History UsefulNotes / AVeryBritishChristmas

20th Feb '17 4:52:34 PM nombretomado
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* ''The Queen's Speech.'' More formally known as the Royal Christmas Message and originated by [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfWindsor George V]] in 1932 (you can see a dramatization of him doing it in ''Film/TheKingsSpeech''), it's broadcast on the terrestrial TV channels BBC One and [=ITV=] at 3pm and is basically [[UsefulNotes/HMTheQueen the Queen]] making a short to-camera speech to the country and UsefulNotes/TheCommonwealth (over clips of her doing things, media footage etc.) on the events of the year. Political opinions will be of the neutral, non-party political variety (along the lines of "People died. That's bad."). While it was originally presented live, it has since become a pre-recorded message and the Queen has been dubbed "One-Take Windsor" by various camera crews for the minimal amount of fuss it takes to shoot the speech. Once, the text was leaked to [[BritishNewspapers tabloid newspaper]] ''The Sun''; despite the alleged shock, the world kept turning -- the monarch will always say broadly the same things anyway, and no-one really imagines she just gets up from the table, wipes mince pie crumbs from her chin, quickly swaps a paper crown with her tiara and delivers a live off-the-cuff monologue to her subjects. Nowadays the Queen, technophile that she is, spreads the message on the royal Website/YouTube and via podcast as well as on TV. In 2012's broadcast, she appeared for the first time in 3D!\\

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* ''The Queen's Speech.'' More formally known as the Royal Christmas Message and originated by [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfWindsor George V]] in 1932 (you can see a dramatization of him doing it in ''Film/TheKingsSpeech''), it's broadcast on the terrestrial TV channels BBC One and [=ITV=] at 3pm and is basically [[UsefulNotes/HMTheQueen the Queen]] making a short to-camera speech to the country and UsefulNotes/TheCommonwealth (over clips of her doing things, media footage etc.) on the events of the year. Political opinions will be of the neutral, non-party political variety (along the lines of "People died. That's bad."). While it was originally presented live, it has since become a pre-recorded message and the Queen has been dubbed "One-Take Windsor" by various camera crews for the minimal amount of fuss it takes to shoot the speech. Once, the text was leaked to [[BritishNewspapers [[UsefulNotes/BritishNewspapers tabloid newspaper]] ''The Sun''; despite the alleged shock, the world kept turning -- the monarch will always say broadly the same things anyway, and no-one really imagines she just gets up from the table, wipes mince pie crumbs from her chin, quickly swaps a paper crown with her tiara and delivers a live off-the-cuff monologue to her subjects. Nowadays the Queen, technophile that she is, spreads the message on the royal Website/YouTube and via podcast as well as on TV. In 2012's broadcast, she appeared for the first time in 3D!\\
15th Jan '17 3:46:52 AM LondonKdS
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* Already bastions of misery and despair, the soap operas of terrestrial television (''Series/EastEnders'' and ''Series/CoronationStreet'' to name two) celebrate Christmas by sharply increasing the sheer amount of suffering that they inflict on their characters. Entire families gather around the tele-box to see who dies, who breaks up with who and which Christmas party is blown up by a freak lawnmower accident. This has a trope all of its own: SoaplandChristmas.

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* Already bastions of misery and despair, the soap operas of terrestrial television (''Series/EastEnders'' and ''Series/CoronationStreet'' to name two) celebrate Christmas by sharply increasing the [[TwistedChristmas sheer amount of suffering suffering]] that they inflict on their characters. Entire families gather around the tele-box to see who dies, who breaks up with who and which Christmas party is blown up by a freak lawnmower accident. This has a trope all of its own: SoaplandChristmas.
7th Jan '17 1:41:33 PM DaibhidC
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* British families don't leave him milk and cookies, they leave him mince pies (a small, bite-sized shortcrust pie filled with "mincemeat", which despite the name[[note]](a last remnant of ''meat'' meaning 'food' and not 'animal flesh' specifically, although it did contain meat as recently as the 19th century; as with many British culinary changes in the 20th century, rationing during one of the World Wars is probably responsible)[[/note]] generally contains spiced fruit) and a glass of something like sherry or brandy. No we can't explain why he doesn't end up being arrested, having been found inebriated after crashing his sleigh somewhere in Surrey. One or more carrots may be provided for the reindeer. Whisk(e)y is of course his preferred drink in Scotland, Ireland and anywhere you find Brits whose family were originally either Scots or Irish. His favoured tipple also tends to be suspiciously similar to that of your father. Funny that.

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* British families don't [[LeavingFoodForSanta leave him milk and cookies, cookies]], they leave him mince pies (a small, bite-sized shortcrust pie filled with "mincemeat", which despite the name[[note]](a last remnant of ''meat'' meaning 'food' and not 'animal flesh' specifically, although it did contain meat as recently as the 19th century; as with many British culinary changes in the 20th century, rationing during one of the World Wars is probably responsible)[[/note]] generally contains spiced fruit) and a glass of something like sherry or brandy. No we can't explain why he doesn't end up being arrested, having been found inebriated after crashing his sleigh somewhere in Surrey. One or more carrots may be provided for the reindeer. Whisk(e)y is of course his preferred drink in Scotland, Ireland and anywhere you find Brits whose family were originally either Scots or Irish. His favoured tipple also tends to be suspiciously similar to that of your father. Funny that.
29th Dec '16 6:11:47 PM VelvetAndroid
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There's a core of roughly thirty songs that are regularly heard; and ten or so of these you'll encounter ''everywhere'', for the whole of December at the very least. For many, the 'official' start of the festive period is the first time[[note]]2010 sighting: October 31st[[/note]] one hears the distinctive rasp of Music/{{Slade}} singer Noddy Holder on their 1973 classic "Merry Xmas Everybody", perhaps the most pervasive of all of them. Until this moment it's just a few pretty lights and stars festooning the shops; after you've heard Uncle Noddy bellow the sandpaper-throated clarion call ''[[AC:"It's Chriiisstmaaaass!!!"]]'', however, it's open season -- albeit with the traditional response, "No, it's ''not''. It's December 2nd/the middle of flippin' November/''October''"… delete as applicable to your cynicism. Just about every song in this category is an {{earworm}}, of course. Since 2006, when all digital downloads became eligible for the UK singles chart, a slew of these decades-old favourites have returned annually to the Top 40, the pack invariably led by two of the most recent: bittersweet 1987 classic "Fairytale of New York" by Music/ThePogues with [[Music/KirstyMaccoll Kirsty [=MacColl=]]], and Music/MariahCarey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You". There might be an AntiChristmasSong or two out there as well most years, trying in vain to balance out the effect of the rest.

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There's a core of roughly thirty songs that are regularly heard; and ten or so of these you'll encounter ''everywhere'', for the whole of December at the very least. For many, the 'official' start of the festive period is the first time[[note]]2010 sighting: October 31st[[/note]] one hears the distinctive rasp of Music/{{Slade}} singer Noddy Holder on their 1973 classic "Merry Xmas Everybody", perhaps the most pervasive of all of them. Until this moment it's just a few pretty lights and stars festooning the shops; after you've heard Uncle Noddy bellow the sandpaper-throated clarion call ''[[AC:"It's Chriiisstmaaaass!!!"]]'', however, it's open season -- albeit with the traditional response, "No, it's ''not''. It's December 2nd/the the 1st of December/the middle of flippin' November/''October''"… delete as applicable to your cynicism. Just about every song in this category is an {{earworm}}, of course. Since 2006, when all digital downloads became eligible for the UK singles chart, a slew of these decades-old favourites have returned annually to the Top 40, the pack invariably led by two of the most recent: bittersweet 1987 classic "Fairytale of New York" by Music/ThePogues with [[Music/KirstyMaccoll Kirsty [=MacColl=]]], and Music/MariahCarey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You". There Most years there might be an AntiChristmasSong or two out there released as well most years, well, trying in vain to balance out the effect of the rest.



'''Caroling.''' Only mentioned in the case that it's ''very uncommon.'' No matter where you are in the UK it's bloody cold at Christmas, but not quite cold enough to get the warming, blanketing effect you get with snow. Caroling for charity donations may be organised by some churches, and that's because it's a huge effort to wander around in the dark with light drizzle running down your neck, getting about 30 pence per house if they answer the door at all.

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'''Caroling.''' Only mentioned in the case that it's ''very uncommon.'' uncommon'' to see real, live ChristmasCarolers. No matter where you are in the UK it's bloody cold at Christmas, by mid-December, but not quite cold enough to get the warming, blanketing effect you get with snow. Caroling for charity donations may be organised by some churches, and that's because it's a huge effort to wander around in the dark with light drizzle running down your neck, getting about 30 pence per house if they answer the door at all.



[[folder:Small Traditions]]

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[[folder:Small [[folder:Miscellaneous Traditions]]



'''Stir-Up Sunday'''. This tradition is carried out around one week before Advent, or sometimes as early as several months before December even begins. It is the day when most people begin preparing their Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings (see the section on 'Food', below). During Stir-Up Sunday, the ingredients are combined into a mixture and then baked or steamed, respectively. The resulting confection ''looks'' like the final product, yet "has" to steep and soak through with alcohol for the remainder of the run up to Christmas so that by December 25th one mouthful could floor a horse, meaning it is ready for serving.

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'''Stir-Up Sunday'''. This tradition is carried out around one week before Advent, or sometimes as early as several months before December even begins. It is the day when most people begin preparing their Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings (see the section on 'Food', below). During Stir-Up Sunday, the ingredients are combined into a mixture and then baked or steamed, respectively. The resulting confection ''looks'' like the final product, yet "has" 'has' to steep and soak through with alcohol for the remainder of the run up to Christmas so that by December 25th one mouthful could floor a horse, meaning it is ready for serving.



'''The Nativity Play'''. As Britain doesn't have the "separation of Church and State" of the US, it is common for primary schools (ages 4-11) to present a Nativity Play -- basically a kids' version of the Birth of Christ. Various roles are handed out, from Mary and Joseph down through the Three Kings and various Shepherds, an Innkeeper or two, the Star and so on all the way to the Donkeys, Sheep etc. ''Film/LoveActually'''s 'Third Lobster' ''probably'' hasn't happened, but the need to involve all kids means it can only be a matter of time. Much jealousy will be had over the choice of the Virgin Mary, not least among parents: "Little Bethany is every bit as good as Alice, but her parents invited the Head for drinks last year". Depending on the ethnic diversity of the school, the only black kid in the school will be the Second King (always the second). Tea towels and sheets are pressed into service for costumes, making it look like Roman-occupied Israel relied on Tesco's home furnishings department for clothing. Even the most atheist of parents will smile as their little Jonny recites his praise of the Baby Jesus (always a doll, for obvious reasons) like a [[Series/DoctorWho Dalek]] who has a speech impediment.

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'''The Nativity Play'''. As Britain doesn't have the "separation of Church and State" of the US, it is common for primary schools (ages 4-11) to present a Nativity Play -- basically a [[SchoolPlay kids' version dramatic version]] of the Birth of Christ. Various roles are handed out, from Mary and Joseph down through the Three Kings and various Shepherds, an Innkeeper or two, the Star and so on all the way to the Donkeys, Sheep etc. ''Film/LoveActually'''s 'Third Lobster' ''probably'' hasn't happened, but the need to involve all kids means it can only be a matter of time. Much jealousy will be had over the choice of the Virgin Mary, not least among parents: "Little Bethany is every bit as good as Alice, but her parents invited the Head for drinks last year". Depending on the ethnic diversity of the school, the only black kid in the school will be the Second King (always the second). Tea towels and sheets are pressed into service for costumes, making it look like Roman-occupied Israel relied on Tesco's home furnishings department for clothing. Even the most atheist of parents will smile as their little Jonny recites his praise of the Baby Jesus (always a doll, for obvious reasons) like a [[Series/DoctorWho Dalek]] who has a speech impediment.



Last thing on Christmas Eve there's 'Midnight Mass' to see in Christmas over midnight, like a sort of Anglican/Catholic hogmanay. In The Church of UsefulNotes/{{Scotland}} it's quite a big deal, it's called Watch-night and because of the way the Kirk is there it's not mass. Midnight Mass is attended by large numbers of people both young and old; some families bring their younger children, with the intent of tiring them out enough that they're too exhausted to wake up screaming for presents at 5:30 the next morning.

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On Christmas Eve evening comes the Crib Service, another children-centric service, which sees the 'Blessing of the Crib' and where the church's Nativity crib scene is completed as a Baby Jesus figure is placed in the manger. May well be standing room only, as it's quite short, the carols are familiar and easy "Away In A Manger"-type, it doesn't involve either staying up late or getting up on Christmas morning, and the timing means kids can be packed off to bed after getting home from it.

Last thing on Christmas Eve there's 'Midnight Mass' to see in Christmas the Yuletide over midnight, like a sort of Anglican/Catholic hogmanay. In The Church of UsefulNotes/{{Scotland}} it's quite a big deal, it's called Watch-night and because of the way the Kirk is there it's not mass. Midnight Mass is attended by large numbers of people both young and old; some families bring their still wide-eyed younger children, with the intent of tiring them out enough that they're too exhausted to wake up screaming for presents at 5:30 the next morning.



'''"Father Christmas"''', these days, is just another (somewhat old fashioned) name for SantaClaus. Originally, he was a separate figure of the "Old Man Winter" tradition -- i.e. the 'Spirit of Winter/Christmas' who should be welcomed into homes and plied with food and drink. Though this has died out in favour of the modern St Nick, there are two key differences between American Santa traditions, and British ones:

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'''"Father Christmas"''', these days, is just another (somewhat old fashioned) name for SantaClaus. Originally, he was a separate figure of the "Old 'Old Man Winter" Winter' tradition -- i.e. the 'Spirit Spirit of Winter/Christmas' Winter/Christmas who should be welcomed into homes and plied with food and drink. Though this has died out in favour of the modern St Nick, there are two key differences between American Santa traditions, and British ones:



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 versions of 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 people's freezers past June, but at least 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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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, all manner of peculiar savoury 'bites', 'luxury "luxury biscuit assortment' 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 at least 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 12th December" or similar.\\similar.



* ''A great big roast bird:'' Turkey is the most common mainstay, but some celebrate with a more traditional goose or a game bird instead, 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, nor does it require drowning in gravy to give it some moisture.[[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]]
* ''Other meats:'' Depending on the number of people in attendance, a roast joint of meat or some other centrepiece dish may also be presented: beef joints or various pig products (gammon/ham, pork etc.) are common, and arguably an older tradition than the turkey. (This is alluded to in Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}''). If you're not of the meat-eating kind then woe betide you, you'll have to make do with a hastily purchased and overdone nut roast. A meat pie is another staple, as is the beef Wellington, a slab of roast beef wrapped in pastry, with a mushroom and cream stuffing. In coastal communities, a fish is common. In Mousehole, Cornwall, the 23rd of December is celebrated as Tom Bawcock's Eve, after a heroic fisherman who put out during a storm and managed to catch enough fish to lift a famine, and the traditional "Stargazy pie" (so called because it features fish heads poking upwards out the crust, a creepy spectacle for some) is sometimes also served on Christmas Day.
** ''Pigs in blankets'' are a popular secondary meat feature, consisting of sausages wrapped in bacon. They are well-worth trying.
* ''Sides:'' Of course, all large offerings of meat require something to go with them to offset the sheer amount of protein involved. Here's a few accompaniments:
** ''Sauce:'' As in North America, cranberry sauce is a traditional accompaniment to turkey if your family is aware of it; when they're not you'll get bread sauce, a lumpen whitish savoury concoction from medieval times which does indeed contain bread. The binding element to all dinners though is gravy, usually required when dining on drier meats like turkey or beef. Most of the time outside of Christmas, instant gravy is usually used, but more people opt to make it the traditional way when it comes to the Christmas dinner, from the meat juices, some flour and the meaty residues and fat stuck to the roasting tin.
** ''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.
*** ''Roast parsnips:'' A root vegetable served alongside the other roast stuff. If done right, they come out looking similar to chips (fries, if you're American). If done wrong, they will often come out badly burnt and singed. Most people don't mind that much anyway.
*** ''Mashed potato:'' Don't ask. It's just sort of ''there''; bonus stodge, if you will. On Christmas, potatoes aren't the only vegetable that gets mashed: swede, carrot and sweet potato mash are alternative fare at the table, each tasting very different to each other.
** ''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. %%
** ''Yorkshire pudding:'' The Yorkshire pudding is a humble thing, bowl shaped and made out of batter, which rises while being baked in the oven. The traditional accompaniment to roast beef, usually used to hold a small amount of meat or gravy, but some throw them in with Christmas dinner too, because what's a seventh helping of carbs between friends eh?
* ''Christmas pudding:'' Also known as "plum pudding" or "figgy pudding".[[note]]In Britain, many things are called "pudding" which bear no resemblance to what Americans and Canadians would describe as such -- or, for that matter, to each other. Historically, it meant any number of dishes produced by taking a paste or liquid mixture, stuffing it into a sausage casing (i.e. the inner lining of a sheep's small intestine), and then baking, boiling, or steaming the result until the mixture sets into a softish solid. Eventually, the terminology extended to dishes that began with a similar mixture but were stuffed into a cloth lining rather than animal guts. From there, the meaning of the word diverged; since many of these things were sweet mixtures, any sweet dish that sets after boiling, baking, or steaming became known as a "pudding" -- but so too did many savoury dishes that happen to be baked, steamed, or boiled and also take the shape of their casing or container, e.g. Yorkshire pudding as mentioned just above, or the blood sausage known as 'black pudding'.[[/note]] It's a very dark, rich suet pudding (a bulbous sort of dense, curranty booze-soaked steamed spice cake) with a lot of dried fruit, nuts and alcohol, generally cooked by steaming the mixture in a cloth wrapping or sack. May contain silver [[UsefulNotes/OldBritishMoney sixpences]] (no longer legal tender) to give luck and major dental damage to whoever finds the damned things. Tradition is to pour yet more alcohol, usually brandy, over it once more for good luck immediately before serving and then set the whole thing alight for a bit with all the lights turned off. Providing fabrics, hair and especially eyebrows are covered, you don't trip bringing it in and everyone maintains an 8ft blast radius, this will safely provoke "oohs" and "aahs" and add those pleasingly tangy top notes of ethanol and charcoal. If this has an ancient meaning, most have forgotten it. Christmas pudding can be made at home, but are usually bought beforehand -- expensive London department store [[BritishBusinesses Harrods]]' puddings are considered the best pre-made. If made at home, it will have been done so ''either'' according to a centuries-old recipe passed down from mother to daughter, ''or'', more usually, borrowed from a celebrated TV chef's recently purchased Christmas-themed cookbook. Traditionally the mix is, um, mixed over a month before the eating date, on 'Stir-Up Sunday', the last Sunday before the season of Advent -- with everyone in the family taking a turn at stirring the pudding, starting with the oldest member and finishing with the youngest, and each person making a private wish. The truly dedicated, however, make their Christmas pudding (and occasionally the cake; see below) around this time the ''year before'' it is due to be eaten, to give it a full twelvemonth to 'mature'. Whether this improves the flavour is always strongly debated. In the weeks/months between making and serving, the pudding must be 'fed' (i.e. lovingly doused in alcohol) periodically. As Christmas puddings are thereby effectively pickled from within, they just never go off; since they also tend to be kind of dense and huge, it's thus an unofficial tradition to have a good deal left in a tin for most of the rest of the year.
** Can be served with cream or ice-cream, but most 'traditionally' with ''brandy butter'' (also known as hard sauce), a dietician's nightmare made from brandy (surprisingly), butter (ditto) and sugar (plot twist), of similar consistency to ice-cream but not as cold. One of those peculiarly festive foodstuffs that only seems to manifest in our universe in the run-up to Christmas, although leftover pots can be glimpsed as late as mid-January before they scurry off to whatever dimension they spend the rest of the year hibernating in. An alternative is rum sauce (sweet white sauce with rum). Combine cream, rum sauce and brandy butter for the ultimate cholesterol nightmare and maximum deliciousness.
* ''Christmas cake[[note]]([[ChristmasCake no, not this kind]])[[/note]]:'' A dark fruitcake covered thickly in marzipan and then white icing (frosting), often whipped into a stiff snowscape. For this 'royal icing' tends to be used, which includes egg whites so it sets more crunchily and solidly than regular icing (anywhere on a scale from 'fetch the hacksaw' to 'industrial laser required'), and into which may be cemented small decorative Santas, reindeer, robins, holly leaves, 'Happy Christmas' signs, snowmen etc. These models will be of varying antiquity and wildly out of scale, hence scenes with Santa being menaced by a ten-foot robin and the like. Christmas cake is [[LoveItOrHateIt widely considered inedible yet equally widely considered delicious]], much like its puddingy sibling: most slices have to be forcibly and messily dismembered for the benefit of that one person who wants marzipan but hates icing, the one who wants icing but hates marzipan, the one who wants both but hates the cake, etc. As with Christmas pudding, best made to a murkily specific ancestral recipe -- the only constants seem to involve the whole family stirring it, and the thing needing to be stuck in a low oven for anywhere up to about 48 hours. Simply called fruitcake in the US, much the same tradition except nobody cooks it and everybody hates it.
** When marzipan isn't an option (because everybody in the entire family hates it, except for that one aunt), the aforementioned brandy butter may be used instead. Then nobody has an excuse not to get drunk; again it's "tradition".
** Once again as with Christmas pudding, it's traditional to make the cake quite some time before Christmas, stow it in an old tin in a cupboard, and 'feed' it brandy/rum/whisky/port/[[GargleBlaster Old Hoggard's Brainrotter]] until Christmas Day to "stop it drying out". This is to let the flavours mature and ensure it is soft and moist. However as it's traditional to bake it as distantly as [[BankHolidays Guy Fawkes Night]] (the fifth of November) or even earlier and give it up to a tablespoon of booze per day this can result in a confection which ''bleeds'' brandy when you cut through the icing and has to be kept well away from naked flames.
** As an alternative for people who prefer sponge to fruit cake, there's also Yule Log: basically a giant chocolate Swiss roll topped with very thick, very rich chocolate ganache, with icing sugar as a smattering of 'snow'. Can be served with ice-cream to make extra certain of dental devastation. The 'Yule Log' derives from a gigantic log that was the mainstay of the fire in the main hearth for all twelve days of Christmas. The modern Yule Log does not burn nearly so well and lasts only about 2 hours, but is very much more edible.
** Another odd and occasional visitor to the dinner table, usually served for either the kids or for people who aren't keen on the Cake/Pudding, is Baked Alaska: a marvellous concoction of caramel, thick and gloopy Italian meringue and ice cream. Like a Christmas pudding, the Baked Alaska is given a dosage of brandy and set alight via a blowtorch just before serving, so that the meringue on the outside turns a delicious light brown colour. Those who are adept at producing the dessert are able to create a perfect synergy between the crunchy meringue exterior and still-frozen ice cream within. Those who are less experienced often turn the previously proud looking confection into little more than a molten mess of flaming alcohol and sugary mush.

* The main meal is usually the time for pulling Christmas crackers: if you've read ''Literature/HarryPotter'', you'll be familiar with these, although the Potter characters receive much more spectacular versions. Basically a cardboard tube with two twisted ends requiring two people to pull, one from either end until it breaks in half and a little firework (little more than a popcap) goes bang and whoever gets the longest part of the tube gets to keep what's inside. You might consider that a mini tug-of-war and there's a winner, but nobody wins when it comes to this. Contents of the cracker typically are made up of a colourful but delicate as hell crepe-paper 'crown', some cheap plastic bit of junk and a piece of paper with a very poor joke written in [[BlindIdiotTranslation Chinglish]]. These jokes are almost a trope of their own in that they are ''expected'' to be bad -- often by way of a bad pun. To find a genuinely funny joke in a cracker would be a grave disappointment and may even ruin someone's Christmas. It is [[BlatantLies a legal requirement under the Christmas Act 1972]] that each person dining at the table wear the paper hat, despite the fact that they look ridiculous. These are meant to represent the crowns worn by the Three Kings, or the crown of thorns worn by Jesus at His crucifixion. Or something. If they have drunk the right amount it won't actually matter.
** It has been seriously, academically suggested that people ''prefer'' bad cracker jokes[[note]]("so these two crackers walk into a bar..." -- ''no not that kind'')[[/note]] to good ones because that way [[BlackSheep one person]] (you know the one, that second cousin who everyone vaguely suspects got [[ChildhoodBrainDamage dropped on his head as a child]]) doesn't suffer the mortifying indignity of being LateToThePunchline. Genuine studies have shown that group togetherness is fostered by this shared groaning at the 'joke', in a way that simply wouldn't happen if some found it funny and some didn't. So yes, science has proven that bad jokes are the royal icing binding families together during this time. Aww.
* Throughout all this feasting and merriment, it is traditional (at least in most of England) to be as drunk as you possibly can, while still able to sit up and eat. Obviously, all the prior examples of sticking alcohol in foodstuffs helps, but true drunkenness requires actual alcoholic ''drinks''. Buck's Fizz (orange juice and champagne; much like a mimosa except with more juice) and Bailey's Irish cream are traditional Christmas beverages, started as early as over breakfast. And that's just the fluids; the food itself, as shown above, will attempt to inebriate you as quickly as possible too.
** Another traditional Christmas drink, at least in the south-east is the "snowball", which consists of a creamy liqueur from UsefulNotes/TheNetherlands named Advocaat (roughly the [[ThePond Rightpondian version]] of eggnog[[note]](standard American eggnog is ''supposed'' to include whiskey or brandy -- both for the purposes of intoxication and to reduce the risks of drinking something containing raw egg; yes, eggnog is supposed to contain raw egg: see ''Series/GoodEats'' episode 913 -- though this is often forgotten. Blame Prohibition.) [[/note]]) mixed with lemonade to dilute it, followed by further dilution with freshly crushed ice, plus a dusting of icing sugar to achieve that 'snowy effect'. This cocktail is fondly enjoyed by both adults and children, seeing how at Christmas the drinking age seems to drop to about 5 so long as you're in the house and out of sight.[[note]](In point of fact, [[BritishLaws the legal drinking age in the United Kingdom]] ''[[BritishLaws is]]'' [[BritishLaws 5]], if the child is at home and under parental supervision or equivalent. [[MichaelCaine Not many]] [[BeamMeUpScotty people know that]]. Or care for that matter.)[[/note]] Despite this it's rather strong, so it's considered wise not to mix it with anything else and to take a break every two glasses. (During this break, we suggest a glass of Buck's Fizz, as it has fruit in it so it's not ''proper'' alcohol.)
** 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. 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]]
** In most houses, a cabinet, dresser or display case (or a space under the stairs if a cabinet will not suffice) will usually have its lower compartments dedicated to mature spirits and port, a kind of fortified red wine that is usually drunk around the time of the Christmas season.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Family Traditions]]
'''Family traditions'''. Expect feelings to run high over the proper time for eating the Christmas meal; whether the Christmas tree should be real or artificial, lit or unlit, whether the lights should be [[http://www.emaildiscussions.com/showpost.php?p=492825&postcount=5 bulbs or LEDs]], and whether they should be white, single-colour or multicoloured (the giant Trafalgar Square tree in central London, effectively the 'nation's Christmas tree', used to have multicoloured lights, but now it has white ones because that's the tradition in Norway, the annual donors of the tree); when children get to open their first presents; whether they arrive in a stocking, a pillowcase, or just in a pile under the tree (the presents, not the children... unless the Christmas cake was particularly brandy-rich that year) or more than one of the above; whether family parlour games and carol singing are jolly fun or hell incarnate; and whether everyone other than the official cook goes to the pub while the dinner is prepared, or mucks in to help peel potatoes. Do not expect any two sets of in-laws to have traditions that match even slightly. (To get the general idea, read Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'').

'''Christmas television'''. Viewing schedules will be crammed with [[ChristmasEpisode Christmas Specials]]: that is (partially) stand-alone Christmas episodes of programmes, the occasional [[ChristmasSpecial festive variety show]], clip/compilation/best-of shows, and other quirks of the season. A recent tradition has been to repeat much of last year's 'new' Christmas programming on the few days either side of December 25th.

to:

* ''A
'''A
great big roast bird:'' bird:''' Turkey is the most common mainstay, but some celebrate with a more traditional goose or a game bird instead, 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, nor does it require drowning in gravy to give it some moisture.[[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]]
* ''Other meats:''
[[/note]]

'''Other meats:'''
Depending on the number of people in attendance, a roast joint of meat or some other centrepiece dish may also be presented: beef joints or various pig products (gammon/ham, pork etc.) are common, and arguably an older tradition than the turkey. (This is alluded to in Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}''). If you're not of the meat-eating kind then woe betide you, you'll have to make do with a hastily purchased and overdone nut roast. A meat pie is another staple, as is the beef Wellington, a slab of roast beef wrapped in pastry, with a mushroom and cream stuffing. In coastal communities, a fish is common. In Mousehole, Cornwall, the 23rd of December is celebrated as Tom Bawcock's Eve, after a heroic fisherman who put out during a storm and managed to catch enough fish to lift a famine, and the traditional "Stargazy pie" (so called because it features fish heads poking upwards out the crust, a creepy spectacle for some) is sometimes also served on Christmas Day.
** ''Pigs * '''Pigs in blankets'' blankets''' are a popular secondary meat feature, consisting of sausages wrapped in bacon. They are well-worth trying.
* ''Sides:''
well worth trying.

'''Sides:'''
Of course, all large offerings of meat require something to go with them to offset the sheer amount of protein involved. Here's a few accompaniments:
** ''Sauce:'' * '''Sauce:''' As in North America, cranberry sauce is a traditional accompaniment to turkey if your family is aware of it; when they're not you'll get bread sauce, a lumpen whitish savoury concoction from medieval times which does indeed contain bread. The binding element to all dinners though is gravy, usually required when dining on drier meats like turkey or beef. Most of the time outside of Christmas, instant gravy is usually used, but more people opt to make it the traditional way when it comes to the Christmas dinner, from the meat juices, some flour and the meaty residues and fat stuck to the roasting tin.
** ''Roast potatoes:'' * '''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.
*** ''Roast parsnips:'' * '''Roast parsnips:''' A root vegetable served alongside the other roast stuff. If done right, they come out looking similar to chips (fries, if you're American). If done wrong, they will often come out badly burnt and singed. Most people don't mind that much anyway.
*** ''Mashed potato:'' * '''Mashed potato:''' Don't ask. It's just sort of ''there''; bonus stodge, if you will. On Christmas, potatoes aren't the only vegetable that gets mashed: swede, carrot and sweet potato mash are alternative fare at the table, each tasting very different to each other.
** ''Brussels sprouts:'' * '''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. %%
** ''Yorkshire pudding:'' * '''Yorkshire pudding:''' The Yorkshire pudding pud is a humble thing, bowl shaped and made out of batter, which rises while being baked in the oven. The It is the traditional accompaniment to roast beef, usually used to hold a small amount of meat or gravy, but some throw them in with Christmas dinner too, too -- because what's a seventh helping of carbs between friends eh?
* ''Christmas pudding:''
eh?

'''Christmas pudding:'''
Also known as "plum pudding" or "figgy pudding".[[note]]In Britain, many things are called "pudding" which bear no resemblance to what Americans and Canadians would describe as such -- or, for that matter, to each other. Historically, it meant any number of dishes produced by taking a paste or liquid mixture, stuffing it into a sausage casing (i.e. the inner lining of a sheep's small intestine), and then baking, boiling, or steaming the result until the mixture sets into a softish solid. Eventually, the terminology extended to dishes that began with a similar mixture but were stuffed into a cloth lining rather than animal guts. From there, the meaning of the word diverged; since many of these things were sweet mixtures, any sweet dish that sets after boiling, baking, or steaming became known as a "pudding" -- but so too did many savoury dishes that happen to be baked, steamed, or boiled and also take the shape of their casing or container, e.g. Yorkshire pudding as mentioned just above, or the blood sausage known as 'black pudding'.[[/note]] It's a very dark, rich rich, curranty, spiced, booze-soaked suet pudding (a dense, bulbous sort of dense, curranty booze-soaked steamed spice cake) cakey thing) made with a lot of dried fruit, nuts and alcohol, generally cooked by steaming the mixture in a cloth wrapping or sack. pudding basin for hours on end. May contain silver [[UsefulNotes/OldBritishMoney sixpences]] (no longer legal tender) to give luck and major dental damage to whoever finds bites into the damned things. Tradition is to pour yet more alcohol, usually brandy, over it once more for good luck immediately before serving serving, darken the room and then set the whole thing alight for a bit with all the lights turned off. spectacular entrance. Providing fabrics, hair and especially eyebrows are covered, you don't trip bringing it in and everyone maintains an 8ft blast radius, this will safely provoke "oohs" and "aahs" and add those pleasingly tangy top notes top-notes of ethanol and charcoal. If this has an ancient meaning, most have forgotten it. \\
Christmas pudding puds can be made at home, but are usually bought beforehand -- expensive London department store [[BritishBusinesses Harrods]]' puddings are considered the best pre-made. If made at home, homemade, it will have been done so ''either'' according to a centuries-old recipe passed down from mother to daughter, ''or'', more usually, borrowed from a celebrated TV chef's recently purchased Christmas-themed cookbook.cookbook by some celebrated TV chef. Traditionally the mix is, um, mixed over a month before the eating date, on 'Stir-Up Sunday', the last Sunday before the season of Advent -- with everyone in the family taking a turn at stirring the pudding, starting with the oldest member and finishing with the youngest, and each person making a private wish. The truly dedicated, however, make their Christmas pudding (and occasionally the cake; see below) around this time the ''year before'' it is due to be eaten, to give it a full twelvemonth to 'mature'. Whether this improves the flavour is always strongly debated. In the weeks/months between making and serving, the pudding must be 'fed' (i.e. lovingly doused in alcohol) periodically. As Christmas puddings are thereby thus effectively pickled from within, they just never go off; since they also tend to be kind of dense and huge, it's thus an unofficial tradition to have a good deal left in a tin for most of the rest of the year.
** * Can be served with cream or ice-cream, but most 'traditionally' with ''brandy butter'' '''brandy butter''' (also known as hard sauce), a dietician's nightmare made from brandy (surprisingly), butter (ditto) and sugar (plot twist), of similar consistency to ice-cream but not as cold. One of those peculiarly festive foodstuffs that only seems to manifest in our universe in the run-up to Christmas, although leftover pots can be glimpsed as late as mid-January before they scurry off to whatever dimension they spend the rest of the year hibernating in. An alternative is rum sauce (sweet white sauce with rum). Combine cream, rum sauce and brandy butter for the ultimate cholesterol nightmare and maximum deliciousness. \n* ''Christmas

'''Christmas
cake[[note]]([[ChristmasCake no, not this kind]])[[/note]]:'' kind]])[[/note]]:''' A dark fruitcake covered thickly in marzipan and then white icing (frosting), often whipped into a stiff snowscape. For this 'royal icing' tends to be used, which includes egg whites so it sets more crunchily and solidly than regular icing (anywhere on a scale from 'fetch the hacksaw' to 'industrial laser required'), and into which may be cemented small decorative Santas, reindeer, robins, holly leaves, 'Happy Christmas' signs, snowmen etc. may be cemented. These models will be of varying antiquity and wildly out of scale, hence scenes with of Santa being menaced by a ten-foot robin and the like. Christmas cake is [[LoveItOrHateIt widely considered inedible yet equally widely considered delicious]], much like its puddingy sibling: most slices have to be forcibly and messily dismembered for the benefit of that one person who wants marzipan but hates icing, the one who wants icing but hates marzipan, the one who wants both but hates the cake, etc. As with Christmas pudding, best made to a murkily specific ancestral recipe -- the only constants seem to involve the whole family stirring it, and the thing needing to be stuck in a low oven for anywhere up to about 48 hours. Simply called fruitcake in the US, much the same tradition except nobody cooks it and everybody hates it.
** * When marzipan isn't an option (because everybody in the entire family hates it, except for that one aunt), the aforementioned brandy butter may be used instead. Then nobody has an excuse not to get drunk; again it's "tradition".
** * Once again as with Christmas pudding, it's traditional to make the cake quite some time before Christmas, stow it in an old tin in a cupboard, and 'feed' it brandy/rum/whisky/port/[[GargleBlaster Old Hoggard's Brainrotter]] until Christmas Day to "stop it drying out". This is to let the flavours mature and ensure it is soft and moist. However as it's traditional to bake it as distantly as [[BankHolidays Guy Fawkes Night]] (the fifth of November) or even earlier and give it up to a tablespoon of booze per day this can result in a confection which ''bleeds'' brandy when you cut through the icing and has to be kept well away from naked flames.
** * As an alternative for people who prefer sponge to fruit cake, there's also Yule Log: '''Yule Log''': basically a giant chocolate Swiss roll topped with very thick, very rich chocolate ganache, with icing sugar as a smattering of 'snow'. Can be served with ice-cream to make extra certain of dental devastation. The 'Yule Log' derives from a gigantic log that was the mainstay of the fire in the main hearth for all twelve days of Christmas. The modern Yule Log does not burn nearly so well and lasts only about 2 hours, but is very much more edible.
** * Another odd and occasional visitor to the dinner table, usually served for either the kids or for people who aren't keen on the Cake/Pudding, is Baked Alaska: a marvellous concoction of caramel, thick and gloopy Italian meringue and ice cream. Like a Christmas pudding, the Baked Alaska is given a dosage of brandy and set alight via a blowtorch just before serving, so that the meringue on the outside turns a delicious light brown colour. Those who are adept at producing the dessert are able to create a perfect synergy between the crunchy meringue exterior and still-frozen ice cream within. Those who are less experienced often turn the previously proud looking confection into little more than a molten mess of flaming alcohol and sugary mush.

*
mush.[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fun, Frolics and Family]]
The main meal is usually the time for pulling Christmas crackers: '''Christmas crackers''': if you've read ''Literature/HarryPotter'', you'll be familiar with these, although the Potter characters receive much more spectacular versions. Basically a cardboard tube with two twisted ends requiring two people to pull, one from either end end, until it breaks in half and a little firework (little more than a popcap) goes bang and whoever gets the longest part of the tube gets to keep what's inside. You might consider that this a mini tug-of-war and that there's a winner, but nobody wins when it comes to this.these. Contents of the cracker typically are made up of a colourful but delicate as hell crepe-paper 'crown', some cheap plastic bit of junk and a piece of paper with a very poor joke written in [[BlindIdiotTranslation Chinglish]]. These jokes are almost a trope of their own in that they are ''expected'' to be bad -- often by way of a bad pun. To find a genuinely funny joke in a cracker would be a grave disappointment and may even ruin someone's Christmas. It is [[BlatantLies a legal requirement under the Christmas Act 1972]] that each person dining at the table wear the paper hat, despite the fact that they look ridiculous. These are meant to represent the crowns worn by the Three Kings, or the crown of thorns worn by Jesus at His crucifixion. Or something. If they have drunk the right amount it won't actually matter.
** * It has been seriously, academically suggested that people ''prefer'' bad cracker jokes[[note]]("so these two crackers walk into a bar..." -- ''no not that kind'')[[/note]] to good ones because that way [[BlackSheep one person]] (you know the one, that second cousin who everyone vaguely suspects got [[ChildhoodBrainDamage dropped on his head as a child]]) doesn't suffer the mortifying indignity of being LateToThePunchline. Genuine studies have shown that group togetherness is fostered by this shared groaning at the 'joke', in a way that simply wouldn't happen if some found it funny and some didn't. So yes, science has proven that bad jokes are the royal icing binding families together during this time. Aww.
*
Aww.

Throughout all this feasting and merriment, it is traditional (at least in most of England) to be as drunk '''drunk''' as you possibly can, while still able to sit up and eat. Obviously, all the prior examples of sticking alcohol in foodstuffs helps, but true drunkenness requires actual alcoholic ''drinks''. Buck's Fizz (orange juice and champagne; much like a mimosa except with more juice) and Bailey's Irish cream are traditional Christmas beverages, started as early as over breakfast. And that's just the fluids; the food itself, as shown above, will attempt to inebriate you as quickly as possible too.
** * Another traditional Christmas drink, at least in the south-east is the "snowball", which consists of a creamy liqueur from UsefulNotes/TheNetherlands named Advocaat (roughly the [[ThePond Rightpondian version]] of eggnog[[note]](standard American eggnog is ''supposed'' to include whiskey or brandy -- both for the purposes of intoxication and to reduce the risks of drinking something containing raw egg; yes, eggnog is supposed to contain raw egg: see ''Series/GoodEats'' episode 913 -- though this is often forgotten. Blame Prohibition.) [[/note]]) mixed with lemonade to dilute it, followed by further dilution with freshly crushed ice, plus a dusting of icing sugar to achieve that 'snowy effect'. This cocktail is fondly enjoyed by both adults and children, seeing how at Christmas the drinking age seems to drop to about 5 so long as you're in the house and out of sight.[[note]](In point of fact, [[BritishLaws the legal drinking age in the United Kingdom]] ''[[BritishLaws is]]'' [[BritishLaws 5]], if the child is at home and under parental supervision or equivalent. [[MichaelCaine Not many]] [[BeamMeUpScotty people know that]]. Or care for that matter.)[[/note]] Despite this it's rather strong, so it's considered wise not to mix it with anything else and to take a break every two glasses. (During this break, we suggest a glass of Buck's Fizz, as it has fruit in it so it's not ''proper'' alcohol.)
** * 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. 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]]
** * In most houses, a cabinet, dresser or display case (or a space under the stairs if a cabinet will not suffice) will usually have its lower compartments dedicated to mature spirits and port, a kind of fortified red wine that is usually drunk around the time of the Christmas season.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Family Traditions]]
season.

'''Family traditions'''. Expect feelings to run high over the proper time for eating the Christmas meal; whether the Christmas tree should be real or artificial, lit or unlit, whether the lights should be [[http://www.emaildiscussions.com/showpost.php?p=492825&postcount=5 bulbs or LEDs]], and whether they should be white, single-colour or multicoloured (the giant Trafalgar Square tree in central London, effectively the 'nation's Christmas tree', used to have multicoloured lights, but now it has white ones because that's the tradition in Norway, the annual donors of the tree); when children get to open their first presents; whether they arrive in a stocking, a pillowcase, or just in a pile under the tree (the presents, not the children... unless the Christmas cake was particularly brandy-rich that year) or more than one of the above; whether family parlour games and carol singing are jolly fun or hell incarnate; and whether everyone other than the official cook goes to the pub while the dinner is prepared, or mucks in to help peel potatoes. Do not expect any two sets of in-laws to have traditions that match even slightly. (To get the general idea, read Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'').

'''Christmas television'''.
''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'').[[/folder]]

[[folder:Christmas Television]]
Viewing schedules will be crammed with [[ChristmasEpisode Christmas Specials]]: that is (partially) stand-alone Christmas episodes of programmes, the occasional [[ChristmasSpecial festive variety show]], clip/compilation/best-of shows, and other quirks of the season. A recent tradition has been to repeat much of last year's 'new' Christmas programming on the few days either side of December 25th.
22nd Dec '16 3:48:21 PM VelvetAndroid
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[[caption-width-right:345:Christmas cracker ''(above)'' joke: '''Q:''' What do English teachers call Santa's little helpers?[[note]] '''A:''' [[{{Pun}} Subordinate Clauses]][[/note]] ]]

to:

[[caption-width-right:345:Christmas [[caption-width-right:345:The humble Christmas cracker ''(above)'' ''(above)''.\\
Typical
joke: '''Q:''' What do English teachers call Santa's little helpers?[[note]] helpers?[[note]]\\
'''A:''' [[{{Pun}} Subordinate Clauses]][[/note]] ]]



The most important thing to remember, especially for American tropers, is that Christmas is the United Kingdom's premier holiday and day of celebration[[note]](though in UsefulNotes/{{Scotland}} it was once second to Hogmanay)[[/note]].

The UK does not celebrate a designated harvest UsefulNotes/ThanksgivingDay, with the closest equivalent having long since been subsumed by Guy Fawkes Night, and, between not having been occupied by any foreign power since 1066 and having a [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar revolution]] without any really truly clear dates for celebration that wouldn't also be divisive,[[note]]I mean, can you imagine the Queen marking the date Charles I got his head lopped off? Or what some of the louder Scots and more committedly Irish Northern Irish would say if the anniversary of the Glorious Revolution that ultimately knocked out the Stuarts was the national holiday? Or what certain others would say if it were the anniversary of Charles II's restoration?[[/note]] does not celebrate any independence day (as in, say, the US) or commemoration of a revolution (as in, say, France). Thus, Christmas in the United Kingdom is far more of a dominant event than it is in the United States and elsewhere. Indeed, inhabitants of these sceptered isles have celebrated the winter solstice since before the birth of Christ, the Roman, Viking, and Norman invasions[[note]] [[Series/BlackAdder (what about the Swiss invasions!?!)]] [[/note]], so, though Brits don't usually consider it, beneath all the tinsel, Brussels sprouts and unwanted socks at least two millennia of tradition and community are reflected in the average Christmas, with old and new customs -- both original and appropriated -- stacked on top of each other. This veritable smorgasbord of practices forms the nucleus of the [[TitleDrop very British affair]] described below.

In recent years, some traditions and conventions from other English-speaking countries have started to appear, mostly due to the lower cost of transport and increased relations between the UK, America, Europe (especially Germany, Italy and France) and The Commonwealth. Naturally, these influences are subject to the same ebb-and-flow of any imported trend. For example, UsefulNotes/BlackFriday, previously a chiefly-American spiel, had crashed into the Christmas season in full force by 2014, and Brits everywhere seemed to go just as crazy for it as their friends across the pond. A mere two years later and the public appeared to have lost interest, with the images of quiet highstreet shops inspiring the press to label the 2016 rendition "Blank Friday".

In general, the 'Christmas Season' for Brits is defined as the entirety of Advent [[note]]Advent officially starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (usually just inside November) and the days after it until December begins, then on to the 24 days of December before Christmas Day, all of which form the start of the Nativity. Christmas Eve is also included.[[/note]], plus Christmas Day, Boxing Day, the days leading up to New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and then the remainder of the days up to Twelfth Night, after which everything comes to a complete close. However, the increasing popularity of Christmas among retailers has led to some people adopting earlier and earlier starts to the season, with many people starting the run-up as early as the day after Thanksgiving in America. Some people may get wrapped up in the spirit of the season even ''earlier'' than then!

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 did ''almost die out'' in pre-1843 Anglo-Saxon Protestant nations (U.S. and U.K.) until a [[Literature/AChristmasCarol certain book completely revitalized it]].

to:

The most important thing to remember, especially for American tropers, is that Christmas is the United Kingdom's premier holiday and day of celebration[[note]](though in UsefulNotes/{{Scotland}} it was once second to Hogmanay)[[/note]]. \n\n The UK does not celebrate a designated harvest UsefulNotes/ThanksgivingDay, with the closest equivalent having long since been subsumed by Guy Fawkes Night, and, between not having been occupied by any foreign power since 1066 and having a [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar revolution]] without any really truly clear dates for celebration that wouldn't also be divisive,[[note]]I mean, can you imagine the Queen marking the date Charles I got his head lopped off? Or what some of the louder Scots and more committedly Irish Northern Irish would say if the anniversary of the Glorious Revolution that ultimately knocked out the Stuarts was the national holiday? Or what certain others would say if divisive, it were the anniversary of Charles II's restoration?[[/note]] does not celebrate any independence day (as in, say, the US) or commemoration of a revolution (as in, say, France). Thus, means Christmas in the United Kingdom is far more of a dominant calendar event and holiday than it is in the United States and elsewhere. Indeed, inhabitants of these sceptered isles have celebrated the winter solstice since before the birth of Christ, the Roman, Viking, [[UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire Roman]], [[HornyVikings Viking]], and Norman invasions[[note]] [[Series/BlackAdder (what about the Swiss invasions!?!)]] [[/note]], so, [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfNormandy Norman]] invasions. So, though Brits don't usually consider it, beneath all the tinsel, Brussels sprouts and unwanted socks at least two millennia of tradition and community are reflected in the average Christmas, with old and new customs -- both original and appropriated -- stacked on top of each other. This veritable smorgasbord of practices forms the nucleus of the [[TitleDrop very British affair]] described below.

below.

In theory, the 'Christmas Season' for Brits is defined as the entirety of Advent[[note]](the Church season running up to the Nativity, from the fourth Sunday before Christmas until Christmas Eve)[[/note]], Christmas Day, Boxing Day (December 26th), the days afterward leading up to New Year, and then the remainder of the days until Twelfth Night (January 5th), after which everything comes to a complete close. Increasingly however the buildup has come to dominate, such that ChristmasCreep is widespread and some Christmas trees can be seen thrown out on the roadside on Boxing Day.
In recent years, some traditions and conventions from other English-speaking countries have started to appear, mostly due to the lower cost of transport and increased relations between the UK, America, Europe (especially Germany, Italy and France) and The Commonwealth. Naturally, these influences are subject to the same ebb-and-flow of any imported trend. For example, UsefulNotes/BlackFriday, previously a chiefly-American spiel, had crashed into the Christmas festive season in full force by 2014, and Brits everywhere seemed to go just as crazy for it as their friends across the pond. pond... despite the perplexing illogic of Britain marking a day based on Thanksgiving. A mere two years later and the public appeared to have lost interest, with the images of quiet highstreet high-street shops inspiring the press to label the 2016 rendition "Blank Friday".

In general, the 'Christmas Season' for Brits is defined as the entirety of Advent [[note]]Advent officially starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (usually just inside November) and the days after it until December begins, then on to the 24 days of December before Christmas Day, all of which form the start of the Nativity. Christmas Eve is also included.[[/note]], plus Christmas Day, Boxing Day, the days leading up to New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and then the remainder of the days up to Twelfth Night, after which everything comes to a complete close. However, the increasing popularity of Christmas among retailers has led to some people adopting earlier and earlier starts to the season, with many people starting the run-up as early as the day after Thanksgiving in America. Some people may get wrapped up in the spirit of the season even ''earlier'' than then!

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 event[[note]](thank you, [[Series/{{QI}} [=QI=]!]])[[/note]] and few things could annoy a Brit any more than someone wishing them "Happy Holidays". It's "Merry Christmas" or nothing. A "winter scene" Holidays"[[note]](to most Brits, the "holidays" are your summer vacation)[[/note]]. The secular winter scene on this one year's Christmastime festive postage stamp still stamps isn't "taking the Christ out of Christmas", it just means Baby Jesus or suchlike will show up on next year's.year's, as they alternate. 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 did ''almost die out'' in pre-1843 Anglo-Saxon Protestant nations (U.S. (US and U.K.) UK) until a [[Literature/AChristmasCarol certain book book]] by Creator/CharlesDickens completely revitalized it]].
it, and it is very firmly here to stay.



[[folder:Shopping & Music]]
'''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 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.

There are a couple of annual 'landmarks' in television advertising that effectively declare Christmas 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.

In recent years, the popular and iconic department store Partnership chain, John Lewis, releases a blockbuster '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, 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. At least once, said charity had a tie-in with their ad's subject matter: 2015's "Man on the Moon" advert supported a charity that was helping old people who were alone on Christmas.

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.

'''Christmas music starts popping up everywhere'''. The populace is ruthlessly prodded into feeling goodwill to all men by the endless ChristmasSongs drummed into their heads for weeks in advance of the big day. Unlike in the USA, contemporary musical artists rarely release seasonal albums of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"-esque standards, however. The [[FrankSinatra Sinatra]]/[[BingCrosby Crosby]]/Como-era crooners can still be heard, but the UK has its own considerable canon of mostly home-grown Christmas pop songs, generally dating to a period from [[TheSeventies the 1970s]] until about 1985 when every major act seemed to produce one (or collaborated on [[CharityMotivationSong one for charity: hello, Band Aid!]]), which seem as ingrained in popular consciousness as the more traditional songs and carols -- indeed, several acts are now almost solely remembered for their hardy-perennial festive hit irrespective of how successful they once were, a sort of musical {{Flanderization}}. So, whereas the US has a Christmas firmly stuck in the 1950s, the British enjoy one which is welded firmly to the late '70s if music is anything to go by. (Frankly, the British '50s were quite unlike the American '50s, what with having to rebuild the country after [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the War]].)

There's a core of roughly thirty songs that are regularly heard; and ten or so of these you'll encounter ''everywhere'', for the whole of December at the very least. For many, the 'official' start of the festive period is the first time[[note]]2010 sighting: October 31st[[/note]] one hears the distinctive rasp of Slade singer Noddy Holder on their 1973 classic "Merry Xmas Everybody", perhaps the most pervasive of all of them. Until this moment there's merely been a few pretty lights and stars festooning the shops; after you've heard Uncle Noddy bellow the sandpaper-throated clarion call ''[[AC:"It's Chriiisstmaaaass!!!"]]'' though, it's open season -- albeit with the traditional response, "No, it's ''not''. It's ''October''/the middle of flippin' November/December 2nd"... delete as applicable to your cynicism. Just about every song in this category is an {{earworm}}, of course. Since 2006, when all digital downloads became eligible for the UK singles chart, a slew of these decades-old favourites have returned annually to the Top 40, the pack invariably led by two of the most recent: the bittersweet 1987 classic "Fairytale of New York" by ThePogues with Kirsty [=MacColl=], and MariahCarey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You". There might be an AntiChristmasSong or two out there as well most years, trying in vain to balance out the effect of the rest.

Curiously, a few songs are routinely wheeled out that are not lyrically 'festive', but apparently still count due to their originally charting highly around Christmastime and giving off a warm fuzzy feeling -- e.g. Music/FrankieGoesToHollywood's "The Power of Love"[[note]](the band's label produced a Nativity-themed music video to capitalise on its December release in 1984, which contributed to this; a mimsy-pop cover version from a TV advert (see above) also topped the charts in December 2012)[[/note]], or East 17's "Stay Another Day", which beat Mariah to the hallowed Christmas Number One Single slot in 1994. The race for this chart position (and the often ultra-cheesy pretenders thereto) is very much a UK-specific phenomenon, as fairly accurately depicted in the film ''Film/LoveActually''. With the exception of the 2004 re-recording of ''Do They Know It's Christmas?'', the last actual Christmas-''themed'' #1 to date was Music/CliffRichard's "Saviour's Day" back in 1990; after that, songs as varied as the ''Series/NoelsHouseParty''-derived novelty "Mr. Blobby" (1993), Music/MichaelJackson's dour GreenAesop "Earth Song" (1995), three consecutive Music/SpiceGirls songs (1996-8), children's TV character ''WesternAnimation/BobTheBuilder'''s "Can We Fix It?" (2000) and Gary Jules' SofterAndSlowerCover of "Mad World" from the soundtrack of ''Film/DonnieDarko'' (2003) have taken the crown.

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 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 the NHS Choir's unlikely Music/SimonAndGarfunkel[=/=]Music/{{Coldplay}} 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]]).

to:

[[folder:Shopping & Music]]
[[folder:Shopping]]
'''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 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.

'''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 Christmas 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.

In recent years, the popular and iconic department store Partnership chain, John Lewis, releases a blockbuster '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
songs. Before you know it, every second advert which utilised both Cell and Stop Motion animation, while 2014 left many is full of happy people wishing they owned or looked after an Adélie penguin. The vast majority of dashing [[DreamingOfAWhiteChristmas through the money acquired from these pieces of media goes to a chosen charity that snow]], dressing in [[HomemadeSweaterFromHell chunky red knitwear]] and ruthlessly pushing the Partnership has decided to support each Christmas season. At least once, said charity had necessity of a tie-in with their ad's subject matter: 2015's "Man on the Moon" advert supported Traditional, Wholesome, Affordably Luxurious, Authentic Family Christmas™ come hell or high water -- while every ''other'' ad is a charity that was helping old people who were alone on Christmas.

bafflingly obtuse piece of flimflammery for otherwise unseen brands of perfume.

Starting from right ''before'' before the current year's Christmas (Usually Christmas Eve or Boxing Day), the cost-spreading company Park Christmas, "cost-spreading" companies will usually release an advert telling people to begin saving or using their services so that they have enough money for next ''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.

'''Christmas music starts popping up everywhere'''. The populace is ruthlessly prodded into feeling goodwill to all men by the endless ChristmasSongs drummed into their heads for weeks in advance of the big day. Unlike in the USA, contemporary musical artists rarely release seasonal albums of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"-esque standards, however. The [[FrankSinatra Sinatra]]/[[BingCrosby Crosby]]/Como-era crooners can still be heard, but the UK has its own considerable canon of mostly home-grown Christmas pop songs, generally dating to a period from [[TheSeventies the 1970s]] until about 1985 when every major act seemed to produce one (or collaborated on [[CharityMotivationSong one for charity: hello, Band Aid!]]), which seem as ingrained in popular consciousness as the more traditional songs and carols -- indeed, several acts are now almost solely remembered for their hardy-perennial festive hit irrespective of how successful they once were, a sort of musical {{Flanderization}}. So, whereas the US has a Christmas firmly stuck in the 1950s, the British enjoy one which is welded firmly to the late '70s if music is anything to go by. (Frankly, the British '50s were quite unlike the American '50s, what with having to rebuild the country after [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the War]].)

There's a core of roughly thirty songs that are regularly heard; and ten or so of these you'll encounter ''everywhere'', for the whole of December at the very least. For many, the 'official' start of the festive period is the first time[[note]]2010 sighting: October 31st[[/note]] one hears the distinctive rasp of Slade singer Noddy Holder on their 1973 classic "Merry Xmas Everybody", perhaps the most pervasive of all of them. Until this moment there's merely been a few pretty lights and stars festooning the shops; after you've heard Uncle Noddy bellow the sandpaper-throated clarion call ''[[AC:"It's Chriiisstmaaaass!!!"]]'' though, it's open season -- albeit with the traditional response, "No, it's ''not''. It's ''October''/the middle of flippin' November/December 2nd"... delete as applicable to your cynicism. Just about every song in this category is an {{earworm}}, of course. Since 2006, when all digital downloads became eligible for the UK singles chart, a slew of these decades-old favourites have returned annually to the Top 40, the pack invariably led by two of the most recent: the bittersweet 1987 classic "Fairytale of New York" by ThePogues with Kirsty [=MacColl=], and MariahCarey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You". There might be an AntiChristmasSong or two out there as well most years, trying in vain to balance out the effect of the rest.

Curiously, a few songs are routinely wheeled out that are not lyrically 'festive', but apparently still count due to their originally charting highly around Christmastime and giving off a warm fuzzy feeling -- e.g. Music/FrankieGoesToHollywood's "The Power of Love"[[note]](the band's label produced a Nativity-themed music video to capitalise on its December release in 1984, which contributed to this; a mimsy-pop cover version from a TV advert (see above) also topped the charts in December 2012)[[/note]], or East 17's "Stay Another Day", which beat Mariah to the hallowed Christmas Number One Single slot in 1994. The race for this chart position (and the often ultra-cheesy pretenders thereto) is very much a UK-specific phenomenon, as fairly accurately depicted in the film ''Film/LoveActually''. With the exception of the 2004 re-recording of ''Do They Know It's Christmas?'', the last actual Christmas-''themed'' #1 to date was Music/CliffRichard's "Saviour's Day" back in 1990; after that, songs as varied as the ''Series/NoelsHouseParty''-derived novelty "Mr. Blobby" (1993), Music/MichaelJackson's dour GreenAesop "Earth Song" (1995), three consecutive Music/SpiceGirls songs (1996-8), children's TV character ''WesternAnimation/BobTheBuilder'''s "Can We Fix It?" (2000) and Gary Jules' SofterAndSlowerCover of "Mad World" from the soundtrack of ''Film/DonnieDarko'' (2003) have taken the crown.

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 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 the NHS Choir's unlikely Music/SimonAndGarfunkel[=/=]Music/{{Coldplay}} 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]]).
finances.



[[folder:Music]]
'''Christmas music starts popping up everywhere'''. The populace is mercilessly prodded into feeling goodwill to all men by the endless ChristmasSongs drummed into their heads for weeks in advance of the big day. Unlike in the USA, contemporary musical artists rarely release seasonal albums of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"-esque standards, however. The Music/FrankSinatra, Music/BingCrosby and Music/NatKingCole-era crooners can still be heard, but the UK has its own considerable canon of mostly home-grown Christmas pop songs, generally dating to a period from [[TheSeventies the 1970s]] until about 1985 when every major act seemed to produce one (or collaborated on [[CharityMotivationSong one for charity, like Band Aid]]), which seem as ingrained in popular consciousness as the more traditional songs and carols. Indeed, several acts are now almost solely remembered for their hardy-perennial festive hit, irrespective of how successful they once were: a sort of musical {{Flanderization}}. So, whereas the US has a Christmas firmly stuck in the 1950s, the British enjoy one which is welded firmly to the late '70s if music is anything to go by.[[note]](Frankly, the British '50s were quite unlike the American '50s, what with having to rebuild the country after [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the War]].)[[/note]]

There's a core of roughly thirty songs that are regularly heard; and ten or so of these you'll encounter ''everywhere'', for the whole of December at the very least. For many, the 'official' start of the festive period is the first time[[note]]2010 sighting: October 31st[[/note]] one hears the distinctive rasp of Music/{{Slade}} singer Noddy Holder on their 1973 classic "Merry Xmas Everybody", perhaps the most pervasive of all of them. Until this moment it's just a few pretty lights and stars festooning the shops; after you've heard Uncle Noddy bellow the sandpaper-throated clarion call ''[[AC:"It's Chriiisstmaaaass!!!"]]'', however, it's open season -- albeit with the traditional response, "No, it's ''not''. It's December 2nd/the middle of flippin' November/''October''"… delete as applicable to your cynicism. Just about every song in this category is an {{earworm}}, of course. Since 2006, when all digital downloads became eligible for the UK singles chart, a slew of these decades-old favourites have returned annually to the Top 40, the pack invariably led by two of the most recent: bittersweet 1987 classic "Fairytale of New York" by Music/ThePogues with [[Music/KirstyMaccoll Kirsty [=MacColl=]]], and Music/MariahCarey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You". There might be an AntiChristmasSong or two out there as well most years, trying in vain to balance out the effect of the rest.

Curiously a few songs are routinely wheeled out that, although not lyrically 'festive', apparently still count due to their originally charting highly around Christmastime and giving off a warm fuzzy feeling -- e.g. Music/FrankieGoesToHollywood's "The Power of Love"[[note]](the band's label produced a Nativity-themed music video to capitalise on its December release in 1984, which contributed to this; a mimsy-pop cover version from a TV advert (see above) also topped the charts in December 2012)[[/note]], or East 17's "Stay Another Day", which beat Mariah to the hallowed Christmas Number One Single slot in 1994. The race for this chart position (and the often ultra-cheesy pretenders thereto) is very much a UK-specific phenomenon, as fairly accurately depicted in the film ''Film/LoveActually''. With the exception of 2004 and 2014 anniversary re-recordings of Band Aid's 1984 mega-seller ''Do They Know It's Christmas?'', the last actual Christmas-''themed'' #1 to date was Music/CliffRichard's "Saviour's Day" back in 1990; after that, songs as varied as the ''Series/NoelsHouseParty''-derived novelty "Mr. Blobby" (1993), Music/MichaelJackson's dour GreenAesop "Earth Song" (1995), three consecutive Music/SpiceGirls songs (1996-8), children's TV character ''WesternAnimation/BobTheBuilder'''s "Can We Fix It?" (2000) and Gary Jules' SofterAndSlowerCover of "Mad World" from the soundtrack of ''Film/DonnieDarko'' (2003) have taken the crown.

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]].

'''Caroling.''' Only mentioned in the case that it's ''very uncommon.'' No matter where you are in the UK it's bloody cold at Christmas, but not quite cold enough to get the warming, blanketing effect you get with snow. Caroling for charity donations may be organised by some churches, and that's because it's a huge effort to wander around in the dark with light drizzle running down your neck, getting about 30 pence per house if they answer the door at all.
[[/folder]]



'''Advent Calendars'''. A special calendar marking the 24 days of Advent[[note]](The Church season of Advent officially starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, but almost all such calendars run from December 1st-24th, with a few extending to New Year)[[/note]]. Each day, a little door is opened and something is revealed. This is often a picture -- and in the commercial calendars, a piece of Christmas-shaped chocolate. AND a picture. All the typical [[CashCowFranchise Cash Cow Franchises]], other popular-at-the-time children's media properties, etc. will have an Advent Calendar tie-in, while calendars from big confectionery brands such as Cadbury's and Nestlé are also popular (older Advent Calendar fans tend to buy these) and tend to have rather better chocolates inside them.

to:

'''Advent Calendars'''. A special calendar marking the 24 days of Advent[[note]](The Advent[[note]](the Church season of Advent officially starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, but almost all such calendars run from December 1st-24th, with a few extending to New Year)[[/note]]. Each day, a little door is opened and something is revealed. This is often a picture -- and plus, in the commercial calendars, a piece of Christmas-shaped chocolate. AND a picture.chocolate. All the typical [[CashCowFranchise Cash Cow Franchises]], other popular-at-the-time children's media properties, etc. will have an Advent Calendar calendar tie-in, while calendars from big confectionery brands such as Cadbury's Cadbury and Nestlé are also popular (older Advent Calendar calendar fans tend to buy these) and tend to have rather better chocolates inside them.



'''{{Pantomime}}'''. A festive-season variant on musical theatre where not so stellar actors, often down-on-their-luck ex-soap stars, random C-list TV personalities and people referred to generically as "entertainers" in contravention of a law against mis-sold goods, perform a stock range of children's plays (''Puss In Boots'', ''Cinderella'', ''Aladdin'' etc.), chock-full of songs, jokes, un-jokes, ridiculous costumes and audience participation, plus filthy [[DoubleEntendre single entendres]] to [[ParentalBonus keep the parents happy]] and warp the children's fragile minds. The smaller scale, community-theatre takes on this tradition tend to avert most of the above, and are therefore significantly less excruciating to watch.

'''Stir-Up Sunday'''. This tradition is carried out around one week before advent, or sometimes as early as several months before December even begins. It is the day when most people begin preparing their Christmas Cakes and Christmas Puddings (see the section on food below). During Stir-Up Sunday, the ingredients are combined into a mixture and then baked - the resulting half-finished confection looks slightly like the final product, but it has to steep and soak through with alcohol for the remainder of the run up to Christmas, so that it is ready for serving on Christmas Day.

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'''{{Pantomime}}'''. A festive-season variant on musical theatre where not so stellar actors, often down-on-their-luck ex-soap stars, random C-list TV personalities and people referred to generically as "entertainers" in "entertainers"[[note]](in contravention of a law against mis-sold goods, goods)[[/note]] perform a stock range of children's plays (''Puss In Boots'', ''Cinderella'', ''Aladdin'' etc.), based on FairyTales and other PublicDomain subjects: ''Literature/PussInBoots'', ''Literature/{{Aladdin}}'', ''Literature/JackAndTheBeanstalk'', ''Literature/{{Cinderella}}'' and so on. A panto will be chock-full of songs, jokes, un-jokes, ridiculous costumes and audience participation, plus filthy [[DoubleEntendre single entendres]] to [[ParentalBonus keep the parents happy]] and warp the children's fragile minds. The smaller scale, community-theatre takes on this tradition tend to avert most of the above, and are therefore significantly less excruciating to watch.

'''Stir-Up Sunday'''. This tradition is carried out around one week before advent, Advent, or sometimes as early as several months before December even begins. It is the day when most people begin preparing their Christmas Cakes cakes and Christmas Puddings puddings (see the section on food 'Food', below). During Stir-Up Sunday, the ingredients are combined into a mixture and then baked - the or steamed, respectively. The resulting half-finished confection looks slightly ''looks'' like the final product, but it has yet "has" to steep and soak through with alcohol for the remainder of the run up to Christmas, Christmas so that by December 25th one mouthful could floor a horse, meaning it is ready for serving on Christmas Day.
serving.



'''The Office Christmas Party'''[[note]](not [[Series/TheOfficeUK that one]], though it has an accurate depiction)[[/note]]. Nearly all UK businesses will put on a Christmas party. This will have food, drink, Christmas music (often of the rather cheesy variety), bad dancing and often at least two people deciding to get more acquainted with each other. Those who do not wish to get acquainted with anybody should steer clear of the mistletoe, or of the party itself depending on how little you care for your workmates. Photocopier technicians can expect a rapid increase in callouts around this time.

'''Secret Santa/Kris Kringle'''. Common in offices, schools, and groups of friends. People write their name on a piece of paper, put it in a box, and pick a name out. They buy a present (for less than a certain value, e.g. £5, £10) for that person. Due to the inevitability of finding oneself with the name of the person in the group one knows the least, many people find this very difficult.

'''The Nativity Play'''. As Britain doesn't have the "separation of Church and State" of the US, it is common for primary schools to present a Nativity Play -- basically a kids' version of the Birth of Christ. Various roles are handed out, from Mary and Joseph down through the Three Kings and various Shepherds, an Innkeeper or two, the Star and so on all the way to the Donkeys, Sheep etc. ''Film/LoveActually'''s 'Third Lobster' ''probably'' hasn't happened, but the need to involve all kids means it can only be a matter of time. Much jealousy will be had over the choice of the Virgin Mary, not least among parents: "Little Bethany is every bit as good as Alice, but her parents invited the Head for drinks last year". Depending on the ethnic diversity of the school, the only black kid in the school will be the Second King (always the second). Tea towels and sheets are pressed into service for costumes, making it look like Roman-occupied Israel relied on Tesco's home furnishings department for clothing. Even the most atheist of parents will smile as their little Jonny recites his praise of the Baby Jesus (always a doll, for obvious reasons) like a Dalek who has a speech impediment.

'''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]]. Expect plenty of 'Peace be with you-s' and a somewhat pleasant smell of burning cinnamon to be found.

Last thing on Christmas Eve there's 'Midnight Mass' to see in Christmas over midnight, like a sort of Anglican/Catholic hogmanay. In The Church of UsefulNotes/{{Scotland}} it's quite a big deal, it's called Watch-night and because of the way the Kirk is there it's not mass. Midnight Mass is attended by large numbers of people both young and old; Many families also attend with their younger children, with the intent of tiring them out enough so that they're too exhausted to wake up in the morning.

to:

'''The Office Christmas Party'''[[note]](not [[Series/TheOfficeUK that one]], though it has an accurate depiction)[[/note]]. Nearly all UK businesses will put on a Christmas party. This will have food, drink, Christmas music (often of the rather cheesy variety), bad dancing and often at least two people deciding to get more acquainted with each other. Those who do not wish to get acquainted with anybody should steer clear of the mistletoe, or of the party itself depending on how little you care for your workmates. Photocopier technicians can expect a mysteriously rapid increase in callouts around this time.

'''Secret Santa/Kris Kringle'''. Common in offices, schools, and groups of friends. People write their name on a piece of paper, put it in a box, and pick a name out. They buy a present (for less than a certain fairly low set value, e.g. £5, £10) for that person. Due to the inevitability of finding oneself with the name of the person in the group one knows the least, many people find this very difficult.

'''The Nativity Play'''. As Britain doesn't have the "separation of Church and State" of the US, it is common for primary schools (ages 4-11) to present a Nativity Play -- basically a kids' version of the Birth of Christ. Various roles are handed out, from Mary and Joseph down through the Three Kings and various Shepherds, an Innkeeper or two, the Star and so on all the way to the Donkeys, Sheep etc. ''Film/LoveActually'''s 'Third Lobster' ''probably'' hasn't happened, but the need to involve all kids means it can only be a matter of time. Much jealousy will be had over the choice of the Virgin Mary, not least among parents: "Little Bethany is every bit as good as Alice, but her parents invited the Head for drinks last year". Depending on the ethnic diversity of the school, the only black kid in the school will be the Second King (always the second). Tea towels and sheets are pressed into service for costumes, making it look like Roman-occupied Israel relied on Tesco's home furnishings department for clothing. Even the most atheist of parents will smile as their little Jonny recites his praise of the Baby Jesus (always a doll, for obvious reasons) like a Dalek [[Series/DoctorWho Dalek]] who has a speech impediment.

'''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]] monarchs]] of the era [[UsefulNotes/QueenVictoria originally being]] 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]]. Expect plenty of 'Peace "Peace be with you-s' you"s and a somewhat pleasant smell of burning cinnamon to be found.

Last thing on Christmas Eve there's 'Midnight Mass' to see in Christmas over midnight, like a sort of Anglican/Catholic hogmanay. In The Church of UsefulNotes/{{Scotland}} it's quite a big deal, it's called Watch-night and because of the way the Kirk is there it's not mass. Midnight Mass is attended by large numbers of people both young and old; Many some families also attend with bring their younger children, with the intent of tiring them out enough so that they're too exhausted to wake up in screaming for presents at 5:30 the next morning.




'''Caroling.''' Only mentioned in the case that it's ''very uncommon.'' No matter where you are in the UK it's bloody cold at Christmas, but not quite cold enough to get the warming, blanketing effect you get with snow. Caroling for charity donations may be organised by some churches, and that's because it's a huge effort to wander around in the dark with light drizzle running down your neck, getting about 30 pence per house if they answer the door at all.



'''"Father Christmas"''', these days, is just another (somewhat old fashioned) name for SantaClaus. Originally, he was a separate figure of the "Old Man Winter" tradition -- i.e. the 'Spirit of Winter/Christmas' who should be welcomed into homes and plied with food and drink. Though this has died out in favour of the modern St. Nick, there are two key differences between American Santa traditions, and British ones:
* British families don't leave him milk and cookies, they leave him mince pies (a small, tart-sized pie filled with "mincemeat", which despite the name[[note]](a last remnant of ''meat'' meaning 'food' and not 'animal flesh' specifically, although it did contain meat as recently as the 19th century; as with many British culinary changes in the 20th century, rationing during one of the World Wars is probably responsible)[[/note]] generally contains spiced fruit) and a glass of something like sherry or brandy. No we can't explain why he doesn't end up being arrested, having been found inebriated after crashing his sleigh somewhere in Surrey. One or more carrots may be provided for the reindeer. Whisk(e)y is of course his preferred drink in Scotland, Ireland and anywhere you find Brits whose family were originally either Scots or Irish. His favoured tipple also tends to be suspiciously similar to that of your father. Funny that.
* The Father Christmas tradition holds that he comes from Lapland (the northern region of Finland), rather than the North Pole as American children are taught, though nowadays the American idea of the North Pole has taken over. Perhaps a little less magical, but easier for families who can afford to get to it via plane. And there are actually reindeer there. (And ''snow'' -- the UK climate generally is rather too temperate to see a real-life 'White Christmas' more than once in a generation, despite the popular imagery and an annual rush to place bets on the subject.) The tourist board of Finland (contested by the Swedish) is understandably fond of this tradition. The fact that Turkey, where the original Saint Nicholas lived, is a mostly Muslim country is probably what has prevented it from attempting to get in on the tourist dollars. Well that, and also--Father Christmas in warm, sunny Turkey?

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'''"Father Christmas"''', these days, is just another (somewhat old fashioned) name for SantaClaus. Originally, he was a separate figure of the "Old Man Winter" tradition -- i.e. the 'Spirit of Winter/Christmas' who should be welcomed into homes and plied with food and drink. Though this has died out in favour of the modern St. St Nick, there are two key differences between American Santa traditions, and British ones:
* British families don't leave him milk and cookies, they leave him mince pies (a small, tart-sized bite-sized shortcrust pie filled with "mincemeat", which despite the name[[note]](a last remnant of ''meat'' meaning 'food' and not 'animal flesh' specifically, although it did contain meat as recently as the 19th century; as with many British culinary changes in the 20th century, rationing during one of the World Wars is probably responsible)[[/note]] generally contains spiced fruit) and a glass of something like sherry or brandy. No we can't explain why he doesn't end up being arrested, having been found inebriated after crashing his sleigh somewhere in Surrey. One or more carrots may be provided for the reindeer. Whisk(e)y is of course his preferred drink in Scotland, Ireland and anywhere you find Brits whose family were originally either Scots or Irish. His favoured tipple also tends to be suspiciously similar to that of your father. Funny that.
* The Father Christmas tradition holds that he comes from Lapland (the northern region of Finland), rather than the North Pole as American children are taught, though nowadays the American idea of the North Pole has taken over.taught. Perhaps a little less magical, but easier for families who can afford to get to it via plane. And there are actually reindeer there. (And ''snow'' -- the UK climate generally is rather too temperate to see a real-life 'White Christmas' more than once in a generation, despite the popular imagery and an annual rush to place bets on the subject.) The tourist board of Finland (contested by the Swedish) is understandably fond of this tradition. tradition, though nowadays the American idea of the North Pole as Santa's home is increasingly taking over. The fact that Turkey, where the original Saint Nicholas lived, is a mostly Muslim country is probably what has prevented it from attempting to get in on the tourist dollars. Well that, and also--Father Christmas in warm, sunny Turkey? dollars, not to mention being a bit too hot.



A note before we begin: in Britain, many things are called "pudding" which bear no resemblance to what Americans and Canadians call "pudding"--or, for that matter, to each other. Originally, "pudding" meant any number of dishes that would have historically been produced by taking a paste or liquid mixture, stuffing it into a sausage casing (i.e. the inner lining of a sheep's small intestine), and then baking, boiling, or steaming the stuffed intestine until the mixture set into a solid (usually a soft one). Eventually, the terminology extended to dishes that began with a similar mixture but was stuffed into a cloth lining rather than animal guts. From there, the meaning of the word diverged; since many of these things were sweet mixtures, any sweet dish that sets after boiling, baking, or steaming became known as a "pudding"--but so did many savoury dishes that happen to be baked, steamed, or boiled and take the shape of their container.

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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A note before we begin: in Britain, many things are called "pudding" which bear no resemblance to what Americans and Canadians call "pudding"--or, for that matter, to each other. Originally, "pudding" meant any number of dishes that would have historically been produced by taking a paste or liquid mixture, stuffing it into a sausage casing (i.e. the inner lining of a sheep's small intestine), and then baking, boiling, or steaming the stuffed intestine until the mixture set into a solid (usually a soft one). Eventually, the terminology extended to dishes that began with a similar mixture but was stuffed into a cloth lining rather than animal guts. From there, the meaning of the word diverged; since many of these things were sweet mixtures, any sweet dish that sets after boiling, baking, or steaming became known as a "pudding"--but so did many savoury dishes that happen to be baked, steamed, or boiled and take the shape of their container.

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 versions of things such as burgers and pizzas, all manner of peculiar savoury bites, '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 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 them. Thousands of vol-au-vents remain untouched in people's freezers past June, but at least 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.\\



* ''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]]

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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 instead, 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 something, nor does it require drowning in gravy to give it some moisture (unless you've done the aforementioned time-consuming preparation and careful timing).moisture.[[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]]



** ''Pigs in Blankets'' are a popular secondary meat feature, consisting of sausages wrapped in bacon. They are well-worth trying.

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** ''Pigs in Blankets'' blankets'' are a popular secondary meat feature, consisting of sausages wrapped in bacon. They are well-worth trying.



** ''Sauce:'' As in North America, cranberry sauce is a traditional accompaniment to turkey if your family is aware of it; when they're not you'll get bread sauce, a lumpen whitish savoury concoction from medieval times which does indeed contain bread. The binding element to all dinners though is gravy made from the meat juices, some flour and the meaty oil and fat stuck to the roasting tin, usually required when dining on drier meats like turkey or beef. Most of the time outside of Christmas, instant gravy is usually used, but most people opt to make gravy the traditional way when it comes to the Christmas dinner.
** ''Roast potatoes:'' Every dish needs a starchy side; we opted for roast potatoes which, depending on who's making them, will either be crunchy-on-the-outside yet fluffy 'n' soft on the inside, browned-to-perfection little delights or rock solid beasts which are somehow burned and raw at the same time.[[note]]That awfulness is 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.
** ''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. "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.%%
** ''Roast parsnips:'' A root vegetable served alongside the other roast vegetables, roast parsnips are usually cooked in duck or goose fat to make them crispy. If done right, they come out looking similar to chips (Fries, if you're American). If done wrong, they will often come out badly burnt and singed. Most people don't mind that much anyway.
** ''Yorkshire Pudding:'' The Yorkshire Pudding is a humble thing, bowl shaped and made out of batter, which rises while being baked in the oven. They are usually served with the Roast Potatoes and Parsnips, and are usually used to hold a small amount of meat or gravy.
** ''Mashed Potato:'' Don't ask. It's just sort of ''there''. On Christmas, Potatoes aren't the only vegetable that gets mashed. Swede, Carrot and Sweet Potato mash is fairly common fare at the table, each tasting very different to each other.
* ''Christmas Pudding:'' Also known as "plum pudding" or "figgy pudding". It's a very dark, rich suet pudding (a bulbous sort of dense, curranty booze-soaked spice cake) with a lot of dried fruit, nuts and alcohol, generally cooked by steaming the batter in a cloth wrapping or sack. May contain silver sixpences (no longer legal tender) to give luck and major dental damage to whoever finds the damned things. Tradition is to pour yet more alcohol, usually brandy, over it once more for good luck immediately before serving and then set the whole thing alight for a bit with all the lights turned off. Providing fabrics, hair and especially eyebrows are covered, you don't trip bringing it in and everyone maintains a 5 foot clear radius, this will safely provoke "oohs" and "aahs" and add those pleasingly tangy top notes of ethanol and charcoal. If this has an ancient meaning, most have forgotten it. Christmas pudding can be made at home, but are usually bought beforehand -- Harrods' puddings are considered the best pre-made. If made at home, it will have been done so ''either'' according to a centuries-old recipe passed down from mother to daughter, ''or'', more usually, borrowed from a celebrated TV chef's recently purchased Christmas-themed cookbook. Traditionally the mix is, uh, mixed on 'Stir-Up Sunday', the last Sunday before the season of Advent -- over a month before the eating date -- with everyone in the family taking a turn at stirring the pudding, starting with the oldest member and finishing with the youngest, and each person making a private wish. The truly dedicated, however, make their Christmas pudding (and occasionally the cake; see below) on the Advent Sunday the ''year before'' it is due to be eaten, to give it a year to 'mature'. Whether this improves the flavour is always hotly debated. In the weeks/months between making and serving, the pudding must be 'fed' (i.e. be lovingly doused in alcohol) periodically. Since Christmas puddings just never go off, and they're kind of dense and huge, it's also an unofficial tradition to have a good deal left in a tin for most of the rest of the year.
** Can be served with cream or ice-cream, but most 'traditionally' with brandy butter (also known as hard sauce), a dietician's nightmare made from brandy (surprisingly), butter (ditto) and sugar (plot twist), of similar consistency to ice-cream but not as cold. One of those peculiarly festive foodstuffs that only seems to manifest in our universe in the run-up to Christmas, although leftover pots can be glimpsed as late as mid-January before they scurry off to whatever dimension they spend the rest of the year hibernating in. An alternative is rum sauce (sweet white sauce with rum). Combine cream, rum sauce and brandy butter for the ultimate cholesterol nightmare and maximum deliciousness.
* ''Baked Alaska'' - A marvelous concoction of caramel, thick and gloopy Italian meringue and ice cream, the Baked Alaska is an odd and occasional visitor to the dinner table, usually served for either the kids or for people who aren't keen on the Cake/Pudding. Like a Christmas Pudding, the Baked Alaska is given a dosage of Brandy and set alight via a blowtorch just before serving, so that the meringue on the outside turns a delicious light brown colour. Those who are adept at producing the dessert are able to create a perfect synergy between the crunchy meringue exterior and still-frozen ice cream within. Those who are less experienced often turn the previously proud looking Baked Alaska into little more than a molten mess of flaming alcohol and sugary mush.
* ''Christmas Cake[[note]]([[ChristmasCake not this kind]])[[/note]]:'' a dark fruitcake covered thickly in marzipan and then white icing (frosting), often whipped into a stiff snowscape (since royal icing tends to be used, which includes egg whites so sets more crunchily and solidly than regular icing: anywhere on a scale from 'fetch the hacksaw' to 'industrial laser required'), which will also weld the cake onto the Christmassy board it's stood upon. Small model Santas, reindeer, robins, holly leaves, 'Happy Christmas' signs, snowmen etc. may be cemented into the icing, and the sides wrapped with a decorative crepe paper band. These models will be of varying antiquity and wildly out of scale, hence scenes with Santa being menaced by a ten-foot robin and the like. Christmas cake is [[LoveItOrHateIt widely considered inedible yet equally widely considered delicious]], much like its puddingy sibling: slices must be forcibly and messily dismembered for the benefit of that one person who wants marzipan but hates icing, the one who wants icing but hates marzipan, the one who wants both but hates the cake, etc. Also like Christmas pudding, best made to a murkily specific ancestral recipe -- the only constants seem to involve the whole family stirring it, and the thing needing to be stuck in an oven for anywhere up to about 48 hours. Simply called fruitcake in the US, much the same tradition except nobody cooks it and everybody hates it.

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** ''Sauce:'' As in North America, cranberry sauce is a traditional accompaniment to turkey if your family is aware of it; when they're not you'll get bread sauce, a lumpen whitish savoury concoction from medieval times which does indeed contain bread. The binding element to all dinners though is gravy made from the meat juices, some flour and the meaty oil and fat stuck to the roasting tin, gravy, usually required when dining on drier meats like turkey or beef. Most of the time outside of Christmas, instant gravy is usually used, but most more people opt to make gravy it the traditional way when it comes to the Christmas dinner.
dinner, from the meat juices, some flour and the meaty residues and fat stuck to the roasting tin.
** ''Roast potatoes:'' Every dish needs a starchy side; we Britain opted for roast potatoes -- which, depending on who's making them, will either be crunchy-on-the-outside yet (a) crunchy on the outside, fluffy 'n' soft on the inside, browned-to-perfection little delights delights, or (b) rock solid beasts which are somehow burned and raw at the same time.[[note]]That awfulness is a [[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.
** ''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
inbetween. Tradition holds that many people genetically lack the ability to taste: generally those who do not like sprouts best are the ones who can taste it. "Largely," because even people who ''can't'' taste the chemical and ''do'' like sprouts cooked in general terms will dislike duck or goose fat to make 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.%%
**
super crispy.
***
''Roast parsnips:'' A root vegetable served alongside the other roast vegetables, roast parsnips are usually cooked in duck or goose fat to make them crispy. stuff. If done right, they come out looking similar to chips (Fries, (fries, if you're American). If done wrong, they will often come out badly burnt and singed. Most people don't mind that much anyway.
*** ''Mashed potato:'' Don't ask. It's just sort of ''there''; bonus stodge, if you will. On Christmas, potatoes aren't the only vegetable that gets mashed: swede, carrot and sweet potato mash are alternative fare at the table, each tasting very different to each other.
** ''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. %%
** ''Yorkshire Pudding:'' pudding:'' The Yorkshire Pudding pudding is a humble thing, bowl shaped and made out of batter, which rises while being baked in the oven. They are usually served with the Roast Potatoes and Parsnips, and are The traditional accompaniment to roast beef, usually used to hold a small amount of meat or gravy.
** ''Mashed Potato:'' Don't ask. It's just sort
gravy, but some throw them in with Christmas dinner too, because what's a seventh helping of ''there''. On Christmas, Potatoes aren't the only vegetable that gets mashed. Swede, Carrot and Sweet Potato mash is fairly common fare at the table, each tasting very different to each other.
carbs between friends eh?
* ''Christmas Pudding:'' pudding:'' Also known as "plum pudding" or "figgy pudding". pudding".[[note]]In Britain, many things are called "pudding" which bear no resemblance to what Americans and Canadians would describe as such -- or, for that matter, to each other. Historically, it meant any number of dishes produced by taking a paste or liquid mixture, stuffing it into a sausage casing (i.e. the inner lining of a sheep's small intestine), and then baking, boiling, or steaming the result until the mixture sets into a softish solid. Eventually, the terminology extended to dishes that began with a similar mixture but were stuffed into a cloth lining rather than animal guts. From there, the meaning of the word diverged; since many of these things were sweet mixtures, any sweet dish that sets after boiling, baking, or steaming became known as a "pudding" -- but so too did many savoury dishes that happen to be baked, steamed, or boiled and also take the shape of their casing or container, e.g. Yorkshire pudding as mentioned just above, or the blood sausage known as 'black pudding'.[[/note]] It's a very dark, rich suet pudding (a bulbous sort of dense, curranty booze-soaked steamed spice cake) with a lot of dried fruit, nuts and alcohol, generally cooked by steaming the batter mixture in a cloth wrapping or sack. May contain silver sixpences [[UsefulNotes/OldBritishMoney sixpences]] (no longer legal tender) to give luck and major dental damage to whoever finds the damned things. Tradition is to pour yet more alcohol, usually brandy, over it once more for good luck immediately before serving and then set the whole thing alight for a bit with all the lights turned off. Providing fabrics, hair and especially eyebrows are covered, you don't trip bringing it in and everyone maintains a 5 foot clear an 8ft blast radius, this will safely provoke "oohs" and "aahs" and add those pleasingly tangy top notes of ethanol and charcoal. If this has an ancient meaning, most have forgotten it. Christmas pudding can be made at home, but are usually bought beforehand -- Harrods' expensive London department store [[BritishBusinesses Harrods]]' puddings are considered the best pre-made. If made at home, it will have been done so ''either'' according to a centuries-old recipe passed down from mother to daughter, ''or'', more usually, borrowed from a celebrated TV chef's recently purchased Christmas-themed cookbook. Traditionally the mix is, uh, um, mixed over a month before the eating date, on 'Stir-Up Sunday', the last Sunday before the season of Advent -- over a month before the eating date -- with everyone in the family taking a turn at stirring the pudding, starting with the oldest member and finishing with the youngest, and each person making a private wish. The truly dedicated, however, make their Christmas pudding (and occasionally the cake; see below) on the Advent Sunday around this time the ''year before'' it is due to be eaten, to give it a year full twelvemonth to 'mature'. Whether this improves the flavour is always hotly strongly debated. In the weeks/months between making and serving, the pudding must be 'fed' (i.e. be lovingly doused in alcohol) periodically. Since As Christmas puddings are thereby effectively pickled from within, they just never go off, and they're off; since they also tend to be kind of dense and huge, it's also thus an unofficial tradition to have a good deal left in a tin for most of the rest of the year.
** Can be served with cream or ice-cream, but most 'traditionally' with brandy butter ''brandy butter'' (also known as hard sauce), a dietician's nightmare made from brandy (surprisingly), butter (ditto) and sugar (plot twist), of similar consistency to ice-cream but not as cold. One of those peculiarly festive foodstuffs that only seems to manifest in our universe in the run-up to Christmas, although leftover pots can be glimpsed as late as mid-January before they scurry off to whatever dimension they spend the rest of the year hibernating in. An alternative is rum sauce (sweet white sauce with rum). Combine cream, rum sauce and brandy butter for the ultimate cholesterol nightmare and maximum deliciousness.
* ''Baked Alaska'' - A marvelous concoction of caramel, thick and gloopy Italian meringue and ice cream, the Baked Alaska is an odd and occasional visitor to the dinner table, usually served for either the kids or for people who aren't keen on the Cake/Pudding. Like a Christmas Pudding, the Baked Alaska is given a dosage of Brandy and set alight via a blowtorch just before serving, so that the meringue on the outside turns a delicious light brown colour. Those who are adept at producing the dessert are able to create a perfect synergy between the crunchy meringue exterior and still-frozen ice cream within. Those who are less experienced often turn the previously proud looking Baked Alaska into little more than a molten mess of flaming alcohol and sugary mush.
* ''Christmas Cake[[note]]([[ChristmasCake cake[[note]]([[ChristmasCake no, not this kind]])[[/note]]:'' a A dark fruitcake covered thickly in marzipan and then white icing (frosting), often whipped into a stiff snowscape (since royal icing snowscape. For this 'royal icing' tends to be used, which includes egg whites so it sets more crunchily and solidly than regular icing: anywhere icing (anywhere on a scale from 'fetch the hacksaw' to 'industrial laser required'), and into which will also weld the cake onto the Christmassy board it's stood upon. Small model may be cemented small decorative Santas, reindeer, robins, holly leaves, 'Happy Christmas' signs, snowmen etc. may be cemented into the icing, and the sides wrapped with a decorative crepe paper band.etc. These models will be of varying antiquity and wildly out of scale, hence scenes with Santa being menaced by a ten-foot robin and the like. Christmas cake is [[LoveItOrHateIt widely considered inedible yet equally widely considered delicious]], much like its puddingy sibling: most slices must have to be forcibly and messily dismembered for the benefit of that one person who wants marzipan but hates icing, the one who wants icing but hates marzipan, the one who wants both but hates the cake, etc. Also like As with Christmas pudding, best made to a murkily specific ancestral recipe -- the only constants seem to involve the whole family stirring it, and the thing needing to be stuck in an a low oven for anywhere up to about 48 hours. Simply called fruitcake in the US, much the same tradition except nobody cooks it and everybody hates it.



** Once again as with Christmas pudding, it's traditional to make the cake quite some time before Christmas, stow it in an old tin in a cupboard, and 'feed' it brandy/rum/whisky/port/Old Hoggard's Brainrotter until Christmas Day to "stop it drying out". This is to let the flavours mature and ensure it is soft and moist. However as it's traditional to bake it as distantly as [[BankHolidays Guy Fawkes Night]] (the fifth of November) or even earlier and give it up to a tablespoon of booze per day this can result in a confection which ''bleeds'' brandy when you cut through the icing and has to be kept well away from naked flames.

to:

** Once again as with Christmas pudding, it's traditional to make the cake quite some time before Christmas, stow it in an old tin in a cupboard, and 'feed' it brandy/rum/whisky/port/Old brandy/rum/whisky/port/[[GargleBlaster Old Hoggard's Brainrotter Brainrotter]] until Christmas Day to "stop it drying out". This is to let the flavours mature and ensure it is soft and moist. However as it's traditional to bake it as distantly as [[BankHolidays Guy Fawkes Night]] (the fifth of November) or even earlier and give it up to a tablespoon of booze per day this can result in a confection which ''bleeds'' brandy when you cut through the icing and has to be kept well away from naked flames.



** Another odd and occasional visitor to the dinner table, usually served for either the kids or for people who aren't keen on the Cake/Pudding, is Baked Alaska: a marvellous concoction of caramel, thick and gloopy Italian meringue and ice cream. Like a Christmas pudding, the Baked Alaska is given a dosage of brandy and set alight via a blowtorch just before serving, so that the meringue on the outside turns a delicious light brown colour. Those who are adept at producing the dessert are able to create a perfect synergy between the crunchy meringue exterior and still-frozen ice cream within. Those who are less experienced often turn the previously proud looking confection into little more than a molten mess of flaming alcohol and sugary mush.



** It has been seriously suggested that people ''prefer'' bad cracker jokes[[note]]("so these two crackers walk into a bar..." -- ''no not that kind'')[[/note]] to good ones because that way [[BlackSheep one person]] (you know the one, that second cousin who everyone vaguely suspects got [[ChildhoodBrainDamage dropped on his head as a child]]) doesn't suffer the mortifying indignity of being LateToThePunchline. Genuine studies have shown that group togetherness is fostered by this shared groaning at the 'joke', in a way that simply wouldn't happen if some found it funny and some didn't. So yes, science has proven that bad jokes are the royal icing binding families together during this time. Aww.

to:

** It has been seriously seriously, academically suggested that people ''prefer'' bad cracker jokes[[note]]("so these two crackers walk into a bar..." -- ''no not that kind'')[[/note]] to good ones because that way [[BlackSheep one person]] (you know the one, that second cousin who everyone vaguely suspects got [[ChildhoodBrainDamage dropped on his head as a child]]) doesn't suffer the mortifying indignity of being LateToThePunchline. Genuine studies have shown that group togetherness is fostered by this shared groaning at the 'joke', in a way that simply wouldn't happen if some found it funny and some didn't. So yes, science has proven that bad jokes are the royal icing binding families together during this time. Aww.



** Another traditional Christmas drink, at least in the south-east is the "snowball", which consists of a creamy liqueur from The Netherlands named Advocaat (roughly the [[ThePond Rightpondian version]] of eggnog[[note]](standard American eggnog is ''supposed'' to include whiskey or brandy -- both for the purposes of intoxication and to reduce the risks of drinking something containing raw egg; yes, eggnog is supposed to contain raw egg: see ''Series/GoodEats'' episode 913 -- though this is often forgotten. Blame Prohibition.) [[/note]]) mixed with lemonade to dilute it, followed by further dilution with freshly crushed ice, plus a dusting of icing sugar to achieve that 'snowy effect'. This cocktail is fondly enjoyed by both adults and children, seeing how at Christmas the drinking age seems to drop to about 5 so long as you're in the house and out of sight[[note]](in point of fact, [[BritishLaws the legal drinking age in the United Kingdom]] ''[[BritishLaws is]]'' [[BritishLaws 5]], if the child is at home and under parental supervision (or equivalent). [[MichaelCaine Not many]] [[BeamMeUpScotty people know that]]. Or care for that matter)[[/note]]. Despite this it's rather strong, so it's considered wise not to mix it with anything else and to take a break every two glasses. (During this break, we suggest a glass of Buck's Fizz, as it has fruit in it so it's not ''proper'' alcohol.)

to:

** Another traditional Christmas drink, at least in the south-east is the "snowball", which consists of a creamy liqueur from The Netherlands UsefulNotes/TheNetherlands named Advocaat (roughly the [[ThePond Rightpondian version]] of eggnog[[note]](standard American eggnog is ''supposed'' to include whiskey or brandy -- both for the purposes of intoxication and to reduce the risks of drinking something containing raw egg; yes, eggnog is supposed to contain raw egg: see ''Series/GoodEats'' episode 913 -- though this is often forgotten. Blame Prohibition.) [[/note]]) mixed with lemonade to dilute it, followed by further dilution with freshly crushed ice, plus a dusting of icing sugar to achieve that 'snowy effect'. This cocktail is fondly enjoyed by both adults and children, seeing how at Christmas the drinking age seems to drop to about 5 so long as you're in the house and out of sight[[note]](in sight.[[note]](In point of fact, [[BritishLaws the legal drinking age in the United Kingdom]] ''[[BritishLaws is]]'' [[BritishLaws 5]], if the child is at home and under parental supervision (or equivalent).or equivalent. [[MichaelCaine Not many]] [[BeamMeUpScotty people know that]]. Or care for that matter)[[/note]]. matter.)[[/note]] Despite this it's rather strong, so it's considered wise not to mix it with anything else and to take a break every two glasses. (During this break, we suggest a glass of Buck's Fizz, as it has fruit in it so it's not ''proper'' alcohol.)



** In most houses, a cabinet, dresser or display case (or a space under the stairs if a cabinet will not suffice) will usually have its lower compartments dedicated to mature spirits and Port, a kind of fortified red wine that is usually drunk around the time of the Christmas season.

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** In most houses, a cabinet, dresser or display case (or a space under the stairs if a cabinet will not suffice) will usually have its lower compartments dedicated to mature spirits and Port, port, a kind of fortified red wine that is usually drunk around the time of the Christmas season.



* ''The Queen's Speech.'' More formally known as the Royal Christmas Message and originated by [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfWindsor George V]] in 1932 (you can see a dramatization of him doing it in ''Series/TheKingsSpeech''), it's broadcast on the terrestrial TV channels BBC One and [=ITV1=] at 3pm and is basically [[UsefulNotes/HMTheQueen the Queen]] making a short to-camera speech to the country and UsefulNotes/TheCommonwealth (over clips of her doing things, media footage etc.) on the events of the year. Political opinions will be of the neutral, non-party political variety (along the lines of 'People died. That's bad.'). While it was originally presented live, it has since become a pre-recorded message and the Queen has been dubbed "One-Take Windsor" by various camera crews for the minimal amount of fuss it takes to shoot the speech. Once, the text was leaked to [[BritishNewspapers tabloid newspaper]] ''The Sun''; despite the alleged shock, the world kept turning -- the monarch will always say broadly the same things anyway, and no-one really imagines she just gets up from the table, wipes mince pie crumbs from her chin, quickly swaps a paper crown with her tiara and delivers a live off-the-cuff monologue to her subjects. Nowadays the Queen, technophile that she is, has spread the message on the royal Website/YouTube and via podcast as well as on TV. In 2012's broadcast, she appeared for the first time in 3D!\\
Amongst all the wide variety of celebrations going on the length and breadth of the land, the hubbub and noise of the 21st century Christmas (complaints of "Change the bloody channel and put something decent on!" followed by a family argument on the monarchy), the Queen's Speech acts still as a bulwark of tradition, a unifying watershed moment in the nation's collective festivities; it marks the point after lunch in Christmas Day at which the whole country -- children and grown-ups, religious and atheist, families together, full of the joy of the season -- takes a break from the relentless frolics, drinking, present-opening, drinking, arguing, drinking, eating and drinking, and gathers snugly around its television sets ''en masse'', sated and happy, joined together in a wonderful shared moment of calm and continuity, and falls asleep.

to:

* ''The Queen's Speech.'' More formally known as the Royal Christmas Message and originated by [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfWindsor George V]] in 1932 (you can see a dramatization of him doing it in ''Series/TheKingsSpeech''), ''Film/TheKingsSpeech''), it's broadcast on the terrestrial TV channels BBC One and [=ITV1=] [=ITV=] at 3pm and is basically [[UsefulNotes/HMTheQueen the Queen]] making a short to-camera speech to the country and UsefulNotes/TheCommonwealth (over clips of her doing things, media footage etc.) on the events of the year. Political opinions will be of the neutral, non-party political variety (along the lines of 'People "People died. That's bad.')."). While it was originally presented live, it has since become a pre-recorded message and the Queen has been dubbed "One-Take Windsor" by various camera crews for the minimal amount of fuss it takes to shoot the speech. Once, the text was leaked to [[BritishNewspapers tabloid newspaper]] ''The Sun''; despite the alleged shock, the world kept turning -- the monarch will always say broadly the same things anyway, and no-one really imagines she just gets up from the table, wipes mince pie crumbs from her chin, quickly swaps a paper crown with her tiara and delivers a live off-the-cuff monologue to her subjects. Nowadays the Queen, technophile that she is, has spread spreads the message on the royal Website/YouTube and via podcast as well as on TV. In 2012's broadcast, she appeared for the first time in 3D!\\
Amongst all the wide variety of celebrations going on the length and breadth of the land, the hubbub and noise of the 21st century Christmas (complaints of "Change the bloody channel and put something decent on!" followed by a family argument on the monarchy), the Queen's Speech acts still as a bulwark of tradition, a unifying watershed moment in the nation's collective festivities; it marks the point after lunch in Christmas Day at which the whole country -- children and grown-ups, religious and atheist, families together, full of the joy of the season -- takes a break from the relentless frolics, drinking, present-opening, drinking, arguing, drinking, eating and drinking, and gathers snugly around its television sets ''en masse'', sated and happy, joined together in a wonderful shared moment of calm and continuity, and and, er, falls asleep.



'''Boxing Day''' is the day after Christmas, and is mostly used to get over Christmas; it has nothing to do with [[UsefulNotes/{{Boxing}} pugilism]]. Technically, the 26th of December is "St. Stephen's Day", named for the First Martyr (which is why his feast day is the day after Christmas) of Christianity, and hence the mention of "the Feast of Stephen" in the carol ''Good King Wenceslas''. "Boxing Day" in contrast is not always the 26th, as it was (traditionally) postponed a day if it would fall on a Sunday; this derives from the original meaning, the day when the Church charity boxes would be opened and the proceeds used for the poor -- the extra day's wait was so that the Sunday collection would be included in the distribution. Nowadays most people just ignore this: in practice the name is almost universally applied to December 26th.

to:

'''Boxing Day''' is the day after Christmas, and is mostly used to get over Christmas; it has nothing to do with [[UsefulNotes/{{Boxing}} pugilism]]. Technically, ''Technically'', the 26th of December is "St. Stephen's Day", named for the First Martyr (which is why his feast day is the day after Christmas) of Christianity, and hence the mention of "the Feast of Stephen" in the carol ''Good King Wenceslas''. "Boxing Day" in contrast is officially not always the 26th, as it was (traditionally) postponed a day if it would fall on a Sunday; this derives from the original meaning, the day when the Church charity boxes would be opened and the proceeds used for the poor -- the extra day's wait was so that the Sunday collection would be included in the distribution. Nowadays most people just you can safely ignore this: this technicality, as in practice the name is almost universally applied to December 26th.



* ''Sport:'' Well-known for a cricket match taking place on this day. Sporting calendars put on hiatus for Christmas Day get back up and running: there is generally a full programme of football league games nationwide. For some reason, the sport of boxing has never held events to exploit the naming coincidence.
* ''Great British Eccentricity:'' There is an annual act of Northern lunacy known as the Boxing Day Dip, which involves running into the North Sea, some people doing so in fancy dress[[note]]Essentially like a British version of the New Year's Day Polar Bear Dip in North America[[/note]]. Some people (read: lunatics) do this in the south as well. Apparently it's fun. In Edinburgh, it's known as the ''Loony Dook'' and done on New Year's Day at Queensferry (the beach near the Forth Rail Bridge) as a charity event. Across the water in Dublin, it's done at the "Forty Foot" -- traditionally ''naked''. A particular club of lunatics in London hold an open-air swimming race in the Serpentine (a long [[MeaningfulName snake-shaped]] pond in Hyde Park) on Christmas Eve. They continue swimming there all year round, apparently, even when they have to break the ice to get in.
* ''Country pursuits:'' A traditional day for horse racing, game shooting and fox 'not'-hunting. In the West of Ireland an old tradition known as Wren-Boying takes place. This originally involved the killing of wrens but thankfully has evolved into a trick-or-treat style event. Children dress up and walk from house to house receiving money from the locals. This tradition is sadly beginning to die out.
* ''More shopping frenzy!:'' Increasing numbers take advantage of the heavily lowered shopping prices everywhere known as the Boxing Day Sales. This name is the more accurate description of what have traditionally (but no longer accurately) been referred to as the January Sales -- they've gradually crept earlier over recent years, so that December 26th's evening news will nowadays be fronted by features on the hordes of wild-eyed bargain-seizers who were queueing at 8am. Some sales finish within a few days and you can expect the adverts for these to crop up round about mid-evening on Christmas Day, or even Christmas Eve.

to:

* ''Sport:'' Well-known for a cricket match taking place on this day. Sporting calendars put on hiatus for Christmas Day get back up and running: there is generally a full programme of football league games nationwide. For some reason, the sport of boxing has never held events to exploit the naming coincidence.
* ''Great British Eccentricity:'' There is an annual act of Northern lunacy known as the Boxing Day Dip, which involves running into the North Sea, some people doing so in fancy dress[[note]]Essentially like a British version of the New Year's Day Polar Bear Dip in North America[[/note]]. Some people (read: lunatics) do this in the south as well. Apparently it's fun. In Edinburgh, it's known as the ''Loony Dook'' and done on New Year's Day at Queensferry (the beach near the Forth Rail Bridge) as a charity event. Across the water Irish Sea in Dublin, it's done at the "Forty Foot" -- traditionally ''naked''. A particular club of lunatics in London hold an open-air swimming race in the Serpentine (a long [[MeaningfulName snake-shaped]] pond in Hyde Park) on Christmas Eve. They continue swimming there all year round, apparently, even when they have to break the ice to get in.
* ''Country pursuits:'' A traditional day for horse racing, game shooting and fox 'not'-hunting.[not]-hunting. In the West of Ireland an old tradition known as Wren-Boying takes place. This originally involved the killing of wrens but thankfully has evolved into a trick-or-treat style event. Children dress up and walk from house to house receiving money from the locals. This tradition is sadly beginning to die out.
* ''Family:'' Maybe you just had Christmas dinner with your very nearest and dearest so that you could have the traditional three helpings of turkey each rather than risk only filling your plate once to make the meagre rations go around. So if you're not shopping, Boxing Day is often the day EVERYBODY comes together, including in-laws and second cousins. They don't just do this with more leftovers, but with various nibbles bought specially for this day as well.
* ''More shopping frenzy!:'' Increasing numbers take advantage of the heavily lowered shopping prices everywhere known as the Boxing Day Sales. This name is the more accurate description of what have traditionally (but no longer accurately) been referred to as the January Sales -- they've gradually crept earlier over recent years, so that December 26th's evening news will nowadays be fronted by features on the hordes of wild-eyed bargain-seizers who were queueing at 8am.7:30am. Some sales finish within a few days and you can expect the adverts for these to crop up round about mid-evening on Christmas Day, or even Christmas Eve.



* ''Advertising:'' Boxing Day (and to an extent Christmas Day itself) inevitably sees an instantaneous mass changeover in TV advertising -- for weeks beforehand every other advert is for otherwise unseen brands of perfume, and every ''other'' ad is ruthlessly pushing the necessity of a Traditional, Wholesome, Affordably Luxurious, Authentic Family Christmas™ (you know, the ones with the gratingly Warmly Reassuring™ voiceovers)... then there is an abrupt and complete switch to nothing but ads for cut-price furniture ('Double Discounted Sofas' ahoy), reduced weekend getaways and celebrity diet plans. Happy New Year.
* ''Family:'' Maybe you just had Christmas Dinner with your very nearest and dearest so that you could have the traditional three helpings of turkey each rather than risk only filling your plate once to make it go around. So if you're not shopping, Boxing Day is often the day EVERYBODY comes together, including in-laws and second cousins. They don't just do this with more leftovers, but with various nibbles bought specially for this day as well.

to:

* ''Advertising:'' Boxing Day (and to an extent Christmas Day itself) inevitably sees an instantaneous mass changeover in TV advertising -- for weeks beforehand every other advert is for otherwise unseen brands of perfume, has been all about feasting, drinking and every ''other'' ad is ruthlessly pushing the necessity of a Traditional, Wholesome, Affordably Luxurious, Authentic Family Christmas™ (you know, the ones with the gratingly Warmly Reassuring™ voiceovers)... merrymaking, chocolates, perfumes, spirits... then on an instant there is an abrupt and complete switch to nothing but ads for cut-price furniture ('Double Discounted Sofas' ahoy), reduced weekend getaways and celebrity diet plans. Happy New Year.
* ''Family:'' Maybe you just had Christmas Dinner with your very nearest and dearest so that you could have the traditional three helpings of turkey each rather than risk only filling your plate once to make it go around. So if you're not shopping, Boxing Day is often the day EVERYBODY comes together, including in-laws and second cousins. They don't just do this with more leftovers, but with various nibbles bought specially for this day as well.
Year.
20th Dec '16 2:42:10 PM twilicorn
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* ''The Queen's Speech.'' More formally known as the Royal Christmas Message and originated by [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfWindsor George V]] in 1932 (you can see a dramatization of him doing it in ''Series/TheKingsSpeech''), it's broadcast on the terrestrial TV channels BBC One and [=ITV1=] at 3pm and is basically [[UsefulNotes/HMTheQueen the Queen]] making a short to-camera speech to the country and UsefulNotes/TheCommonwealth (over clips of her doing things, media footage etc.) on the events of the year. Political opinions will be of the neutral, non-party political variety (along the lines of 'People died. That's bad.'). While it was originally presented live, it has since become a pre-recorded message and the Queen has been dubbed "One-Take Windsor" by various camera crews for the minimal amount of fuss it takes to shoot the speech. Once, the text was leaked to [[BritishNewspapers tabloid newspaper]] ''The Sun''; despite the alleged shock, the world kept turning -- the monarch will always say broadly the same things anyway, and no-one really imagines she just gets up from the table, wipes mince pie crumbs from her chin, quickly swaps a paper crown with her tiara and delivers a live off-the-cuff monologue to her subjects. Recently, the Queen, technophile that she is, has spread the message on the royal Website/YouTube and via podcast as well as on TV. In 2012's broadcast, she appeared for the first time in 3D!\\

to:

* ''The Queen's Speech.'' More formally known as the Royal Christmas Message and originated by [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfWindsor George V]] in 1932 (you can see a dramatization of him doing it in ''Series/TheKingsSpeech''), it's broadcast on the terrestrial TV channels BBC One and [=ITV1=] at 3pm and is basically [[UsefulNotes/HMTheQueen the Queen]] making a short to-camera speech to the country and UsefulNotes/TheCommonwealth (over clips of her doing things, media footage etc.) on the events of the year. Political opinions will be of the neutral, non-party political variety (along the lines of 'People died. That's bad.'). While it was originally presented live, it has since become a pre-recorded message and the Queen has been dubbed "One-Take Windsor" by various camera crews for the minimal amount of fuss it takes to shoot the speech. Once, the text was leaked to [[BritishNewspapers tabloid newspaper]] ''The Sun''; despite the alleged shock, the world kept turning -- the monarch will always say broadly the same things anyway, and no-one really imagines she just gets up from the table, wipes mince pie crumbs from her chin, quickly swaps a paper crown with her tiara and delivers a live off-the-cuff monologue to her subjects. Recently, Nowadays the Queen, technophile that she is, has spread the message on the royal Website/YouTube and via podcast as well as on TV. In 2012's broadcast, she appeared for the first time in 3D!\\



** In 1993, as part of its Christmas in New York season, Creator/ChannelFour broadcast "The Alternative Queen's Message", made by veteran and pioneering FlamboyantGay Quentin Crisp (a British expat in New York from 1981 until his death in 1999), to run parallel to the Queen's speech on the other channels. Retitled "The Alternative Christmas Message", it has since featured a wide range of (usually controversial) celebrities and public figures touching on a number of issues. Previous presenters have included the parents of hate-crime murder victim Stephen Lawrence, a 9/11 survivor, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. In 2008, just to give an idea of how 'alternative' it can get, the Alternative Christmas Message was given by President Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 2013's alternative message came from American National Security Agency 'whistleblower' Edward Snowden, and regardless of one's feelings towards him his surname is quite fitting for how (northern hemisphere) Christmas gets depicted on greeting cards. In 2004, {{WesternAnimation/The Simpsons}} delivered the speech; a few months earlier Channel 4 had won the terrestrial rights to the show from BBC Two.

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** In 1993, as part of its Christmas "Christmas in New York York" season, Creator/ChannelFour broadcast "The Alternative Queen's Message", made by veteran and pioneering FlamboyantGay Quentin Crisp (a British expat in New York from 1981 until his death in 1999), to run parallel to the Queen's speech on the other channels. Retitled "The Alternative Christmas Message", it has since featured a wide range of (usually controversial) celebrities and public figures touching on a number of issues. Previous presenters have included the parents of hate-crime murder victim Stephen Lawrence, Lawrence; a 9/11 survivor, and survivor; the Rev. Jesse Jackson.Jackson; and Sharon Osbourne (wife of Music/{{Ozzy|Osbourne}}). In 2008, just to give an idea of how 'alternative' it can get, the Alternative Christmas Message was given by President Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 2013's alternative message came from American National Security Agency 'whistleblower' Edward Snowden, and regardless of one's feelings towards him him, his surname is quite fitting for how (northern hemisphere) Christmas gets depicted on greeting cards. In 2004, {{WesternAnimation/The Simpsons}} delivered the speech; a few months earlier Channel 4 had won the terrestrial rights to the show from BBC Two.
9th Dec '16 5:39:12 AM cwickham
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** In 1993, as part of its Christmas in New York season, Creator/ChannelFour broadcast "The Alternative Queen's Message", made by veteran and pioneering FlamboyantGay Quentin Crisp (a British expat in New York from 1981 until his death in 1999), to run parallel to the Queen's speech on the other channels. Retitled "The Alternative Christmas Message", it has since featured a wide range of (usually controversial) celebrities and public figures touching on a number of issues. Previous presenters have included the parents of hate-crime murder victim Stephen Lawrence, a 9/11 survivor, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. In 2008, just to give an idea of how 'alternative' it can get, the Alternative Christmas Message was given by President Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 2013's alternative message came from American National Security Agency 'whistleblower' Edward Snowden, and regardless of one's feelings towards him his surname is quite fitting for how (northern hemisphere) Christmas gets depicted on greeting cards.
** In 2004, to celebrate the terrestrial premiere of season 12 of {{WesternAnimation/The Simpsons}} on BBC Two, Marge Simpson gave a Christmas speech to viewers of BBC Two from an animated version of Pinewood Studios.

to:

** In 1993, as part of its Christmas in New York season, Creator/ChannelFour broadcast "The Alternative Queen's Message", made by veteran and pioneering FlamboyantGay Quentin Crisp (a British expat in New York from 1981 until his death in 1999), to run parallel to the Queen's speech on the other channels. Retitled "The Alternative Christmas Message", it has since featured a wide range of (usually controversial) celebrities and public figures touching on a number of issues. Previous presenters have included the parents of hate-crime murder victim Stephen Lawrence, a 9/11 survivor, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. In 2008, just to give an idea of how 'alternative' it can get, the Alternative Christmas Message was given by President Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 2013's alternative message came from American National Security Agency 'whistleblower' Edward Snowden, and regardless of one's feelings towards him his surname is quite fitting for how (northern hemisphere) Christmas gets depicted on greeting cards.
**
cards. In 2004, to celebrate the terrestrial premiere of season 12 of {{WesternAnimation/The Simpsons}} on BBC Two, Marge Simpson gave delivered the speech; a Christmas speech few months earlier Channel 4 had won the terrestrial rights to viewers of BBC Two the show from an animated version of Pinewood Studios.BBC Two.
26th Nov '16 12:39:06 AM Rungles
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In recent years, some traditions and conventions from other English-speaking countries have started to appear, mostly due to the lower cost of transport and increased relations between the UK, America, Europe (especially Germany, Italy and France) and The Commonwealth. Naturally, these influences are subject to the same ebb-and-flow of any imported trend. For example, UsefulNotes/BlackFriday, previously a chiefly-American spiel, had crashed into the Christmas season in full force by 2014, and Brits everywhere seem to go just as crazy for it as their friends across the pond. A mere two years later and the public appear to have lost interest, and the images of quiet high street shops inspired the press to label the 2016 rendition "Blank Friday".

to:

In recent years, some traditions and conventions from other English-speaking countries have started to appear, mostly due to the lower cost of transport and increased relations between the UK, America, Europe (especially Germany, Italy and France) and The Commonwealth. Naturally, these influences are subject to the same ebb-and-flow of any imported trend. For example, UsefulNotes/BlackFriday, previously a chiefly-American spiel, had crashed into the Christmas season in full force by 2014, and Brits everywhere seem seemed to go just as crazy for it as their friends across the pond. A mere two years later and the public appear appeared to have lost interest, and with the images of quiet high street highstreet shops inspired inspiring the press to label the 2016 rendition "Blank Friday".
26th Nov '16 12:37:12 AM Rungles
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In recent years, some traditions and conventions from other English-speaking countries have started to appear, mostly due to the lower cost of transport and increased relations between the UK, America, Europe (especially Germany, Italy and France) and The Commonwealth. For example, UsefulNotes/BlackFriday, previously a chiefly-American spiel, has crashed into the Christmas season in full force, and Brits everywhere seem to go just as crazy for it as their friends across the pond.

to:

In recent years, some traditions and conventions from other English-speaking countries have started to appear, mostly due to the lower cost of transport and increased relations between the UK, America, Europe (especially Germany, Italy and France) and The Commonwealth. Naturally, these influences are subject to the same ebb-and-flow of any imported trend. For example, UsefulNotes/BlackFriday, previously a chiefly-American spiel, has had crashed into the Christmas season in full force, force by 2014, and Brits everywhere seem to go just as crazy for it as their friends across the pond.
pond. A mere two years later and the public appear to have lost interest, and the images of quiet high street shops inspired the press to label the 2016 rendition "Blank Friday".
26th Nov '16 12:25:54 AM Rungles
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Obviously the UK does not celebrate UsefulNotes/ThanksgivingDay, and, between not having been occupied by any foreign power since 1066 and having a [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar revolution]] without any really truly clear dates for celebration that wouldn't also be divisive,[[note]]I mean, can you imagine the Queen marking the date Charles I got his head lopped off? Or what some of the louder Scots and more committedly Irish Northern Irish would say if the anniversary of the Glorious Revolution that ultimately knocked out the Stuarts was the national holiday? Or what certain others would say if it were the anniversary of Charles II's restoration?[[/note]] does not celebrate any independence day (as in, say, the US) or commemoration of a revolution (as in, say, France). Thus, Christmas in the United Kingdom is far more of a dominant event than it is in the United States and elsewhere. Indeed, inhabitants of these sceptered isles have celebrated the winter solstice since before the birth of Christ, the Roman, Viking, and Norman invasions[[note]] [[Series/BlackAdder (what about the Swiss invasions!?!)]] [[/note]], so, though Brits don't usually consider it, beneath all the tinsel, Brussels sprouts and unwanted socks at least two millennia of tradition and community are reflected in the average Christmas, with old and new customs -- both original and appropriated -- stacked on top of each other. This veritable smorgasbord of practices forms the nucleus of the [[TitleDrop very British affair]] described below.

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Obviously the The UK does not celebrate a designated harvest UsefulNotes/ThanksgivingDay, with the closest equivalent having long since been subsumed by Guy Fawkes Night, and, between not having been occupied by any foreign power since 1066 and having a [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar revolution]] without any really truly clear dates for celebration that wouldn't also be divisive,[[note]]I mean, can you imagine the Queen marking the date Charles I got his head lopped off? Or what some of the louder Scots and more committedly Irish Northern Irish would say if the anniversary of the Glorious Revolution that ultimately knocked out the Stuarts was the national holiday? Or what certain others would say if it were the anniversary of Charles II's restoration?[[/note]] does not celebrate any independence day (as in, say, the US) or commemoration of a revolution (as in, say, France). Thus, Christmas in the United Kingdom is far more of a dominant event than it is in the United States and elsewhere. Indeed, inhabitants of these sceptered isles have celebrated the winter solstice since before the birth of Christ, the Roman, Viking, and Norman invasions[[note]] [[Series/BlackAdder (what about the Swiss invasions!?!)]] [[/note]], so, though Brits don't usually consider it, beneath all the tinsel, Brussels sprouts and unwanted socks at least two millennia of tradition and community are reflected in the average Christmas, with old and new customs -- both original and appropriated -- stacked on top of each other. This veritable smorgasbord of practices forms the nucleus of the [[TitleDrop very British affair]] described below.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=UsefulNotes.AVeryBritishChristmas