/PeterSellers, ''Film/TheGreatEscape'' (which is almost a certainty for Boxing Day), etc. Interestingly, during its rather untrendy period in the late 1980s and early '90s, the original ''Franchise/StarWars'' trilogy definitely fell into this category, having become a much less common sight before it became cool again.

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* Christmas films -- terrestrial channels tend to show both more and higher-profile films (often ones receiving their terrestrial premiere) over the Christmas period (as exhaustively covered in the aforementioned ''RadioTimes'' ''Magazine/RadioTimes'' bumper edition, naturally). In addition, while the usual Christmas-themed films (from ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'' and ''Film/MiracleOnThirtyFourthStreet'' (x2) to ''Film/{{Elf}}'' and ''Film/BadSanta'') will inevitably be on, many thematically-unrelated ones have nonetheless become staples of the season -- ''Film/{{ET|The Extraterrestrial}}'', ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'', ''Film/BriefEncounter'', ''Film/JamesBond'' films, the original ''Franchise/ThePinkPanther'' films with Creator/PeterSellers, ''Film/TheGreatEscape'' (which is almost a certainty for Boxing Day), etc. Interestingly, during its rather untrendy period in the late 1980s and early '90s, the original ''Franchise/StarWars'' trilogy definitely fell into this category, having become a much less common sight before it became cool again.



** ''At least'' three or four [[YetAnotherChristmasCarol versions]] of ''Literature/AChristmasCarol'' will be shown on the terrestrial channels alone. The exact ones vary, but ''Scrooge'' (the Alistair Sim one) is usually among them and [[Film/TheMuppetChristmasCarol the Muppet adaptation]] -- voted [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff the nation's 2nd favorite Christmas film]] after ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'' in a 2011 ''RadioTimes'' poll -- is practically guaranteed.

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** ''At least'' three or four [[YetAnotherChristmasCarol versions]] of ''Literature/AChristmasCarol'' will be shown on the terrestrial channels alone. The exact ones vary, but ''Scrooge'' (the Alistair Sim one) is usually among them and [[Film/TheMuppetChristmasCarol the Muppet adaptation]] -- voted [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff the nation's 2nd favorite Christmas film]] after ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'' in a 2011 ''RadioTimes'' ''Magazine/RadioTimes'' poll -- is practically guaranteed.



* Children's animated 1982 short ''ComicBook/TheSnowman'' is so consistently shown and beloved that any attempt to remove it from the Christmas schedules could be seen as some sort of career suicide for the head of Creator/{{Channel 4}}. The one year it did omit the showing, they fell behind Creator/ChannelFive (then almost entirely unknown and only available to roughly half of the country) in the ratings. A sequel adventure was finally produced for Christmas 2012, ''The Snowman and the Snowdog'', which demonstrated this exalted status by securing the cover of that year's ''RadioTimes'' Christmas double-issue (see above).

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* Children's animated 1982 short ''ComicBook/TheSnowman'' is so consistently shown and beloved that any attempt to remove it from the Christmas schedules could be seen as some sort of career suicide for the head of Creator/{{Channel 4}}. The one year it did omit the showing, they fell behind Creator/ChannelFive (then almost entirely unknown and only available to roughly half of the country) in the ratings. A sequel adventure was finally produced for Christmas 2012, ''The Snowman and the Snowdog'', which demonstrated this exalted status by securing the cover of that year's ''RadioTimes'' ''Magazine/RadioTimes'' Christmas double-issue (see above).
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