Fundoo Times
Celebration of Christmas in the United Kingdom largely includes Christmas carols, decoration of Christmas tree, and hanging up of holly and ivy.

Christmas in UK

Christmas in the United Kingdom started in AD 596, when St Augustine landed on the shores of the country along with monks who wanted to spread Christianity among the Anglo Saxons. Celebration of Christmas in the United Kingdom includes Christmas carols, decoration of Christmas tree and hanging up of evergreen branches of holly and ivy. The custom of hanging of Christmas holly and Christmas ivy originated many years prior to the Christian era. The greenery of holly and ivy perhaps used to lift the drooping winter spirits and remind the people that spring was not far away.

The decoration of Christmas tree is basically a German custom. This custom was popularized in the United States in 1841 by Prince Albert, when he had a Christmas tree installed in Windsor Castle especially for his wife Queen Victoria and their children. The custom of 'kissing under the mistletoe' came to the country from ancient Druid rites. Singing Christmas carols is another old custom that was originated in the country. Many years ago, groups of serenades used to visit every house of the country to spread the holiday spirit across the country by singing Christmas carols.

Santa Claus is known as Father Christmas in the United Kingdom. The British children write letters to Father Christmas specifying their requests. These letters are not dropped in the mailbox; they are tossed into the fireplace. Children hang stockings from the mantelpiece and expect them to be filled with gifts delivered by Father Christmas. After collecting their gifts, the British children open them on Christmas afternoon. The custom of exchanging gifts on Christmas in the United Kingdom started only during the Victorian times, prior to which the gifts were exchanged on New Year's Day or Twelfth Night.

Christmas dinner in the United Kingdom is usually eaten at midday on Christmas. The menu for Christmas 'daylight' dinner includes roasted turkey served with vegetables and sauces. A mouth-watering fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce is served as the dessert. Other delicacies for the Christmas dinner include mince pies and pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit. Children sometimes leave the mince pies and brandy for Father Christmas to eat and drink when he visits to deliver them presents.

The day after Christmas in the United Kingdom is known as 'Boxing Day'. During the day, boys use to go around with clay boxes for the collection of money. When the clay boxes are full, they are broken and opened at the churches and the money is donated to the poor and needy. Boxing Day marked its beginning in the mid-nineteenth century and is a part of the Christmas season that is unique to the United Kingdom. This day is dedicated to the distribution of money to the poor people.