Traditions, Values and Young People

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Christmas Customs in the United Kingdom

This text was written by a student from Mülheim, Germany, whose mother is Scottish.

Christmas time usually starts at the beginning of December. People start to send their Christmas cards to friends and family all over the world. It's not unusual to get 20-50 cards, which are part of the Christmas decorations in the house.

British people also put up their Christmas tree very early and children, of course, like to open the doors of their advent calendar. Mistletoe is hung up in doorways and it is a custom to kiss the person who is standing underneath it. People hang up decorations and holly wreaths, too.

In preparation for Christmas, people make a special Christmas cake made from dried fruits with sherry or whiskey. It`s covered in marzipan and icing and kept until Christmas. The earlier it is made, the better it tastes at Christmas and New Year.

On Christmas Eve children hang up their stocking before they go to bed. They hope that Santa Claus will come down the chimney and bring lots of presents. Of course when Santa Claus comes he will drink the glass of milk and eat the biscuit that the children have left for him and the carrot is for his reindeer.

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At about 11.30 p.m. many families go to the Watchnight Service in the church to sing Christmas carols or songs and celebrate the birth of Jesus.

On the 25th of December, Christmas Day, children get up very early and open up their presents.

In the afternoon, after the Queen`s speech on TV at 3 o´clock, most families sit down to have their Christmas dinner. Christmas dinner is turkey, roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, chestnut stuffing and cranberry sauce, followed by Christmas pudding and brandy butter. There are always Christmas crackers on the table. Inside the cracker is a paper hat, a lucky charm and a joke.

Christmas pudding
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The next day is Boxing Day. People eat the rest of their turkey and maybe go for a long walk or visit family. It´s a fun time for everyone.