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What Makes A Great British Christmas
Here at Country Attire we are proud to provide essential British heritage brands, it is within our identity in which we celebrate heritage and the continuous traditions of our great nation. Christmas is a time for family, a time to reflect on what matters most and furthermore show your loved ones they are appreciated. In good spirit we have endeavoured to capture what makes the British Christmas so poignant and significant to our routine. So if you spent this year making a list, not checking it twice and then going on a mad panic round the shops to buy anything worthy do not fret, you’re not alone and its these routines which make your Christmas memorable, at least that’s what you can tell the family.
Advent marks the time when it’s socially acceptable to play Christmas songs and show any toward enthusiasm for the big day. Starting at the very beginning of December, most of us mark it with a calendar to count the days down (and have another excuse to cram chocolate into your diet). Each day leading to Christmas marks is signified with a chocolatey treat to be savoured, that is if you don’t cave by the 3rd and devour the lot. Suitable for festive wishers of all ages, you’re never too old to partake in the passage of counting down to Christmas, at least that’s what we Brits tell ourselves. Religious followers take a more traditional route and mark the time by regularly attending church to witness a new candle lit each week of the commemorating wreath until the final Advent candle is struck on Christmas Day to mark the birth of Christ. Throughout advent each family has their own take on tradition, some may go caroling together and book social outings whilst others keep things low key and await the big day, whatever your habits prove, sticking to the usual is what keeps Christmas sacred.
Along with loosening the purse strings, the waist ones are sure to follow with extra indulgence given a favourable allowance through the festive season. It’s unavoidable that one nominated family member will volunteer to re-do the Christmas shop after everyone got impatient and picked away at the planned feast in advance. Once your stock pile of food is repopulated and carefully stored away for the main day, you can check off which covetable favourites are included in your big shop. Yorkshire Puddings have become an institution in the classic Sunday/Christmas dinner. Not to be confused with an actual dessert, Yorkshires are of savoury taste and usually accompany cooked meat and vegetables for a Sunday meal. Another classic sustenance of the season is the Mince Pie, a simple pastry not always to everyone’s taste but something of a veteran in the British Christmas snack supplies. Other food favourites include pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon) and mulled wine as firm preferences through the season.
As song states, it is the season to be jolly, which is offered up in an abundance of opportunities throughout the Christmas period in a range of Christmas parties and events. The obligatory work annual event is always a mine field to navigate, with each attendee trying to strike the balance of unsociable recluse and embarrassing drunk whose antics are regaled for the following six months after the fateful night. If you successfully survive yours, you then have the barrage of multiple soirees of family members you can’t quite remember how you’re related to and the more informal friend’s gatherings. Family events always include a round of all-inclusive board games with ample opportunity to enjoy a drink and prove your knowledge in Trivial Pursuit or Scattegories. Friend’s gatherings usually go a little less organised and consist of an excuse to catch up and be merry, be it in the comfort of a house or a pub to suit whatever your personal traditions adhere to.
When you’ve eaten to your heart’s content the only thing left to do is catch up on those much anticipated TV shows which have become an integral part of many families Christmas Day routine. It wouldn’t be Christmas without being in a self-inflicted food slump, cuddled up on the sofa aimlessly flicking through the selection of festive favourites. This year shows promise with the likes of Sherlock, Strictly and Doctor Who making grand returns to the screen. Downton Abbey lovers would be foolish to miss the highly anticipated finale on Christmas Day, the perfect time to relax and fully take in the drama. Of course the Queen’s Speech is essential to the main day’s broadcasting schedule, overlooking the past years triumphs and offering words of wisdom for the year to come.
Boxing Day once marked the highlight of the sale shopping calendar (now overtaken by Black Friday). With all the tenacity of a melting snowman, it has slowly dwindled to a slow burn over a quick fizzle, a less frantic event yet all the same still an excellent opportunity to treat yourself to the best of end of season savings. Nurse your Christmas hangover from the comfort of your own home and shop online if the thought of traipsing the shops is the last thing on your to-do-list. British stores will prepare early for the army of bargain hunters, equipped with additional staff and ungodly opening times to begin battle. If you do plan on entering the foray, do so armed with coffee and a skilled team preferably with negotiable elbows to tackle those trickier crowds. The derivation of Boxing Day seems to vary amongst historians, but never the less it remains a key highlight of the festive season each year, warranting an extra bank holiday to ensure you get an extra day of rest over the holidays.
Decking your halls with themed accessories is customary to our great nations Christmas. Whether so enthusiastic or begrudgingly, showing your spirit through the medium of sparkly tinsel is to embrace your inner British identity and partake in the good spirited fun. Highlights of this time will include meticulous plotting to keep the pets from tree destruction and obsessively repining or hanging those pesky decorations which refuse to stay in position. Undoubtedly there will always be that one neighbour who forgets/refuses to remove their lighted display in the allocated 12 days and leaves the street resembling Blackpool illuminations until past July. The adornments themselves are crucial to the nature of this practice, with crackers being an unmissable part of your table laid dinner. For the unfamiliar, the cracker is named as such after the bang exuded from competitive pulling either side, as two family members brutishly struggle to win the randomly chose gift within. Habitual to this accessory is the painfully rubbish joke within, which is always to be read aloud for all to sigh with disdain in response but secretly enjoy all the same.
Typical Christmas outings depend on the individual’s choice, but without doubt there are a few which recurrently feature in most lists. The school nativity is a rite of passage for many youngsters to cut their teeth in acting and realise they have no clue what they are doing. Proud parents chant cheers of encouragement from the stands as your sisters best friends niece portrays Mary of Nazareth and tries to pick up the pieces after the nervous kid unavoidably forgets their lines, proceeding to lead an awkward silence as an over enthusiastic drama teacher motions frantically from side stage. Other momentous events include the pre and post-Christmas rounds to see the relatives who were unavailable on the main day itself. Such visits can be lucrative as each trip usually involves a new excuse to have Christmas Dinner all over again and consume some of your favourite foods as mentioned above. Inevitably there will always be the frantic shopper who forgot and spends Christmas Eve resembling a contestant from Supermarket Sweep on a mad dash to tick of their entire list in time, but all in all it wouldn’t be Christmas without these repeating eventualities.