Picture a scene of snow covered hills, carol singers, mince pies and reindeer. That’s what a typical English Christmas is all about right? Well I have yet to experience this, except perhaps on the TV. If you are thinking of going to the UK for a festive holiday, I am here to share with you the realities of an English Christmas before you go and buy your plane ticket.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…… and I’ll probably be dreaming about it for the rest of my life. As a rule, it never snows at Christmas. Ever. It will probably rain or at best you will wake to a leaden sky that begins to get dark again just after breakfast.
You will never get as many sausages as you wanted and the person next to you always gets the present in the Christmas cracker, but will let you wear the silly paper hat inside “so it’s fair”. Then there’s the pudding which you have to set fire to before you eat. Any food that must be burned before eating cannot be trusted. Probably the highlight of the meal is the cracker joke. Here are a few gems:
Q: What do they sing at a snowman’s birthday party?
A: Freeze a jolly good fellow!
Q: Why did Santa’s helper go to the doctors?
A: Because he had low “elf”-esteem!
You get the picture.
There are no Reyes Magos for English kids, but Father Christmas is just as generous. Stockings are left out for Santa on Christmas Eve with a glass of Sherry (that dad ends up drinking) a mince pie (finished off by dad) and a carrot for Rudolph (I guess dad eats that too…). Whether you are in to the whole Santa thing or not, you have to admire a parent’s skill at filling your stocking with presents without you realising- not once have I been woken up! And for some reason, you always get an orange in your stocking.
Christmas carols are sung at midnight mass and half the congregation is made up of inebriated members of the public who have wandered into Church because it’s cold outside and the pub has shut.
If the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special isn’t exciting enough for you, there’s the Queen’s speech. Broadcasted every year at 3pm, it is the perfect time to go upstairs and have a post-turkey nap if you’re not a fan of her Royal Majesty or pay attention for the first 20 minutes and then fall asleep in front of the TV if you are.
Check out the top ten Christmas presents for language learners – in pictures