i can write another post about christmas if i want

Christmas in England- not that I am the expert. But I have observed differences and feel it’s only fair to share.

1. The British are unabashedly into Christmas. There is something refreshing about the total submission and resignation of London and its people to this holiday. Nobody says Happy Holidays or places a menorah in the vicinity to give any air of religious equality. There are 7 million Christmas parties, lunches, events in the workplace. And if you don’t want to do Secret Santa, people kick you and pour mulled wine up your nose in some pseudo-Kris Kringle waterboarding tactic.

peppermint_bark-gh-brownie2. Apparently candy canes are American. WHAT?! Someone had peppermint bark at work the other day and I attacked it with the ferociousness of someone coming off a 10-day hunger strike. I am pretty sure at one point a tear rolled down my cheek and I closed my eyes and hugged the container and whispered “Williams-Sonoma, I missed you” over and over.

mincepies3. Instead of fruitcake, the British eat mince pies. So I feel like if you are going to grind up fruit and force people to eat it even though everyone knows they would rather have cheesecake or something actually resembling deliciousness, the way to go is surely mince pies. At least there is pastry crust and sugar involved.

4. A majority of the Christmas cards for sale are for charity. Well done, colonists! We’ve got it wrong in America with our pure corporate greed. If you know everyone is going to be killing trees and letter carriers anyway to send photos of their kids out while refusing a personal message in ink anywhere to be seen, I do think the proceeds should go to cancer research. It’s a really nice idea.

5. These are big. tapestry-177-sm1And these. bs2981251

6. Turkey is the big Christmas meal. Turkey deli meat is like $8.00 per slice the rest of the year here so eat up!

7. The day after Christmas is Boxing Day and it involves money maybe so I will be celebrating it this year if at all possible.

20071215_1257488. Apparently the gift-giver is Father Christmas, but that did not stop hundreds of people this past weekend from dressing as Santa Claus and marching through the streets of London for hours on what might be the world’s greatest pub crawl. I made Bryan go, and next year we are dressing up. Who’s in?!



Filed under culture clash, holidays

9 responses to “i can write another post about christmas if i want

  1. Boxing Day involves money? I didn’t know that.

    Candy canes didn’t exist it the English
    Christmas till very recently. As a child, I wouldn’t have known what one was.

    Crackers are a total waste of money – we all know that and we all buy them anyway. I’m not sure why.

    As an English child, I knew that Father Christmas was called Santa Claus in America (he’s the same person, actually, just with a different name). Then we moved to Scotland, and I discovered he’s called Santa Claus north of the border.

    You will develop a liking for mince pies if you keep trying long enough. Trust me. Start off with lots of cream or brandy butter, if you don’t like the taste. Then you can reduce that over time, till you find that actually, even if you don’t like the taste, it is so reminiscent of Christmas, that you do, in spite of what your tastebuds tell you. This is a process that takes several years for a Brit (kids don’t like mince pies, adults do, I rest my case). You might have to speed the process up a little. In Scotland they call them mincemeat tarts (just in case you are looking for a piece of Christmas trivia to share with colleagues at the Chirstmas party).

  2. Pleban

    While I won’t be in London next year as Santa, I have promised friends that I will be traveling to NYC for SantaCon next year: http://www.nycsantacon.com/

    Highlights include over 1000 Santas on the S.I Ferry. Check out the awesome Santacon Nyc photos on Flikr too.

  3. Matt was in Santacon this year in NY. I find this to be egregious and reprehensible and creates a hostile work environment for me based on my religion. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

  4. The last time I was in the UK for Christmas I noticed that it is indeed possible to buy candy canes over there now.

    I miss mince pies. Occasionally our Stop & Shop has them in at Christmas time. I miss Christmas cake even more. REAL fruitcake – not the nasty dry stuff you find in the US. DARK fruitcake that was cooked (or bought) back in September and has been fed a regular diet of brandy and maybe a little Guinness ever since so the fruit is nice and moist. With marzipan and royal icing. Sigh! One year I will get my act together and make one.

    Cheap crackers have cheap junk inside them. Expensive crackers have better quality junk.

  5. yael

    Iota, I trust everything Wikipedia tells me: “Boxing Day dates back to the century in which the primary practice of giving gifts to employees or to people in a lower social class. The name has numerous folk etymologies.
    A Christmas box is, in English tradition, a clay box used in artisan shops. Apprentices, masters, visitors, customers, and others would put donations of money into the box, like a piggy bank, and then, after Christmas, the box would be shattered and all the contents shared among the workers of the shop. Thus, masters and customers could donate bonuses to the workers anonymously, and the employees could average their wages. The habit of breaking the Christmas box lent its name to Boxing Day.”

    Pleban and Brian…SANTACON!! I’ll be drunk next year in a Hanukkah Santa suit in London- of course we’ll be able to track each other on Twitter. Twitter what!

    Almost American, this is the year for you. Make your real fruitcake.

  6. tosha

    i can see how you’d get so swept up there by all of the celebration. unfortunately, here in the most progressive state of america- we only get one day off from work. how boring is that!

  7. sonjey

    I can’t wait to try everything and take it all in..Sonjey’s first time travelling on Xmas…Hooray! P.S. Do I wear my favorite xmas sweater or should I dress in Blue and White?

  8. nilda

    Sonjey, wear the Christmad sweater – seriously, how often do you get (or dare) to wear that thing?!

  9. yael

    As usual, I am late here.

    I am sad I wasn’t invited to any Ugly Christmas Sweater parties this year. Sonjey, I agree. wear yours. We even got a tree for you. THIS JEW BROKE DOWN AND BOUGHT A TREE.

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