The English Christmas celebrations include the
beautiful Christmas music, decorated Christmas Trees and hang up
evergreen branches. The English gift giver is called Father Christmas
and he wears a long red or green robe, and leaves presents in stockings
on Christmas Eve. However, the gifts are not usually opened until the
Christmas in England began in AD 596, when St Augustine landed on her
shores with monks who wanted to bring Christianity to the Anglo Saxons.
Father Christmas delivers them during the night before Christmas. The
Children leave an empty stocking or pillowcase hanging at the end of the
bed. In the morning they hope it will be full of presents.
In England the day after Christmas is called Boxing Day because boys
used to go round collecting money in clay boxes. When the boxes were
full, they broke them open. In England Christmas dinner was usually
eaten at Midday on December 25, during daylight.
In England the traditional Christmas dinner is roast turkey with
vegetables and sauces. For dessert it is rich, fruity Christmas pudding
with brandy sauce. Mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of
chopped dried fruit.
The Christmas tree is central to England's holiday celebration and,
although it had been seen in various places in England, it grew
extremely popular when Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, brought
the tradition to the Royal Family from his native Germany in the
mid-nineteenth century. However, it has not entirely eclipsed the
kissing bough (a mixture of evergreens and mistletoe).