Christmas Eve - 24th December
In England less emphasis is placed on Christmas Eve than in other countries, much more is made of Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Carol singing, midnight church services and going out to the pub are some of the activities that many families enjoy.
Christmas Eve is a very exciting time for young children. It is the time when Santa or Father Christmas comes. They hang up their stockings and go to sleep.
Christmas Day - 25th December
In the UK families open their presents in the morning. Then, some families attend church on Christmas Day and they also watch the Queen’s Speech.
The big event on Christmas Day is the family dinner served at 3pm. Most people enjoy the traditional turkey and Christmas pudding as a dessert. The best thing about this day is spending time with the family. People sing Christmas carols. Some carollers sing around cities and collect money for charity.
Boxing Day - 26th December
Boxing Day is a public holiday and it is traditionally a time to give gifts to tradesmen, servants and friends.
It originated in medieval times, when every priest was supposed to empty the alms box of his church and distribute gifts to the poor.
New Year's Eve - 31st December
British people go to parties on New Year’s eve. There are usually fireworks too.
Christmas Crackers are used to decorate the table at Christmas dinner. A cracker is a small cardboard tube covered in a brightly coloured twist of paper. When the cracker is 'pulled' by two people, each holding one end of the twisted paper, the friction creates a small explosive 'pop’. Inside the cracker there is usually a tissue paper hat, a balloon, a slip of paper with a joke on it and a small gift (usually a little cheap plastic thing).
Mistletoe was considered sacred by the people of ancient Britain. It was believed to have magical properties. People who met under a tree with mistletoe were forbidden to fight, even if they were enemies. The Celtic people believed it had miraculous healing powers, it protected the house from ghosts and brought good luck.
Nowadays it’s a special decoration used at Christmas parties. People who meet under the mistletoe are supposed to kiss. But there is a limit to how much you can kiss under one sprig of mistletoe. For each kiss a berry must be removed and once all the berries are gone - no more kissing!