Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas around the World - The UK part 2

The Queen giving her annual Christmas speech, complete with awfully bright clothing

Here's the 2nd part of Bee's post about Christmas here in the UK!

After dinner in a lot of families there is then some traditional Christmas television. The most notably being The Royal Christmas Message which is a broadcast made by our monarch to the Commonwealth of Nations each Christmas. The tradition began in 1932 with a radio broadcast by King George V and today, the message is read by Queen Elizabeth II and broadcast on the BBC or ITN (two major television channels accessible in all homes).

The speech generally covers all matters of interest from the year passed both in the UK and the royal family, and a reflection and a reminder to think of those who can’t be with their families on Christmas Day, such as the armed forces. Since 1993 Channel 4 has produced the Alternative Christmas Message as a rival broadcast offering. The long running British soap opera Eastenders always air a particularly dramatic and shocking storyline in their Christmas Day episode and in the past the Christmas edition of Top of The Pops was the most anticipated edition of the year, and since the show itself was cancelled, the Christmas edition has remained a Christmas Day TV institution.

Jimmy Saville presenting an old episode of Top of the Pops

My family however are not exactly TV fans and in fact, the TV is banned on Christmas Day as time to spend together is so precious that it doesn’t feel right to sit in silence watching other people talk! So instead we play board games or charades. Many long running family jokes emerge from these slightly-merry games sessions and they last late into the evening. Despite everyone announcing they are full to bursting after Christmas dinner, you can always find my family members in kitchen come 8pm filling plates with cold turkey and potatoes, or creating mountainous toasted sandwiches packed with dinner leftovers!

In the UK we also celebrate Boxing Day, the day directly after Christmas. It is a bank holiday, meaning an official day off work. There are lots of varying traditional occurrences on Boxing Day, such as attending the football, rugby or darts – all these sports hold matches on this day. There are also huge sales and offers at most shops, making it a popular day to go spending any money received as gifts over Christmas. Most however just use it as another day to spend with their family or visit friends/relatives. Or... to sleep off their hangover!

1 comment

  1. i'm not sure why, but i've always imagined xmas being so much cooler over in the uk and i guess i was right.


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