Christmas in England: Christmas Day
Children dash to the fireplace on Christmas morning to retrieve their now-full Christmas stockings. Many homes also keep a Christmas tree, underneath which family members will find another heap of gifts. Unwrapping these gifts is one of the highlights of Christmas Day. Other highlights include sitting down to a large, festive meal and listening to the Queen’s speech. Each year British television broadcasts the Queen’s Christmas greeting to her subjects. King George V began this Christmas tradition in 1932. Other popular Christmas Day activities include attending Christmas morning church services and playing parlor games. Indeed, Christmas game playing is a very old tradition in England.
Christmas dinner in England may feature roast goose, roast turkey, or roast beef. Potatoes, gravy, and vegetables usually accompany the main dish. Plum pudding, the traditional Christmas dessert, crowns the meal in many English households. Since the pudding contains a coin, and perhaps other good-luck tokens as well, diners must bite gently in order to avoid breaking their teeth. A kind of party favor known as a Christmas cracker adds a playful note to the holiday meal. Wassail, a traditional holiday punch, may follow the repast.