History UsefulNotes / AVeryBritishChristmas

26th Jun '16 3:06:06 AM gewunomox
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Since 2005 though you can 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 RageAgainstTheMachine's "Killing in the Name" to the top instead, much to the displeasure of X-Factor supremo [[TheMeanBrit Simon Cowell]]. Since then numerous similar campaigns have attempted to hijack the position back for "real music" in the same fashion, though with less success (only two non-X Factor #1's have appeared between 2009 and 2015: Gareth Malone and Military Wives' "Wherever You Are" and a Hillsborough-inspired remake of The Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother", from 2011 and 2012 respectively). The 2015 battle for the number one might prove that the X Factor's glory days are history, as that year's winner's single ("Forever Young", for those wondering) only finished at #12 (the fact that it was said that the song wouldn't interfere with the Christmas chart arguably helped), and the top spot turned out to be a two-horse race for the position between Music/JustinBieber's "Love Yourself" and a CharityMotivationSong mashup of Music/PaulSimon and Music/{{Coldplay}} by the NHS Choir (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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Since 2005 though you can 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 RageAgainstTheMachine's Music/RageAgainstTheMachine's "Killing in the Name" to the top instead, much to the displeasure of X-Factor supremo [[TheMeanBrit Simon Cowell]]. Since then numerous similar campaigns have attempted to hijack the position back for "real music" in the same fashion, though with less success (only two non-X Factor #1's have appeared between 2009 and 2015: Gareth Malone and Military Wives' "Wherever You Are" and a Hillsborough-inspired remake of The Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother", from 2011 and 2012 respectively). The 2015 battle for the number one might prove that the X Factor's glory days are history, as that year's winner's single ("Forever Young", for those wondering) only finished at #12 (the fact that it was said that the song wouldn't interfere with the Christmas chart arguably helped), and the top spot turned out to be a two-horse race for the position between Music/JustinBieber's "Love Yourself" and a CharityMotivationSong mashup of Music/PaulSimon and Music/{{Coldplay}} by the NHS Choir (the latter would eventually claim the top spot - [[Heartwarming/{{Music}} Bieber himself even thought that the choir deserved the #1 more than he did]]).
31st May '16 4:28:15 AM GojiBiscuits
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'''Special church services'''. 'Christingle' is a service held on the last Sunday before Christmas Eve in Anglican Churches. Originating in Germany (as before the two wars Germany and Britain were fairly chummy, [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfWindsor the monarch]] [[UsefulNotes/QueenVictoria originally being]] [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfHanover German]] and all), it was brought into the UK by the Children's Society charity and is a major fund-raiser for them. Children are given an orange embedded with a candle and four cocktail sticks with sweets/nuts/raisins on and a red ribbon tied around the middle (there's also a bit of tin foil to catch the melting wax) - these are all, bar the tin foil, symbolic: the orange is the world, the foodstuffs are the fruits of the earth and the four seasons, the red ribbon is the blood of Christ and the candle is Jesus, The Light of the World. The children may parade around the church with the lit Christingles, attempting not to set the hair of the child in front of them [[FlamingHair on fire]]. Ahem.

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'''Special church services'''. 'Christingle' is a service held on the last Sunday before Christmas Eve in Anglican Churches. Originating in Germany (as before the two wars Germany and Britain were fairly chummy, [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfWindsor the monarch]] [[UsefulNotes/QueenVictoria originally being]] [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfHanover German]] and all), it was brought into the UK by the Children's Society charity and is a major fund-raiser for them. Children are given an orange embedded with a candle and four cocktail sticks with sweets/nuts/raisins on and a red ribbon tied around the middle (there's also a bit of tin foil to catch the melting wax) - these are all, bar the tin foil, symbolic: the orange is the world, the foodstuffs are the fruits of the earth and the four seasons, the red ribbon is the blood of Christ and the candle is Jesus, The Light of the World. The children may parade around the church with the lit Christingles, attempting not to set the hair of the child in front of them [[FlamingHair on fire]]. Ahem.
Expect plenty of 'Peace be with you-s' and a somewhat pleasant smell of burning cinnamon to be found.
31st May '16 4:21:30 AM GojiBiscuits
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In recent years, the popular and iconic department store Partnership chain, John Lewis, releases a blockbuster 'commercial' to herald the start of their Christmas period, which begins in September, ramps up in October and kicks it into a high gear as November begins. 2013 was a highly successful year for the Partnership because of [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRzDUSDS-V4 The Bear and the Hare]], a cleverly animated advert which utilised both Cell and Stop Motion animation.

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In recent years, the popular and iconic department store Partnership chain, John Lewis, releases a blockbuster 'commercial' 'advert' (Although the finished result is more akin to a short film) to herald the start of their Christmas period, which begins in September, ramps up in October and kicks it into a high gear as November begins. 2013 was a highly successful year for the Partnership because of [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRzDUSDS-V4 The Bear and the Hare]], a cleverly animated advert which utilised both Cell and Stop Motion animation.
animation, while 2014 left many people wishing they owned or looked after an Adélie penguin. The vast majority of the money acquired from these pieces of media goes to a chosen charity that the Partnership has decided to support each Christmas season.
31st May '16 4:17:11 AM GojiBiscuits
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Added DiffLines:

Starting from right ''before'' the current year's Christmas (Usually Christmas Eve or Boxing Day), the cost-spreading company Park will usually release an advert telling people to begin saving or using their services so that they have enough money for next year's festivities. This usually leads to people feeling down and a bit upset over money concerns. The advert mysteriously disappears after around a quarter into the following year, only to return time and time again as Christmas gets nearer, like a ruthless alligator waiting to feed on people who are insecure about their finances.
30th May '16 8:05:42 AM TheOneWhoTropes
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* ''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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* ''TopOfThePops'', ''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.
27th May '16 3:58:38 AM GojiBiscuits
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Before we begin, let's debunk a tabloid myth. There is no [[PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad mass PC-ing]] of Christmas. "Winterval" was a one-off commercial event and few things could annoy a Brit any more than someone wishing them "Happy Holidays". It's "Merry Christmas" or nothing. A "winter scene" on this year's Christmastime postage stamp still means Baby Jesus or suchlike will show up on next year's. Cards are still sent. Office parties are more common every year. [[Series/{{QI}} Thank you, Stephen Fry.]]

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Before we begin, let's debunk a tabloid myth. There is no [[PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad mass PC-ing]] of Christmas. "Winterval" was a one-off commercial event and few things could annoy a Brit any more than someone wishing them "Happy Holidays". It's "Merry Christmas" or nothing. A "winter scene" on this year's Christmastime postage stamp still means Baby Jesus or suchlike will show up on next year's. Cards are still sent. Office parties are more common every year. [[Series/{{QI}} Thank you, Stephen Fry.]]
]] In fact, Christmas in Britain is so popular that from around the 1800s onwards, it has begun to be celebrated by virtually every religious denomination in some way or another.



'''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 going off 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 or competed with 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 off 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.
9th May '16 3:35:09 PM karstovich2
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* ''A great big roast bird:'' Turkey is probably the most common mainstay, but some celebrate with a more traditional goose or a game bird instead. The latter are generally not eaten under any other normal circumstances. Goose was the bird of choice in Victorian-era Christmas (described in Creator/CharlesDickens' ''Literature/AChristmasCarol''), but is now uncommon and much more expensive; although, unlike turkey, you don't need time-consuming preparation and careful timing to make sure that it actually tastes of something or require drowning in gravy to give it some moisture (unless you've done the aforementioned time-consuming preparation and careful timing).[[note]]Several culinary authorities on both sides of the Atlantic have expounded at length on the best way to get a perfectly-roasted bird, but this is the essential consensus: (1) ''brine'' the raw turkey for at least a day in a [[CaptainObvious brine]] containing a seemingly-alarming amount of salt for the amount of water, and possibly some other ingredients; (2) do ''not'' stuff the turkey, at least not until it's already done; (3) cook the bird at low temperature, turning and basting every so often, for quite a long time; (4) because the low-and-slow method makes for wonderfully tender and juicy meat but generally doesn't produce a particularly crispy (or even cooked-seeming) skin, brush the skin of the nearly-finished bird with oil and roast at [[OvenLogic incredibly high temperature for an incredibly short period]] to give it that nice colour and crisp texture. Or, you can replace (3) and (4) (and make (2) impossible) by "spatchcocking" the bird, removing the backbone and either removing or breaking the sternum so you can flatten it out and roast it at high temperature for a relatively quick cooking time, but this seriously cuts into the traditions about carving the roast bird, as you won't get the classic "roast bird" shape and will probably have to chop up the meat before it gets to the table rather than at the table as is traditional. There are a lot of variations on the theme, but that's the essence of it. As an aside, goose, duck, and other waterfowl do not require any of this, nor does wild turkey; also, the idea of ''deep frying'' the turkey (which avoids the juiciness problem) has yet to cross from America to Britain, and given that Britons' gardens tend to be rather smaller than Americans' lawns and the risk of [[IncendiaryExponent truly gigantic columnar fires]] from turkey fryers, perhaps this is for the best.[[/note]]

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* ''A great big roast bird:'' Turkey is probably the most common mainstay, but some celebrate with a more traditional goose or a game bird instead. The latter are generally not eaten under any other normal circumstances. Goose was the bird of choice in Victorian-era Christmas (described in Creator/CharlesDickens' ''Literature/AChristmasCarol''), but is now uncommon and much more expensive; although, unlike turkey, you don't need time-consuming preparation and careful timing to make sure that it actually tastes of something or require drowning in gravy to give it some moisture (unless you've done the aforementioned time-consuming preparation and careful timing).[[note]]Several culinary authorities on both sides of the Atlantic have expounded at length on the best way to get a perfectly-roasted bird, but this is the essential consensus: (1) ''brine'' the raw turkey for at least a day in a [[CaptainObvious brine]] containing a seemingly-alarming amount of salt for the amount of water, and possibly some other ingredients; (2) do ''not'' stuff the turkey, at least not until it's already done; (3) cook the bird at low temperature, turning and basting every so often, for quite a long time; (4) because the low-and-slow method makes for wonderfully tender and juicy meat but generally doesn't produce a particularly crispy (or even cooked-seeming) skin, brush the skin of the nearly-finished bird with oil and roast at [[OvenLogic incredibly high temperature for an incredibly short period]] to give it that nice colour and crisp texture. Or, you can replace (3) and (4) (and make violating rule (2) impossible) by "spatchcocking" the bird, removing the backbone and either removing or breaking the sternum so you can flatten it out and roast it at high temperature for a relatively quick cooking time, but this seriously cuts into the traditions about carving the roast bird, as you won't get the classic "roast bird" shape and will probably have to chop up the meat before it gets to the table rather than at the table as is traditional. There are a lot of variations on the theme, but that's the essence of it. As an aside, goose, duck, and other waterfowl do not require any of this, nor does wild turkey; also, the idea of ''deep frying'' the turkey (which avoids the juiciness problem) has yet to cross from America to Britain, and given that Britons' gardens tend to be rather smaller than Americans' lawns and the risk of [[IncendiaryExponent truly gigantic columnar fires]] from turkey fryers, perhaps this is for the best.[[/note]]
7th May '16 8:51:04 PM karstovich2
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** Families beginning to stockpile vast quantities of alcohol, usually in the garage or utility room, as early in the year as September is not unheard of -- commonly champagne, Buck's Fizz, brandy, Bailey's, wines and so forth. Mysteriously, though, by Christmas Day evening every seventh bottle will have transmogrified into certain odd types of liqueur that no one likes and just end up festering malevolently on a shelf somewhere. Forever.[[note]](Or at least until your family produces the oddball uncle/aunt who actually likes it... or a sufficiently desperate youth/alcoholic, but we don't like to talk about that).[[/note]] In UsefulNotes/{{Scotland}}, the whisky will come out (usually some that has been given on the day as a gift), and in the less salubrious quarters the streets will run purple with Buckfast[[note]]A purple-coloured tonic wine made at the abbey in Buckfast, near Buckfastleigh, Devonshire.[[/note]].

to:

** Families beginning to stockpile vast quantities of alcohol, usually in the garage or utility room, as early in the year as September is not unheard of -- commonly champagne, Buck's Fizz, brandy, Bailey's, wines and so forth. Mysteriously, though, by Christmas Day evening every seventh bottle will have transmogrified into certain odd types of liqueur that no one likes and just end up festering malevolently on a shelf somewhere. Forever.[[note]](Or at least until your family produces the oddball uncle/aunt who actually likes it... or a sufficiently desperate youth/alcoholic, but we don't like to talk about that).[[/note]] In UsefulNotes/{{Scotland}}, the whisky will come out (usually some that has been given on the day as a gift), and in the less salubrious quarters the streets will run purple with Buckfast[[note]]A Buckfast.[[note]]A purple-coloured tonic wine "tonic wine" made at the abbey in Buckfast, near Buckfastleigh, Devonshire.[[/note]].Devonshire. Its Scottish consumers are wont to call it "Wreck the Hoose Juice" (where "hoose" is dialectical for "house"), and it has roughly the same reputation that [[ATankardOfMooseUrine Thunderbird, MD 20/20, and Cisco]] have in North America.[[/note]]
7th May '16 8:27:23 PM karstovich2
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** ''Brussels sprouts:'' As in the place in Belgium. Whilst other veg does get served, these are a particular requirement. A green vegetable, essentially miniscule cabbages somewhere between ball bearings and golf balls in size, hardness and edibility -- or reduced to little more than greenish slimy mush if particularly unlucky. People either [[LoveItOrHateIt love or ''really'' hate]] them.[[note]] (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.) Obviously, this only applies if the sprouts are done properly; 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.[[/note]] But it doesn't matter; they're on the plate, and that means today you eat it. %% Previous Tropers have had this problem. Resist the temptation to defend or decry this vegetable.%%

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** ''Brussels sprouts:'' As in the place in Belgium. Whilst other veg does get served, these are a particular requirement. A green vegetable, essentially miniscule cabbages somewhere between ball bearings and golf balls in size, hardness and edibility -- or reduced to little more than greenish slimy mush if particularly unlucky. People either [[LoveItOrHateIt love or ''really'' hate]] them.[[note]] (This [[note]]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.) Obviously, this only applies if the sprouts are done properly; it. "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.[[/note]] But it doesn't matter; they're on the plate, and that means today you eat it. %% Previous Tropers have had this problem. Resist the temptation to defend or decry this vegetable.%%
7th May '16 8:21:16 PM karstovich2
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The general aim 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' 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 things such as burgers and pizzas, all manner of peculiar savoury bites, '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 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 1st December" or similar.\\

to:

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' 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 things such as burgers and pizzas, all manner of peculiar savoury bites, '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 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 1st December" or similar.\\
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