Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East
Englanders have their own unique way of celebrating the holidays. For many Americans their Christmas customs will evoke visions of a bygone era with its Dickensian flavor. For those of us that grew up watching A Christmas Carol this type of revelry has a special appeal.
If you are from New England (or Minnesota for that matter) Christmas time in the original England is attractive for another reason; it really doesn't get that cold there. The average temperature in London in December hovers around 40Â° Fahrenheit. That's not that bad when you're used to living on the frozen tundra! Even though it is generally not a white Christmas there is plenty of Christmas spirit to be had in England.
One of the most beloved English Christmastime traditions is Wassailing. Nothing brings to mind the Victorian Christmas like images of men and woman bundled in their finery singing Christmas Carols. Like many holiday traditions Wassailing actually comes from a pagan tradition. In ancient times people would sing to their orchards hoping to encourage a plentiful harvest!
Another great English Christmas tradition is the Christmas cracker. Essentially these are cardboard tubes wrapped in colorful paper, and housing a small toy inside. At dinner time guests sitting next to each other each take one end of the Christmas cracker and pull. There is a loud snap as the tube breaks in half. Whoever comes away with the larger half gets the toy inside. It's a little bit like snapping the wishbone for luck.
The fun at dinner time does not stop there. Dinner always ends with the obligatory Christmas pudding. In England "pudding" can mean practically any kind of desert. In this case it is a small black cake. It is heavily spiced and often times contain fruits and nuts. Essential to the Christmas pudding experience is the small coin inside. One person will get the coin in their portion and this grants them good luck (and hopefully not a broken tooth) until next Christmas!
Make your next vacation in England a holiday adventure and see Christmas in a whole new way!
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