I have never spent Christmas away from the UK I guess the opportunity has never arisen mainly because I have always done shift work and tying up mine and Gills leave over the Christmas period has not happened at the right time. This year Gill and I are off to Gozo for Christmas, it will be interesting to see how it is celebrated the Gozo way. We are off next Saturday.
In the UK the hustle and bustle of the season begins well before Christmas, the supermarkets start selling Christmas stuff around the beginning of October and there is barely anytime for a break until the Twelfth night. There is preparation going on of foods, the sending of Christmas cards, the decorating of houses, and the purchasing of gifts keep everyone busy. On Christmas Eve the kids hang up their stockings on the ends of the beds or by the chimney so that when Santa comes he can leave them something, children write their letters to Santa pleading for that special gift.
On Christmas morning the family open their presents and prepares for a big feast which typically is served just after midday. The table gleams with the best china and glassware, and at every place on the table there is a cracker. The meal begins with a toast, followed by the popping of the crackers. In the afternoon they exchange visits with neighbors friends and other family members.
At Christmas dinner, a plum pudding is served with little treasures hidden inside that bring their finders good luck. Britain was the first country to hang up mistletoe. The days proceedings would be accompanied by the consumption of large amounts of alcohol. After Christmas dinner is over the kids would be enjoying their newly acquired gifts while many of the adults slept off the over consumption of food and booze. The true religious meaning of Christmas seems to have been swamped by the commercialism here in the UK.
When I return from Gozo after Christmas I will do the same story from the Gozo point of view.