Christmas in England means a stuffed turkey and a Christmas pudding
Christmas is, of course, a holiday loved by children, as their eyes sparkle with wonder and excitement at the brightly-lit Christmas tree and the wrapped presents. Here in Great Britain, children never forget to place a little glass of Sherry and a mincemeat tart in front of the fireplace to thank Father Christmas for filling the Christmas stockings that hang at the foot of their beds or on the fireplace mantel. It was Prince Albert who brought the Christmas tree tradition from his native Germany to the kingdom of his spouse, Queen Victoria.
The feast is prepared for months in advance, so that the table groans under the weight of the food: oyster soup; an enormous, majestically browned turkey, or rather two turkeys: one boiled, the other roasted with chestnuts, accompanied by a whole succession of vegetables, sauces, and bright red cranberries. Turkey has been popular in England since Tudor times when they were farmed in Norfolk and walked slowly to London, their feet coated in tar to arrive for Christmas celebrations in the Royal court, but its place today on the Christmas table stems from the late 1800s. In earlier times swan or peacock took pride of place on aristocratic tables alongside the boar’s head – gilded and shining, with an apple or orange in its jaws.
There is also the famous Stilton cheese, sitting out on a marble base to come to the perfect temperature; mincemeat tarts… At the end of Christmas Day, once everyone has listened to the Queen's Christmas Message, the plum pudding is brought out to be enjoyed for tea on the stroke of five, as the guests raise a drop of port to toast Her Majesty.
Holly boughs are everywhere: on tables, and in bunches hung from frames and mirrors, while a big ball of mistletoe is suspended in the spot most favoured for kissing!
In Britain, the ceremony of First Footing is traditionally observed in the early hours of New Year's Day. A piece of bread is left outside a door, with a piece of coal and a silver coin, and is supposed to bring you food, warmth and riches in the year ahead.
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