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Friday, 9 December 2016

Blogmas #9: British Family Xmas Traditions

My family are quintessentially British. 

We drink copious amounts of Tea and love the Queen. 

Here is a run down of our Christmas traditions. This year will be our first christmas at our new house so I hope new traditions will be born!! 

The Tree: 

2015 Tree
Real fur tree, purchased and installed mid-December. Then we get all our mouse-eaten, falling apart musty decorations from centuries past down from the loft. Lights on first, delicate ornaments at the top away from furry paws, no colour themes or order just everything chucked on. Tinsel literally thrown on last.

The teeny tiny orange fairy goes at the top. She's at least 50 years old but had a dress renovation a few years back. The head has been gnawed away but we still love her. 

Must-Have Decorations: 

-Creepy moving Father Christmas doll.

-Very old, jingly mechanical bells that play carols ad nauseam, are strung up and are played on loop until January.

Crib Display that is always sabotaged at some point. Mum hides the baby Jesus so he doesn't end up on the roof mid-sabotage. 
Hedgehog not included.

-Paper chain moles. Don't ask.

Must-See Films:

A Muppet Christmas Carol~ Jim Henson Productions~ 1992
 This absolute classic is a retelling of a Christmas Carol with Michael Caine as Scrooge and The Muppets (although there are human actors who play Mr and Mrs Fred and Belle). You've gotta see it on VHS- with The Love Is Gone track included which was edited out of the DVD edition. Full of great songs that must be sung along to word for word- this film is a festive must-see. 

Father Christmas Goes on Holiday~ John Coates~ 1991
Written by The Snowman creator Raymond Briggs this story concerns what Father Christmas does on the other 364 days of the year. Apparently he's a grumpy old sod. 


The Fool of the World and The Flying Ship~ Cosgrove Hall Films~ 1990
A Russian folk tale brought to life in proper stop-motion animation. A peasant boy is kind to an old man who magics him a flying ship. He meets a bunch of weirdos on the way to see the Tsar to marry the princess (in a nutshell). We have this recorded on a VHS from the TV complete with adverts me and my sister quote by heart. The Fool of the world is followed by an episode of:

Tales of the Night~ Michel Ocelot~1992 
 Tales of the Night is a Silhouette animation. Two friends take over an old cinema at night with the help of the old cinema technician and mechanics in the cinema they recreate old folk stories.  

Cinderella~ Cosgrove Hall Productions~ 1979
This slightly quirky stop motion animation tells the classic story of Cinderella with no dialogue, only music. The music is great in recreating the character's of the Ugly sisters, the down-trodden Cinderella and the fantastical Fairy God Mother - it really is a great piece of stop-motion work and it's finally up on youtube

The Tailor of Gloucester~ BBC Anthology Series~ 1993
A Beatrix Potter classic in animation, The Tailor of Gloucester tells the story of a tailor whose commissioned waistcoat is finished by the mice who he saved from his cat, Simpkin. The best part of this animation is the sequence where Simpkin goes out at midnight 
Check it out HERE (the song sequence is from 14:28)

On Christmas Eve~ Brian Cosgrove~ 1992
This little gem is a story for children who live in houses with no chimneys. 
There is no dialogue in this 30min film except for the creepy man singing at the end during the credits. Like Cinderella there is music that takes us through the story- it is just so charming! A christmas fairy loses her wand and gets taken by a girl and put on the top of her christmas tree. A toy mouse helps to rescue the fairy's wand so that the fairy can escape from the tree and call all her fairy friends to guide Father Christmas up the stairs to deliver the presents to the girl (as there is no chimney). My sister and I used to fight over who was the fairy. My sister always won. No grudges (there are many). See it HERE

Oh and the Polar Express! 

Christmas Eve:

During the day we will track Santa's journey on Google Earth because being an adult is boring and this phenomena thanks to technology and like-minded mad people is a great way to spend your time. 

At 11pm Mum and I go along and ring the church bells for Midnight Mass. Mum and I will sing all the carol descants with great gusto. When we're home we'll put out a tot of brandy, a mince pie and a carrot. Through the night, my dad will glug down the brandy and my mum will make teeth marks in the carrot.  Writing this, I realise how quirky we all are. Should I really be admitting all of this? 

Christmas Day:

-Wake up and open some presents (used to be stockings until we realised we're all adults now)
-Dad starts cooking
-My small amount of relatives (the numbers up to 4 now) arrive.

2015 Offering
-1pm Food: Roast Turkey, Pigs in Blankets, potatoes, gravy, sprouts and veg followed by a holly sprigged flaming christmas pudding drowned in Brandy. There'll be two this year!

The flaming Xmas pud with resident fire tamer. 
3pm - we'll sit down with Coffee and presents and tune into the Queen's Speech

2015 Queeny

- 5pm My family will start a round of: ConsequencesThis game is simple yet hilarious- especially if your playing it with people who can't draw and/or elderly folks.

How To Play:

  • Each person is given a length of paper and a pencil.
  • Everyone writes an object or phrase at the top of the paper.
  • Everyone passes their paper to the person sitting next to them.
  • On the paper your given, you then draw a picture to illustrate the word/phrase above and turn over the word at the top of the page to hide it before passing it on to the next person who has to decipher what the picture is that you've just drawn and write the word/phrase underneath. They turn over the picture and pass the paper on round to the next person. 
  •  That person then draws a pic to illustrate the word and so on...

-7pm Turkey sandwiches, cheese board, mince pies and christmas cake are consumed. My dad and aunt will start a competitive game of Scrabble whilst the rest of us watch 'something nice'.

Boxing Day:

This used to be the day when other elderly relatives would come over and bore us all but now it's just a sort of nothing day except we eat Roast Beef followed by the heavenly Chocolate Truffle Tortoise (aka Delia Smith's Chocolate Truffle Torte) and Gloop (aka Raspberry Soufflé).
Chocolate Truffle Tortoise

The Day After Boxing Day:

We go to see a christmas show at the theatre and bish bash bosh Christmas is Done.


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