An English Christmas
The Christmas season is upon us! Bulldogz are on hand to provide you with some vital tools to help you create your perfect anglophile Christmas. From music and poems to ghost stories and the traditional Christmas dinner, and of course, not forgetting the jolly old elf himself, Father Christmas and his journey from ancient Greek martyr to world wide gift delivery.
Christmas is coming,
The Goose is getting fat....
While Spanish culture has a rich tradition of Villancicos, the English speaking world have both Christmas Carols and Christmas pop songs. We set our music playlist to a hard rotation of nostalgic pop every year and we host a Christmas Song World Cup every four years where people can listen to the best of the best Christmas pop and vote for their favourite. The draw is made on the 28th of November, voting is throughout December with the Final being contested on December 24th .
You can vote in the 2020 Christmas World Cup here
Download your 2020 Christmas Song World Cup Wallchart
The Night Before Christmas
December the 24th is Christmas in Spain, but in the English speaking world it is the night before the main event. Children must get to bed early to allow Father Christmas to start his global delivery drive. Mince Pies and Brandy are left out for his efforts and carrots for the Reindeer. The poem “A visit from Saint Nic” or “Twas the night before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore is often told as a bed time story on the 24th and it is common for the adults to indulge spooky or scary stories and movies like Charles Dickens’ “The Signalman” or Susan Hills’ “The Woman in Black”
The text and an audio of “Twas the night before Christmas” available here
The audio drama “The Signalman” available here
Father Christmas, often called Santa Claus is often mistakenly thought to be an American consumerism import via Coca Cola. The story of Saint Nicholas began in modern day Turkey and the development of the persona into the red suited gift giver with flying reindeer happens over centuries. Saint Nic started as a patron saint of sailors and children with some gruesome tales of cannibalism and bringing victoms back from the dead and then became the terrifying Krampus figure who was then exported to the US. As American culture attempted to make Christmas a wholesome family celebration instead of a rowdy drunken party, Santa Claus emerges to be returned to Europe. He was even a significant soldier in the culture of the cold war, a true hero for the ages!
The full story of Saint Nicholas/Santa Claus can be read here
It comes as a shock to my Spanish friends and family that Christmas dinner in the English speaking world not only happens on the 25th but does not involve any Gambas! It is another tradition that is incorrectly thought to be an American import but there is evidence that Turkey was eaten in England on Christmas day as early as the 16th century. Turkey was first imported from the Americas to the UK in 1526!
A full history of the traditional Christmas dinner and a full recipe/preparation guide can be found here
The history of the great Christmas treat Mince Pies here
A vital part of a British Christmas Dinner is the cracker! A novelty presented at the Christmas table. A decorated tube that contains a small gift, a joke and a paper crown. They have a small banger mechanism so when they are pulled apart they make a crack noise. The inventor Tom Smith came up with the idea when he heard the crack of a log on a fire. Crackers were first introduced in 1847 and you can now find a variety of styles of crackers on the market. Some luxury crackers come in at an extraordinary price! These are not culturally common in Spain and if you want to complete the full Christmas experience you will need to locate some crackers online or make your own.
More Festive Fun
Our Podcast episode on British Christmas Traditions here
Our Podcast episode on Alternative Christmas Films here
The top ten Christmas Song money earners countdown here
The story of the Christingle religious ceremony here
The full list of our Christmas articles can be found here
Further Christmas articles will be published as the season continues