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1st wedding anniversary gift ideas for husband and wife: Paper-inspired presents to cherish

It could be argued that your first spin around the sun together as an official couple marks the most important milestone in your marriage. Sure, the future might hold pets, babies, holidays and houses – who knows – but getting through those first 365 days together deserves to be celebrated in all its glory. So what better way to show your other half you care than investing in a heartfelt paper anniversary gift?

While first anniversary gifts might traditionally be centred around paper, there’s no reason you can’t have a little fun with the definition and go rogue when you want to. The most important thing is that whatever you choose, you pick something that’s going to let the other person know just how much you care. The best bit? Anniversaries celebrate the union of two people, which means you’re just as likely to get a gift as to give a gift (it’s entirely acceptable to drop hints by way of sending on this article annotated like an Argos catalogue, if you ask us).

But if you’re here to buy rather than just research your own gift, our top tip to you would be to get someone else to do most of the tough stuff, and reap the rewards – for instance, ordering something that comes prettily pre-wrapped, or having someone else personalise a product for you. You get the idea.

Now all that’s left for you to do is to pick one of the below and anticipate basking in the glow of a truly happy partner come your first wedding anniversary.

How we tested

Because we’re practically allergic to overly sentimental displays, we’ve tried our best to steer clear of the cliches and plump for beautiful handmade gifts from UK-based creatives, and slight twists on the classics instead. From looking at cost and ease of delivery through to presentation style and of course the unique quirks of each product, we weighed up the pros and the cons to bring you a select few treats that we really do believe are some of the best paper anniversary gifts out there.

Read more:

The best 1st wedding anniversary gifts for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Ellie Edwards colourful rhubarb lino print: £45, Ellieedwardslino.co.uk
  • Best for interiors buffs – True Grace library classic candle: £35, Truegrace.co.uk
  • Best for creative couples – Charcoal Art Club membership: £35 per month: £35, Charcoalartclub.co.uk
  • Best for sentimental sweethearts – Laura Sayers Illustration custom made paper cut couple portrait: £120, Notonthehighstreet.com
  • Best for luxury enthusiasts – Smythson panama medium photo album: £395, Smythson.com
  • Best for stationery lovers – Papier personalised croissant foiled notecards: From £23.60, Papier.com
  • Best for crafters – Wild Sea Calligraphy beginners modern calligraphy kit & online workshop: £45, Wildseacalligraphy.com
  • Best for book worms – Rare Birds Book Club subscription: £14, Rarebirdsbookclub.com
  • Best for gardeners – Leo Flowers paper flowers: From £20, Leoflowers.co.uk
  • Best for horticulturalists – Berstuk flower pressing kit: £20.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for games night geeks – Not Another Bill leather card & dice set: £45, Notanotherbill.com

Ellie Edwards colourful rhubarb lino print

Best: Overall

Rating: 9/10

There’s something so satisfyingly sweet about Ellie’s lino prints that we can’t help but covet more than a couple, but settled on the rhubarb as our favourite thanks to the clash of green and pink and the combination of curved and straight lines. We think these delicious little prints are ideal for a cosy kitchen corner or as an upbeat display in an entrance hall. Simply presented in cellophane with stickers, each artwork is ready for you to put your own mark on with your wrapping. We were particularly impressed with the thick, quality paper each piece was printed on as well as the speed of delivery, which is ideal if you perhaps/maybe/possibly/might have left things to the last minute (again). Don’t forget to buy a good frame too – nobody likes a gift that ends up a chore.

Buy now £45, Ellieedwardslino.co.uk
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True Grace library classic candle

Best: For interiors buffs

Rating: 8/10

If you want to embrace the paper theme but don’t want to go too literal, this gorgeous library scented candle from True Grace has wide appeal. With notes of cedar and sandalwood it smells like a cosy panelled room (as you’d hope) and comes presented in a sleek black box, which employs the use of a textured case and gold lettering for a luxurious finish. Even the weightiness in this gift makes it seem indulgent, and the scent really hits you from the off for immediate impact. We loved the smoky grey glass container that felt as at home in a cosy snug corner as it did in a bright and airy bedroom. With 40 hours of burn time, you could make a little date-night routine out of lighting it each week and appreciating your purchase together.

Buy now £35, Truegrace.co.uk
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Charcoal Art Club membership: £35 per month

Best: For creative couples

Rating: 9/10

Run by artists and food stylists Rosie and Kitty, Charcoal Art Club started off life as an in-person event and transitioned into the land of Zoom when Covid hit. While the duo still run real life evenings in London, their digitally accessed nights proved so popular that they couldn’t give them up and that happily means anyone, anywhere can access them. Each monthly session is well-paced and expertly led so that all abilities feel confident and comfortable to join in. Typically they run you through a series of short poses before doing a few longer timeframes to help you develop your drawing skills. We loved that it felt like a little secret club, and that (despite it being on a screen) it felt like a moment of complete calm from the chaos of everyday life. Expect quick tips and a family of friendly faces looking back at you from the screen as well as a professional life drawing model. If you buy it for your partner you can always join in the sessions if they can’t make a date.

Buy now £35, Charcoalartclub.co.uk
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Laura Sayers Illustration custom made paper cut couple portrait

Best: For sentimental sweethearts

Rating: 8/10

Laura’s patience seemingly knows no bounds as she creates intricate artworks from the teeny tiniest scraps of paper, and it’s a theory that’s proved when you spend any time talking to her as her enthusiasm never wains. This Glasgow-based artist is a Not On The High Street favourite – having appeared in the brand’s marketing materials on more than one occasion – and her paper portraits have become one of her signature styles. Commissioning Laura is super simple. You simply send her a snap of the image you’d like recreated and she’ll whip it up in a couple of weeks for you (although lead times vary depending on her workload at any one moment). We loved how quick and easy it was to produce something so tailored and unique, and you can even request specific colours or backgrounds if there are sentimental elements you’d like included. Frames aren’t included as standard, but you can add them if you wish.

Buy now £120, Notonthehighstreet.com
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Smythson panama medium photo album

Best: For luxury enthusiasts

Rating: 7/10

Undeniably indulgent, a photo album by Smythson could never be classed as a necessity, and that – we think – is the key to the perfect present. This example is wrapped in beautiful grosgrain leather and comes with gilded pages for a high-end finish that looks gorgeous gracing a coffee table or display shelf. This is an extra thoughtful one if you’ve yet to organise your wedding photos, as you could print them and fill the pages with them as a special treat to your other half. A word of warning is that (despite the hefty price tag) these don’t come with photographic corners for sticking images in with, so you’ll have to purchase those separately. While ours came in a plain box we have it on good authority that typically items arrive wrapped in layers of tissue and in the brand’s signature blue box all finished off with a bow – ideal if you’re not very nimble fingered on the wrapping front yourself.

Buy now £395, Smythson.com
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Papier personalised croissant foiled notecards: From £23.60

Best: For stationery lovers

Rating: 9/10

These sweet little notecards are perfect for other halves who stay true to tradition and love to put pen to paper. You can get any personalisation you like, so could get both your names so that they act as family thank you cards or get your beau’s initials so they can send notes to whoever they fancy (watch this space for love letters with your name on them, we say). The gold foiling adds a luxurious detail and the paper is thick, making writing on them easy and enjoyable. All wrapped up in a presentation box, these require little other than handing them over come the big day. Another mundane but useful fact to note is that Papier parcels fit through your letterbox, so you won’t have that irritating scenario of missing the post only to have to chase your gift round town in order to hunt it down.

Buy now £23.60, Papier.com
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Wild Sea Calligraphy beginners modern calligraphy kit & online workshop

Best: For crafters

Rating: 9/10

The attention to detail in this expertly curated kit was its real point of difference – even the address on the front of the package comes beautifully hand-lettered and there are layers of wrapping to rival Rowan Atkinson’s skills in Love Actually. If your other half loves to write letters or do craft projects, this is the perfect way to allow them a little escapism each day. Included is a workbook, penholder, pencil, nib, ink, a foiled postcard, pad of white paper and a link to the video workshops that owner Lyndsey has put together. Oddly addictive, the workbooks allow you to easily get to grips with the basics, and we were surprised at just how good our results were from just a couple of attempts (a not so humble brag? Correct).

Buy now £45, Wildseacalligraphy.com
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Rare Birds Book Club subscription

Best: For bookworms

Rating: 8/10

Created to champion the work of female writers, Rare Birds Book Club is a book subscription with a twist – you don’t actually know what you’re going to get to read. Each month the team picks two new books and offers a brief synopsis on each for you to choose between them. Only when your selected book lands on your doorstep is the title revealed, but post-event the community reflects on the books and group discussion is encouraged via the members’ area. This would make a lovely option if you’re slightly hesitant about picking a paper gift for your other half, as it lets them choose the final product, but is still a sweet reminder each month of how much you care about them. The books come colourfully wrapped in bright papers meaning you’re off the hook when it comes to the chaos of tissue and tape, and the gesture goes some way to saying you think your sweetheart is a learned soul, which can never be a negative.

Buy now £14, Rarebirdsbookclub.com
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Leo Flowers paper flowers: From £20

Best: For gardeners

Rating: 7/10

These impossibly delicate paper flowers will far outlive their fresh counterparts, and are each lovingly made by hand in London. Ours was a bright pink Icelandic Poppy (very trendy, we’ll have you know) and featured a striking yellow centre and carefully crafted petals. It’s worth noting that lead times on these differ, so you may have to be a bit more organised with this anniversary gift if it’s paper flowers you plump for. A slightly squished side of ours was carefully unfurled with our fingers thanks to the easy to follow instructions that were included in the box, and we love that in a simple bottle it makes such a striking statement in any room. Ours was popped beside our bed to give us a friendly wake up call each morning, and we thought it was a great way to introduce vibrancy and organic shapes without having to care for cut flowers or plants, which are notoriously high maintenance.

Buy now £20, Leoflowers.co.uk
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Berstuk flower pressing kit

Best: For horticulturalists

Rating: 8/10

Slightly tenuous link here to a paper anniversary, but to press flowers you need to have layers of paper. Plus, once you’ve finished making your art you’ll likely display your dried blooms on paper or card. We hope that settles the matter. The ultimate romantic gesture would be to buy this pre-wedding and secretly press a few blooms so you can give both the press and its contents to your partner on your one year anniversary. We’re pretty sure that’s a gift that would draw emotion from the coldest of hearts. We loved all the tips that were included with this press – like how to keep colours vibrant – and thought the generous size was great for being able to get a good selection of both large and small blooms. Easy to do and with exciting results from the get-go, this is a great way to preserve souvenirs from special moments or holidays to come.

Buy now £20.99, Amazon.co.uk
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Not Another Bill leather card & dice set

Best: For games night geeks

Rating: 7/10

With the option to personalise this pretty fancy card and dive set, Not Another Bill has made it supremely easy to appear extra thoughtful. If you’ll allow us the liberty of presenting the card as a paper anniversary gift, we think this is a great little token to gift your other half. Not only does it encourage quality time together (cards are nearly impossible to play while simultaneously scrolling Instagram, so it’s a winner), it also looks great on a display shelf or coffee table – just the thing if you have a house proud other half. It’s small enough to take on holiday too, and it even comes with its very own little travel bag so the exterior doesn’t get damaged over time. The case feels really well made and has that lovely leather smell, plus it comes in a couple of colourways so you can tailor the gift to your partner’s tastes.

Buy now £45, Notanotherbill.com
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The verdict: 1st wedding anniversary gifts

It’s quite hard to weigh up what makes the best gift, as the deciding factor will always be the recipient. For us though, we loved Ellie Edwards’s contemporary, colourful prints that made an immediate impact in our home. We thought they acted as the perfect nod to the occasion without being too over the top or cliché, and they offer a timeless memento of those first 365 days together. If you have a particularly crafty partner a membership to Charcoal Art Club is a lovely recurring way to recharge and switch off from everyday life, while the True Grace candle is a bit of an all-rounder and offers a crowd pleasing purchase if you’re feeling a little indecisive.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on chocolate, jewellery and more gifts buys, try the links below:

What’s a celebration without a bit of bubbly? Why not surprise them with one of our best champagne bottles too?

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

20 First Anniversary Gift Ideas for a Special One Year Anniversary

Congratulation on reaching your one year anniversary! Also known as the paper anniversary, your first anniversary is a major milestone in your marriage and it deserves to be celebrated with the perfect gift. Whether you’re wanting to stick to the traditional wedding anniversary gifts by year or want something a bit more modern, we’ve rounded up some of the best first anniversary gift ideas below.

What is the traditional first anniversary gift?

In case you hadn’t already gathered, paper is the traditional one year anniversary gift. Paper is representative of how you have both just started your lives together – it’s a clean sheet to create new memories and paint your lives how you want. This first milestone in your marriage is a time to look back on the first chapter of your lives and start planning how you want to fill the rest of your book of love.

The modern one year anniversary gift is a clock or watch, symbolising that you plan to spend the rest of your life with your partner. A watch for a first anniversary gift is a reminder of all the amazing years to come.

Did you know that there are also wedding anniversary flowers, gemstones and colours? Carnations are one year anniversary flowers. These vibrant blooms represent young, passionate love and commitment. They are a symbol of all you have to look forward to in your marriage.

In terms of jewellery and precious stones, gold marks the first wedding anniversary. This metal symbolises good fortune, wealth and prosperity for the many years of marriage still to come.

Joyful yellow is the first anniversary colour. Yellow stands for happiness, energy and optimism – something newly married couples are full of! Yellow also represents honour and loyalty, a nod to your long-term commitment to stay  true to each other.

Now that you know the traditional and modern gifts and symbols for the first year anniversary, let’s jump into some unique one year anniversary gift ideas for husband, wives and couples.

First Anniversary Gift Ideas for Him

Because paper is an inexpensive, easy-to-come-by material, it can be difficult to come up with special anniversary gifts for him. But don’t worry – these creative one year anniversary gift ideas for husbands will have him over-the-moon.

Gift Experience Voucher

When it comes to finding the perfect paper anniversary gift, it doesn’t get much better than a gift card experience. You get to spoil him with absolutely anything that he’s interested in. And the best part? It’s just a piece of paper, but it means a whole lot more!

If he’s obsessed with food, why not spoil him with a restaurant gift voucher for a fancy restaurant. He’ll get to taste Gordan Ramsay’s famous beef wellington, or experience dining at the Shard. Hopefully, he’ll take you as his date so you can enjoy the sensational food too.

Got no idea what to get your husband? There’s no shame in gifting them with a monetary gift card. This way the pressure of getting it wrong is off you, and he can get something he really, really wants! There’s really no limit to the amount of happiness a gift card can buy.

Personalised Where We Met Map

You’re a year into your marriage but it all started when you first laid eyes on each other. Commemorate that special day forever with a Where We Met Map. The custom-made paper art print marks the exact spot where the magic began with a romantic ❤️  symbol. Although it’s a personalized 1st anniversary gift for him, it’s a present that means something to you as a couple.

DIY Geometric Paper Animal Sculptures

Staying with the arts and crafts theme, these animal paper sculptures from Paperwolf are uber trendy. The paper designs range from taxidermy trophies to standalone animals that come with detailed instructions on how to fold and assemble yourself. He’ll love the challenge of assembling his own paper anniversary gift, especially if it means he’ll get to hang it proudly on the walls.

Personalised Colouring Book

Haven’t you heard? Adult colouring-in books are all the rage. Besides the many health benefits like reducing stress and anxiety, it’s just plain fun! Get him in on the art therapy action with a custom Color Me Book. You can fill it with silly pictures of him, cute snaps of your pet, or romantic photographs of the two of you. After uploading your favourite photos, they’ll be hand traced to create a unique colouring book your hubby can keep forever. This is definitely one of the fun and meaningful first year anniversary gifts out there that you can seriously consider!

Book of Memories

Your first year anniversary is a time to look back on the first chapter of your lives. While you’ve only been married for twelve months, you have a lifetime of shared memories. From the day you first met, to that first awkward date, and now your first wedding anniversary.

To really capture these milestones in your relationship, have your favourite memories and wedding photos transformed into a beautiful photo-illustrated memory book. Working with professional writers, your most meaningful experiences will be beautifully written in a way that captures your voice and your love. It’s one of those unique first anniversary gifts that can be handed down to your children, from one generation to the next.

Smartphone-Controlled Paper Aeroplane

Let him relive his childhood with this fun-filled paper gift with a twist. After he’s folded his “paper” aeroplane (which is actually crash-proof carbon fibre) he’ll download the app and control the nifty plane from his smartphone. It’s love and first flight with this unique paper-themed anniversary gift idea. Bonus points if you get him one in yellow, the one year anniversary colour.

Latest Apple Watch

There’s a reason everyone is sporting one of these top-of-the-line sports watches. The Apple Watch Series 6 is the latest in Apple’s incredible range of health devices, and it’s the perfect gift for a husband you want to spoil. Sure, it’s not made of paper, but it is watch, and that’s the modern gift for your 1st anniversary. Not like you needed an excuse!

Natural Paper Laptop Sleeve

Not only does this stylish sleeve protect his laptop, but it’ll also protect the environment too. The Earth Company’s laptop sleeve is crafted from recycled Kraft paper, which means you can feel good for doing something nice for Mother Nature while spoiling your man. He’ll love the hand-sewn simple design made from eco-friendly materials.

First Anniversary Gift Ideas for Her

Looking to spoil your Missus? These unique paper anniversary gifts show her how much you love being her husband. Be warned – these gifts set the bar pretty high for your second anniversary to come!

Paper Flower Masterclass

Every woman loves receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers for her wedding anniversary, but unfortunately, fresh flowers only last so long. For something personal and perfectly paper-themed, surprise her with a private paper floristry masterclass. Held at a location of your choice, she’ll learn how to craft beautiful paper flowers. It’s a fun-filled activity the two of you can do together as a couple on your special anniversary.

Personalised First Anniversary Papercut

Immortalized your paper anniversary – and your love for each other – with this romantic custom-made papercut gift. Make it extra special by personalising it with your names, wedding anniversary date or saying that’s special to you. She’ll proudly hang it in your home as a conversation-starting wall hanging.

Inspirational Journal

For the woman who loves to put her thoughts and ideas to paper, you can’t go wrong with a new journal. Keep her inspired and motivated with this beautiful journal filled with mindful self-care prompts. Everyday it’ll serve as a heartfelt reminder that no matter her struggles or strengths, hopes or heartbreaks, you love her for who she is.

Customized Wedding Dress Sketch

Just a year ago you shared the most special day of your lives – your wedding day. Remember how incredible the two of you looked, side of side? Remember that wedding dress she wore, the dress she’d been dreaming of since she was a little girl?

As a reminder of how breathtakingly beautiful she looked, surprise her with a customized handmade sketch of her wedding dress. Dreamlines mirrors your wedding attire in a detailed, whimsical fashion style sketch. This sentimental paper anniversary gift is perfect for hanging on your wall at home, a nostalgic token from the day that started the rest of your lives together.

Spa Gift Voucher

Who doesn’t love feeling pampered on their wedding anniversary (or any other day for that matter)? Indulge your leading lady with a gift voucher for a spa experience to thank her for all that she does for you. Whether it’s a deep tissue massage, a personalised facial or a holistic spa day in a private suite at the Dorchester, she’ll feel like the pampered princess she is.

Custom Paper Art Portrait

Celebrate the enduring love in your relationship with the gift of a custom wedding portrait made out of cut paper. Handmade using itsy bitsy scissors and glue, this whimsical 3D paper cut is a really unique paper gift for her she can cherish forever.

Gold Origami Jewellery

This creative 1st anniversary gift idea perfectly rolls two first anniversary themes into one – paper and gold. Inspired by the traditional Japanese art of folding paper, your wife will surely love a piece of elegant gold plated origami jewellery. Take your pick from earrings, a necklace or ring. 

Personalised Recipe Book

Whether she’s a blossoming baker or the world’s next best Michelin star chef, she’ll love her very own recipe book. But this isn’t just any old cookbook. Featuring your choice of design, you own personalisation, and her name on the front, it really is a special addition to her recipe book collection. 

Paper First Anniversary Gift Ideas for Couples

It’s only been 12 months since they received their wedding gifts – what should you gift the happy couple for their 1st anniversary gift? These paper gifts celebrate their blossoming love and congratulate them on making it through the first year of marriage.

Personalised Stationery Set

The joy of having Mr. and Mrs. followed by your shared last name is something that doesn’t get old. And it’s something they should have proudly printed on their own bespoke couple’s stationery set.

No-one does bespoke stationery like Barnard & Westwood. Founded nearly a century ago, the esteemed company was recognised with the grant of a Royal Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen. What really sets them apart is their use of the time-honoured process of die-stamping, which you get to witness in a behind-the-scenes tour of Barnard & Westwood’s London workshop.

The best in the business, they’ve even printed the programmes for the Queen’s coronation anniversary service and the invitation cards for the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton. If it’s good enough for Kate and Will, it’s good enough for them.

Tickets to the Theatre

Take your favourite culture vultures for a night on the town with a trip to the theatre. Who wouldn’t want to be surprised with front row seats for some world-class theatre? Even if you book the tickets online, make sure you print them out on paper; that way you can stick to the first-anniversary theme.

Before the show, enjoy some romantic pre-theatre dining at one of the city’s best Michelin star restaurants. The whole night of theatrical romance is a great way for them to get out of the house and do something together as a couple.

Modern Calligraphy Class

This 1st anniversary gift is ideal for the couple who’s addicted to their laptops, tablets and smartphones. Help them disconnect from the digital world with a beginner-friendly modern calligraphy class. They’ll learn the fundamentals of modern calligraphy writing, a millennia-old therapeutic art form using a nib and ink.

After their class session, maybe they can write a beautiful love letter to each other instead of a text?

Tourist Scratch Maps

Are they a travelling couple that’s always itching to go travelling? Let the pair of wanderlust seekers capture their bucket list travels with a stylish scratch map. The personalised map of the world allows them to record their adventures by scratching off their visited destinations. A beautifully styled world map lies underneath, which they can proudly hang in their home as a reminder of their many adventures.

1st Anniversary Gifts To Buy Your Partner That They Actually Want

First anniversaries – if we’re talking wedding anniversaries – traditionally call for paper gifts.

It’s widely believed that paper symbolises a couple’s ‘clean sheet’ at the beginning of their relationship and its delicate state that requires attention and care for the years to come.

But, in reality, your other half isn’t likely to want to receive a postcard or some origami roses – they’re going to want something a bit more special.

From coffee machines and jewellery, to designer handbags and technology, there are many gifts to give your significant other a year after consciously coupling, and many that scream luxury rather than practicality.

After all, such an important milestone in your relationship calls for special, heartfelt gifts.

Here are the best 1st anniversary gifts that aren’t paper:

1

MOET & CHANDON Exclusive Impérial Rosé NV Champagne and personalised tin 750ml

MOET \u0026 CHANDON
selfridges.com

£58.99

2

LOVE small 18ct yellow-gold wedding band

3

Amber white wine glass 400ml

4

14-karat gold, diamond and pearl hoop earrings

Mateo
net-a-porter.com.uk

£480.00

5

B.zero1 18kt pink-gold pendant necklace

6

Beoplay E8 3.0 True wireless earphones

7

Wood coffee table with bluetooth speaker

8

Champagne theatre champagne saucer 210ml tier-clear x 2

LSA International

£75.00

9

Sweet Drinks set of three scented candles, 3 x 300g

Fornasetti
net-a-porter.com.uk

£425.00

10

MONICA VINADER Doina 18ct yellow-gold vermeil huggie earrings

MONICA VINADER
selfridges.com

£70.00

11

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) smart speaker with Alex

12

Horsebit 1955 small color-block leather shoulder bag

13

Monica Vinader Riva hoop 18ct yellow-gold vermeil and diamond ring

14

Halo Speckle 4 Piece Pasta Bowl set

15

White Pearls Max 24 scented candle, 5kg

Baobab Collection
net-a-porter.com.uk

£205.00

16

Wellbeing Pod essential oil diffuser 13cm

17

VEUVE CLICQUOT La Grande Dame 2012 x Yayoi Kusama Limited Edition 750ml

VEUVE CLICQUOT
selfridges.com

£160.00

19

OTIUMBERG Half Eternity 9ct yellow-gold and black diamond ring

OTIUMBERG
selfridges.com

£335.00

20

Baies, Figuier and Roses mini candles 3 x 70g

21

Whisky cut connoisseur set & walnut-cork serving tray *

harveynichols.com

£300.00

22

Panthère de Cartier 20mm small 18-karat white gold diamond watch

23

Acqua di Parma Barbiere razor

24

Revival iStream 3 DAB+/FM Smart Radio

25

Fyra portable wood-fired outdoor pizza oven

27

Juste un Clou small yellow-gold ring

28

2019 18-year-old single malt Scotch whisky 700ml

29

Gucci Soho leather disco cross-body bag

31

LOVE small 18ct yellow-gold bracelet

32

Pavilion 18-karat gold multi-stone ring

Katie O’Malley
Deputy Digital Editor
Katie O’Malley is the Deputy Digital Editor, at ELLE UK.

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21 Paper Anniversary Gift Ideas 2021 — Best First Anniversary Gifts

Katie Buckleitner

I hope you’ve got a bottle of bubbly ready to celebrate your first year of being married because that’s a big deal! Seriously. Not too many people make it that far (nope, I’m not saying any names). And while it’s definitely cause for a celebration, you don’t have to stress out over a present. Tradition says a paper anniversary gift will be fitting—and we’ve got a ton of cute first-anniversary gift recs for ya, below.

But first, what the heck does that mean? Well, it’s really what you make it. Something like a print of the lyrics to the song you two danced to at your wedding will make your partner feel all mushy. Or a custom book expressing how much you love them is even more romantic. Don’t overthink it. The trick to giving the perfect gift is to make it personal, and the paper anniversary gift ideas below will guide you as you pick something out.

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1

a sweet card

Love Greeting Card

This cute greeting card would go perfectly with  whatever gift you’re giving. Go ahead and write down all those mushy feels. Promise your partner will love it.

2

A sweet print

Intersection of Love – Photo Print

A custom frame is exactly what you two need for that blank wall you haven’t finished decorating yet. This one takes the cake with the custom name and year sections.

3

A pretty note pad

Colourblock Notebook

Here’s something that’ll look pretty on their desk and remind ’em of you while they’re working.

4

a fun game

Paper Mario: The Origami King Nintendo Switch Game

If your lover is an avid video gamer, get ’em this cute Paper Mario game for their Nintendo Switch. Yes, it’s on-theme, and yes, it’s super fun.

5

a paper goodies subscription box

Cloth & Paper Subscription Box

For the spouse who loves paper goods, here’s a subscription box filled with must-have stationery items.

6

A fun shade

Paper Lantern

Turn wine glasses into cute lil lamps with this paper lantern. Oh, and don’t worry about using them outside on the patio. They’re coated with water repellent.

7

A celebration diary

The Anniversary Journal

Keep track of memories from each year in this journal. Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything to write together because there are prompts to guide you two.

8

A nice necklace

Cathy Necklace

I know. I know. It’s not exactly “paper,” but the paper clip chain necklace makes for such a cute, thoughtful gift, right? 

9

an inquisitive card game

We’re Not Really Strangers Card Game

WE’RE NOT REALLY STRANGERS

No, this isn’t your regular card game. With these cards, you can dig deeper with your partner (and maybe even get closer, if that’s at all possible).

10

A symbolic work of art

Mystic Love Print

Thank the cosmos for bringing your two souls together with a pink and red mystic piece of art.

11

A celestial print

First Dance Song Lyric Custom, Paper

Every single lyric to your favorite song will look ah-maaazing on this constellation print.

12

A personalized book

How Do I Love Thee From A-Z

Flex your author muscles and show them you’re the boss of gift-giving with this customize book. 

13

A fun game

The Couple’s Bucket List

As time goes on, you two may need a little help spicing things up. The fun game here has you covered with a list of activities to add to your to-do list.

14

A constellation chart

Custom Star Map

A heavenly work of art is the only way to describe the moment and place you two met. So wrap up this custom chart that’ll include the exact coordinates and your names.

15

A ticket holder

Ticket Stub Diary

Whether you two are faithful movie goers or never miss a Beyoncé concert, a place to collect all of your ticket stubs will remind you of the good times.

16

A traveling frame

Compass Roses

If your partner is also your favorite travel buddy, this artsy drawing of compass roses will be much more fitting than a traditional bouquet.

17

A collage print

Tilted Heart Art

Gather your best pics together and highlight them on a heart-shaped photo. 

18

A romantic atlas picture

The Map of Everyone

Do you guys have a favorite trip? Or did you celebrate your big day with a destination wedding? Well, mark it with a star on this customizable map.

19

A mini compact of blotting papers

Invisimatte Blotting Paper

The beauty lovers will appreciate anything from Fenty. And, of course, they’ll know exactly what to do with these skin-mattifying sheets. 

20

A romantic pair of cufflinks

Wedding Song Cufflinks

Alright, you’ve got a maximum of 15 words per cufflink, so get creative. Not sure where to start? Try the chorus to your favorite song.

21

A sheet mask

Thirst Trap – Cocoon Mask

Sheet masks totally count as paper, right? Either way, this nourishing mask will make anyone feel like they’re at the spa.

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Wedding Anniversary Names by Year List and Gifts

Ever wanted to know the wedding anniversary names and gifts by year? Here’s a list of the appropriate present to give for each of the anniversaries. We’ve included a complete list of all the traditional names and equivalent modern gift suggestions for each of the anniversary years from a first anniversary through to an eightieth.





























Wedding Anniversaries Gifts and Names by Year


Year

Anniversary Name

Modern Gift or Present

1st (first) Paper Clock
2nd (second) Cotton China
3rd (third) Leather Crystal or Glass
4th (fourth) Linen Fruit or Flowers
5th (fifth) Wood Silverware
6th (sixth) Iron Sugar
7th (seventh) Copper Copper or Wool
8th (eighth) Bronze Bronze or Pottery
9th (ninth) Willow Linen or Lace
10th (tenth) Tin Diamond
11th Steel Jewellery
12th Silk Pearls
13th Lace Textiles
14th Ivory Gold Jewellery
15th Crystal Watches
20th China Platinum
25th Silver Silver
30th Pearl  Ivory or Diamond
35th Coral Jade
40th Ruby Ruby
45th Sapphire Sapphire
50th Gold Gold
55th Emerald Emerald
60th Diamond Diamond
65th Blue Sapphire Blue Sapphire
70th Platinum Platinum
80th Oak Oak

 

The name of a first anniversary in year one is Paper. Gifts can include stationery and a modern alternative is a clock. For year 2 it’s cotton, but giving china is also acceptable. Year 3 is called leather and a present can include crystal or glass gifts. Year 4 is Linen, the traditional gift, but modern equivalents include fruit and flowers. For year 5 the name is wood but a gift of silver may be more welcome. Year 6 is called iron but sugar or confectionery make a tastier gift – a perfect opportunity to celebrate with cake or cupcakes! Year 7 is Copper and a woollen or knitted garment is also appropriate. The name for year 8 is Bronze with gifts including pottery. Year 9 is Willow, but unless you plan on giving a present for the garden then linen or lace are good ideas. Year 10 is called Tin so something like a set of designer storage containers might work. The modern version is diamond. Year 11 is Steel and you could find steel jewellery or an ornament. For year 12 you shouldn’t have too much trouble find a gift of Silk. The name of year 13 is Lace but gifts can include other textiles such as table linen. On to year 14 and this one is called Ivory. Obviously one would not be expected to give a gift of real ivory as it’s made from elephant tusks, so the answer is to choose something that’s either ivory in colour or pick out some gold jewellery instead. Year 15 is quite a landmark and the name is Crystal with an alternative gift of a pair of watches. There are no official names for the years 16, 17, 18 and 19 so the next milestone is 20 years. The name is china so crockery or an ornament are obvious choices with platinum for those with a bigger budget. The anniversaries are now only named for each 5 years and the next one is 25. This is probably the most well known as a silver anniversary. This is followed by Pearl for year 30, Coral for year 35, Ruby for year 40, Sapphire for year 45, Gold for year 50, Diamond for year 60, Blue Sapphire for year 65, Platinum for year 70 and finally Oak for year 80. There is no name for a 90th anniversary, but maybe one day there will be!

The celebration of wedding anniversaries dates back to Roman times when husbands gave their wives a silver wreath for 25 years of marriage, and a gold wreath for 50 years. Twentieth century commercialism then led to the addition of more gifts to represent colour and names for other years. By the 1930’s there was a material or symbol representing the year as a gift suggestion for the first year and milestone years such as 10th, 20th, 25th and 50th. Over the years more were added and the gift list updated and modernised by various American and British greeting card companies.

British couples can receive a message from the Queen for a 60th, 65th and 70th anniversary, and every year after that. The end of World War Two is reflected in the number of messages sent – in 2005 thousands more diamond wedding messages were sent due to the large number of marriages as soldiers returned home from the war.

In 2006 the world’s longest living married couple were Mr and Mrs Jones from South Wales whose wedding in 1923 was 83 years ago. They have since dropped down the list and the current record holders are a Japanese couple married in 1937. However, the record for the longest every marriage is held by a British couple – Mr and Mrs Chand from Bradford who were married for almost 91 years. 

 

How to Wrap a Gift

Picking out the perfect Christmas presents for friends and loved ones is so fun and rewarding. Who doesn’t love to see a smiling face when someone tears into a gift and is elated that it’s exactly what they wanted? But before they send paper and ribbon flying make sure they are equally as impressed with your professional-looking wrapping job.

To learn how to wrap a gift like a professional, we tapped Macy’s gift wrapping expert, Belle Wesel, for her expertise and know-how. Follow Belle’s simple steps and you’ll be on your way to wrapping anything from small gifts to larger Christmas presents in a snap and have them looking like a million bucks. Since practice makes perfect, why not start learning how to wrap a gift right now? Come Christmastime, there won’t be anymore late evenings, after the kids have gone to bed, struggling to wrap gifts, giving Santa plenty of time to sneak down the chimney.

Once you learn how to wrap a gift, we encourage you to get creative with gift wrapping ideas by turning your boxes into snowmen, accenting them with tiny Christmas trees, or using unique DIY gift tags. What’s more, these gift-wrapping tips extending beyond the holiday season. Now, wrapping birthday and anniversary presents will be a breeze. So grab your favorite holiday paper, ribbon, and tape, and start learning how to wrap a gift, because Christmas will be here before you know it!

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What You’ll Need

To add some personality to your package, we suggest getting creative with your ribbon choice. You can even curl traditional ribbon to make the look a little more fun.

SHOP RIBBON

It’s so much easier to wrap something square or rectangular. Do yourself a favor and pack your gift into a box. Taping it shut is optional!

SHOP GIFT BOXES

The cardinal rule for choosing wrapping paper? The thicker, the better. To facilitate the trimming process, look for a roll with a grid pattern on the back.

SHOP WRAPPING PAPER

Dealing with hand cramps before Christmas? A sharp pair of scissors with a comfortable handle is key when you have a pile of gifts to tackle.

Here’s our trick from the pros: Double-sided tape is your secret weapon for a neat seam. Stock up on a bulk package of rolls now—you’ll use them all before December 25.

SHOP DOUBLE-SIDED TAPE

Step 1: Cut Wrapping Paper

Place the box facedown on top of your gift wrap, leaving the paper attached to roll. Use scissors to cut paper along one side, making a wide enough sheet to cover both sides of the box.

Step 2: Fold Over

While standing on the same side of the table as the roll, pull paper tautly up and over the far end of the box. Adhere with double-sided tape, and crease paper along the box’s edge with thumb and forefinger.

Step 3: Join Ends

Unroll paper and bring it to meet the already wrapped end. Cut paper from roll, leaving an inch of overhang. Fold that inch under and crease along the fold. Adhere using double-sided tape.

Step 4: Close Open Ends

Now it’s time to tackle one of the open ends of the box. Push sides of paper inward, creating four 45-degree-angle flaps, then crease along the flaps.

Step 5: Fold Down

Fold down the top flap. Crease sharply along the top of box, then crease again where paper meets the bottom edge of box. Cut paper along that bottom crease. Adhere to the box.

Step 6: Get Rid of Excess Paper

Fold under any excess paper on the bottom flap so that it lines up perfectly with the top of box. Apply double-sided tape to the bottom flap, then fold it over the top flap and adhere.

Step 7: Close Other Side

Repeat steps four through six on the box’s remaining open end. Finish all sides by running your pinched thumb and forefinger along edges to create sharp lines.

Step 8: Add Ribbon

Lay the wrapped box facedown on a length of ribbon (about five times as long as box). Pull ends of ribbon up and bring right end over the left. Pull width-wise so they cross.

Step 9: Thread Ribbon

Turn the box over. You should have two ribbon ends of about the same length. Thread each end under the ribbon already in place, as shown.

Step 10: Make a Double Knot

Double-knot the ribbon, then tie into a simple bow. Use your fingers to shape the loops.

Step 11: Trim Ends

Pinch the ribbon ends lengthwise and cut at a 45-degree angle to create forked ends, as shown. That’s it—all wrapped up!

Step 12: You’re Done!

With your first package all finished, the rest should be a breeze. What’s more, your loved ones will be impressed with your wrapping skills.

Charlyne Mattox
Food and Crafts Director
Charlyne Mattox is Food and Crafts Director for Country Living.

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90,000 10 rules how to spend Christmas holidays in the British

Dec 10, 2020

Categories:
News Holidays Traditions England Events Tea Ceremony

1. Letters to the wizard

In every country in the world, the main winter hero has his own name. In Russia it is Santa Claus, and in England it is Santa Claus. School-age children are very fond of the tradition of writing letters with New Year’s wishes to the main wizard.Residents of the UK, for example, put written letters of wishes in the fireplace so that the ashes go up the chimney and Santa Claus can read the smoke. If, like many, you do not have a fireplace or chimney … of course you can find alternative remedies. Just be careful!

2. Stockings with gifts

Instead of hanging stockings over the fireplace, children in England hang them on the headboard, hoping they will be filled with presents on Christmas morning. This is the most pleasant surprise for a child – to open his eyes and see that the stocking is jam-packed with something interesting.At the same time, it can be difficult for “Santa” (that is, the parent) to fill the stocking with candy without waking the little ones.

3. Clapperboards

Crackers are an integral part of the holiday. A paper tube stuffed with bright confetti and wrapped in shiny colorful foil is a lot of fun. It looks like a large candy with treasures hidden inside. Everyone at the table crosses their arms, using their right hand to hold their own firecracker, and with the left hand to pull the neighbor’s firecracker on the string. Boom! The clappers scatter content that is humorous wishes that can be read at the dinner table, small trinkets, candy or a paper crown, with a cheerful noise.

4. Paper crown

Paper crowns are an obligatory tradition of the holiday. Both adults and children wear crowns because at Christmas everyone can be king or queen. The paper crown, as a festive element, was added by the British to crackers in the early 1900s, a tradition that has survived and is still used today in Britain.

5. Christmas lunch

This is a traditional Christmas treat with baked turkey, goose or chicken – like in some parts of the world.But there are also specialties that are not so common everywhere, such as parsnips, which are a root vegetable similar to carrots. The British love pudding, but the famous Yorkshire pudding is more like crumbly, blown-off cookies with an especially delicate filling in the center.

6. Wassail

Wassail – literally means good health or be healthy. The word takes its origin from Old English was hál, and in this case it is hot mulled wine traditionally drunk as an integral part of a medieval Christmas ritual designed to invoke a good apple harvest next year.

Originally a glass of beverage was covered before serving with slices of toast or slices of bread on top.

7. Royal Christmas Message

The tradition of sending the Christmas message to the public began in 1932 with George V. The Queen is currently giving a speech at 3:00 pm in England on Christmas Day … this is the best time to open Christmas gifts for the British!

8. Tea

Almost any event in English is associated with tea.Christmas tea is an indispensable ritual of every British citizen, especially during the holidays. Christmas tea is served around 6:00 pm and this is the second round of family reunion and treats. Minced pies or sausage buns can accompany tea drinking.

9. Boxing Day

Boxing Day follows Christmas and is a national holiday in the UK. It was originally a day when servants and merchants received gifts from their employers, but now it is usually a big shopping day for the British, more like Black Friday.

10. Meet the next year

The British say that you need to remove the tree and decorations within 12 days of Christmas or you will be out of luck next year.

Celebrate the New Year with hopes and accompanying luck! Happy Holidays!

90,000 Christmas history and traditions in the UK and USA

Christmas history

The Feast of the Nativity of Christ is celebrated by most Christian denominations on December 25, which is considered the birthday of Jesus Christ.The Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7th, (corresponds to December 25th according to the old Julian calendar, while Western denominations adhere to the new Gregorian calendar). Christians of Armenia celebrate Christmas on January 6th, together with the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord.

  • The exact date of the Nativity of Christ has not been established – according to the assumptions of many historians, Christmas should be celebrated in September.

The word Christmas (note its pronunciation: [ˈkrɪsməs], the sound [t] drops out), comes from the Old English Cristes maesse (Christ’s mass – “mass of Christ”, church service in honor of Jesus Christ).

The tradition of the abbreviated notation of this word – Xmas – went back to the times of early Christianity (the first letter of the word Christ, “anointed one”, in the Greek spelling coincides with the Latin letter X).

Christmas Eve (Advent) or Christmas Post

Christians begin to prepare for Christmas 4 weeks before the holiday itself, and in some church denominations – 40 days before it. Many believers observe the Nativity Fast – they avoid certain types of food. The severity of fasting depends on the charter of the church denomination.

12 days after Christmas – Christmastide and Epiphany

Traditionally, Christmas is celebrated for 12 days, ending on the evening of January 5th (the so-called “Twelfth Night”, Twelfth Night – recalls the title of Shakespeare’s play of the same name; also known as Epiphany Eve or Christmas Eve).

And each of the twelve days of Christmas (Yule) is a wonderful occasion to indulge in merriment after a long fast.

The day after Christmas Eve, Christians celebrate Epiphany when they honor the wise men (Three Kings) who visited the newborn Jesus and His Baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.

Presentation – the end of the holiday of Christmas

Many people believe that the Christmas celebration ends with the removal of the tree – but this is not the case! According to Christian canon, the end of the winter Christmas holidays is Candlemas – a very important church holiday that occurs in February, 40 days after Christmas. Its name in English comes from the expression Candle Mass (“Mass of candles”), since during the church service on this day, the rite of consecration of candles takes place.

The secret meaning of the symbols of Christmas

Saint Nicholas, the real prototype of Santa Claus, lived in the 4th century AD in the city of Myra in the province of Lycia on the southwestern coast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey).

  • In Orthodoxy – Nicholas the Wonderworker (Nikolai Mirlikisky, Nikola the Pleasant).

The name Santa Claus [ˈsantə ˈklɔːz] arose from a distortion of the pronunciation of Saint Nicholas [ˈs (ə) nt ˈnɪkələs].

The tradition of setting an evergreen conifer (spruce, pine, fir) for Christmas originated in Germany in the 16th century and gained popularity in England by the middle of the 19th century thanks to Prince Albert, of German descent, husband of the then reigning Queen Victoria. Evergreen trees symbolize resilience and endurance in the face of danger, and according to some beliefs, they are able to drive away evil spirits from the home.

Holly is an evergreen unfading plant that symbolizes eternal renewal and immortality and, according to legend, drives away evil spirits.The early Christians saw a deeper meaning in this plant – its leaves personified for them a crown of thorns, and berries – drops of the Savior’s blood.

If holly is the king of winter, ivy is its queen. A never-fading evergreen, ivy represents vitality, endurance and hope – even in the harshest of conditions.

Mistletoe (mistletoe) – a symbol of freedom, peace and friendship.The tribes that inhabited Europe in antiquity laid down their arms and stopped wars, they noticed it near the battlefield. This “peacemaking” quality of the plant gave rise to the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe as a sign of love and friendship.

The custom of giving presents at Christmas should remind us of the gifts presented by the magi to the Infant Jesus.

Angels, messengers of light, are also one of the symbols of Christmas, because on this day we celebrate the renewal of the world and the triumph of Light over Darkness.

The star on the top of the spruce is a reminder of the Star of Bethlehem that rose at the time of the birth of Jesus.

Bells are an ancient symbol of protection from evil spirits. The shape of the bell reminded ancient people of the dome of the sky. In Christianity, the ringing of bells is a sacred herald of Christ’s presence at worship.

Candles symbolize the Light that returned to people (the coming of the Son of God to earth).

Candy canes were “invented” in the 17th century especially for naughty children who found it difficult to sit through the long Christmas Mass. An exhausted choirmaster of one of the cathedrals made candy for them so that they had something to do during the service. And the curved shape, reminiscent of a shepherd’s rod, was intended to remind of the shepherds who visited the Infant Christ on the first Christmas.

Gingerbread Man – A reminder that God created Adam (as well as each of us).

The tradition of hanging a Christmas stocking over the fireplace originated from legend and is also associated with St. Nicholas. In one village, a poor man was dying, leaving three daughters without a piece of bread. Saint Nicholas heard the villagers talk about the unenviable fate of the girls, and decided to help the poor family by doing it in secret. According to one version of the legend, St. Nicholas threw three pieces of gold into the chimney, which ended up in the girls’ stockings, which were hung over the fireplace to dry.

Christmas in the UK

It is customary in Britain to celebrate Christmas with the family. Most families put up a Christmas tree at Christmas, or even two. A Christmas tree is usually decorated with the whole family.

The tradition of setting a Christmas tree was introduced to the British by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria of England. Prince Albert was German and believed that this German Christmas custom would appeal to the British people.

Residential buildings and other buildings are also decorated with holly, ivy and mistletoe.

Most cities, towns and villages are decorated with Christmas lights. The most spectacular of these are in Oxford Street, London. Every year they become richer and more colorful, and thousands of people come to watch their solemn inclusion in early November.

Children believe that Father Christmas or Santa Claus leaves them gifts in stockings or pillow-cases.They are usually hung over a fireplace or on headboards on Christmas Eve. Sometimes children leave behind sweet mince pies and brandy so that the Christmas grandfather can eat when he comes in.

Children write letters to their Christmas grandfather, listing their requests, but instead of sending them by mail, they throw them into the fire of the fireplace: along with the smoke, the ashes of these letters will rise up the chimney and the Christmas grandfather will read them.

In the UK, the main Christmas meal is usually held at lunchtime.Usually, a festive dinner consists of baked turkey and vegetables (carrots, peas, Brussels sprouts) and bacon-wrapped sausages (called “pigs in a blanket”). They are often served with cranberry sauce and bread sauce, and Christmas pudding for dessert. In addition, sweet pies with dried fruits and chocolate are held in high esteem. On the festive table there are Christmas cracker * according to the number of guests, and sometimes flowers and candles.

It rarely snows in the UK, but people always expect a white Christmas.According to statistics, this happens once every 10 years.

Christmas in the United Kingdom

In the UK (or Great Britain), families most often celebrate Christmas together. Most families have a Christmas Tree (or maybe even two) in their house for Christmas. The decorating of the tree is usually a family occasion, with everyone helping. Christmas Trees were first popularized the UK by Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. Prince Albert was German, and thought that it would be good to use one of his ways of celebrating Christmas in to England.

Holly, ivy and mistletoe are also sometimes used to decorate homes or other buildings.

Most villages, towns and cities are decorated with Christmas lights over Christmas. The most famous Christmas lights in the UK are in Oxford Street in London. Every year they get bigger and better and thousands of people go to watch the big ‘switch on’ around the beginning of November.

Children believe that Father Christmas or Santa Claus leaves presents in stockings or pillow-cases.These are normally hung up by the fire or by the children’s beds on Christmas Eve. Children sometimes leave out mince pies and brandy for Father Christmas to eat and drink when he visits them.

Children write letters to Father Christmas listing their requests, but sometimes instead of putting them in the post, the letters are tossed into the fireplace. The draft carries the letters up the chimney and Father Christmas reads the smoke.

In the UK, the main Christmas Meal is usually eaten at lunchtime or early afternoon.It’s normally roast turkey and vegetables like carrots, peas, Brussel sprouts, and bacon and sausages (called “pigs in blankets”). It’s often served with cranberry sauce and bread sauce.

Dessert is often Christmas Pudding. Mince pies and lots of chocolates are often eaten as well. The dinner table is decorated with a Christmas Cracker for each person and sometimes flowers and candles.

In the UK, it doesn’t snow very often, but people always want to know if it will be a ‘White Christmas’.Statistics show that in the UK it happens about once in 10 years.

* Christmas crackers – cylindrical crackers in the form of huge candies. They put a small symbolic gift in them – a paper crown, which is then put on at a festive dinner or another trinket – an ornament, a toy, a candy, a piece of paper with a wise quote, joke, riddle printed on it (the main thing is that the surprise is pleasant). It is customary to break “crackers” (as a rule, it is done by two people), which is accompanied by a sharp pop, flash and general fun.

Christmas in the USA

There are many different traditions and ways of celebrating Christmas in the United States of America, due to the diversity of the cultures of the people of this country. The traditions of this holiday have much in common with British, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish and Mexican customs.

A traditional meal of Western Europeans – turkey or ham with cranberry sauce.Families with Eastern European roots prefer turkey with garnish, sausages, cabbage dishes and soups, and some Italian families appreciate lasagna.

Americans love to decorate their homes with garlands and sometimes with figures of Santa Claus, snowmen and reindeers.

On the occasion of Christmas, city streets are decorated with garlands of light. Perhaps the most famous place in the United States for stunning festive illumination is New York’s Rockefeller Center, which has a public ice rink in front of a huge Christmas tree during the winter holidays.

Christmas in the United States of America

The United States of America has many different traditions and ways that people in celebrate Christmas, because of its multi-cultural nature. Many customs are similar to ones in the UK, France, Italy, Holland, Poland and Mexico.

The traditional meal for Western European families is turkey or ham with cranberry sauce. Families from Eastern European origins favor turkey with trimmings, keilbasi (a Polish sausage), cabbage dishes, and soups; and some Italian families prefer lasagna.

People in America like to decorate the outsides of their houses with lights and sometimes even statues of Santa Claus, Snowmen and Reindeers.

Towns and cities decorate the streets with lights to celebrate Christmas. Perhaps the most famous Christmas street lights in the USA are at the Rockefeller Center in New York where there is a huge Christmas Tree with a public ice skating rink in front of it over Christmas and the New Year.

Christmas Traditions in the UK and USA: Spot the Differences

Do you think Christmas is celebrated the same on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean? Not at all.

To begin with, even the Christmas greetings in these two countries can sound differently. The typical British phrase “Happy Christmas” will be perceived by Americans with surprise: congratulations on “Merry Christmas” are more familiar to them. And the British abbreviation of the word Christmas – Chrimbo – in the United States and is known to a few. Like the name of the Christmas grandfather, Father Christmas – Americans call him Santa Claus or simply Santa.

But whatever the name of the old man in the red suit is, the Americans are unanimous about his place of residence – this is the North Pole.It is there that Santa, Mrs. Claus, as well as elves and deer live. But according to the British, the residence of the Christmas grandfather is in Lapland.

Christmas cuisine in England and America also has a number of differences. For example, the traditional English winter drink “snowball,” a cocktail of the Dutch Advokaat egg liqueur, lemonade and lime juice, is virtually unknown in the United States. Instead, in the cold season, Americans are warmed by his distant relative – the eggnog egg drink (eggnog with the addition of spices and whiskey, rum, brandy).

Surprisingly, baked Christmas turkey, traditional for the British, is not an indispensable attribute of the festive table for Americans. There is a time for everything: for turkey lovers, US residents have a special holiday – Thanksgiving Day. And at Christmas in America, baked ham or roast beef are often served.

Moreover, traditional English desserts – Christmas cake with icing, Christmas pudding and mince pies – are not all that popular in America.Most likely, for dessert you will be served a pie (pumpkin, apple, nut, coconut, sweet potato), or marzipan, or a cake with fruits.

At a festive dinner, the British put on paper crowns and, together with a neighbor, break Christmas cracker. Americans are not lucky in this sense: here you don’t often come across paper crowns, what can we say about “crackers”, which almost no one has heard of.

In this place, any natural Englishman will be surprised: what is Boxing day without the “crackers” left after Christmas? What else to do on December 26th? The sad truth is that Americans do not celebrate this day at all – the tradition has not taken root (very strange – an extra day off has never bothered anyone).

But what the Americans have in abundance is all sorts of garlands and light decorations. What you saw in “Home Alone” is absolutely true! In the dark, entire neighborhoods turn into the scenery of a fabulous show: stunning illumination combined with sound effects will make anyone believe in a miracle! If by Christmas you are lucky enough to be in the American suburb – consider that you have already been to Disneyland.

At this time of the year, the British have fun with pantomimes (pantomime, performances for children on a Christmas theme): both amateur actors and stage and screen stars participate in them.This custom is strange and alien to the Americans.

Well, as you already understood, both the British and the Americans celebrate Christmas with great enthusiasm and invention. And the fact that the ways of creating a festive atmosphere are slightly different is not important, the main thing is not to lose the Christmas spirit, the spirit of Christmas!

TOP-10 English-language songs with which you will plunge into the atmosphere of the holiday

We offer you a festive selection of English-language songs – from old Christmas carols to the most famous modern pop hits.Sing along!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

The Good King Wenceslas

Jingle Bells

Let It Snow

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

All I Want for Christmas Is You

Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire

White Christmas

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

  • Interestingly, Jingle Bells was the first song broadcast from space to Earth.In 1965, it was performed by astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Shirra, who were in orbit as part of the Gemini 6.
  • expedition.

TOP-10 English-language films that will create a Christmas mood

Elf

The Muppet Christmas Carol

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York

Batman Returns

Trading Places

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Scrooged

While You Were Sleeping

Love Actually

Try to watch all these films with the original soundtrack this year.You’ve probably seen most of them. But, as you know, watching a familiar film in the original language is an excellent training in listening comprehension.

Interesting Facts About Christmas

8 is the number of Santa’s reindeer. Their names are taken from the tale of the American writer Clement Moore “The Visit of St. Nicholas”: Dasher (“Swift”), Dancer (“Dancer”), Prancer (“Horse”), Vixen (“Frisky”), Comet (“Comet”), Cupid (“Cupid”), Donner (German “thunder”), Blitzen (German.”Lightning”) and the red-nosed Rudolph (not included in the permanent figure eight, but sometimes also harnessed to the sleigh).

£

700 Million – This is how much the British spend annually on unnecessary Christmas gifts

1 – The number of mince pies that must be eaten on each of the 12 days of Christmas to attract good luck

8 million – The number of live pines and firs needed by the UK for the Christmas holidays annually

822 – the number of houses that Santa Claus would have to visit every second to deliver all the gifts

10 million – Number of Christmas turkeys baked in the UK

600 000 – Number of letters sent to Santa Claus by the British each year

16 – The number of gifts the average British child receives at Christmas

957 – Average Christmas Dinner Calories

20 meters – the height of the spruce in London at Trafalgar Square (according to tradition, the tree itself is donated to the inhabitants of London from the inhabitants of the Norwegian capital Oslo for their help to Norway in the Second World War).

Silent Night

Silent Night (German Stille Nacht , Silent Night ) is a Christmas carol written in 1818 by Joseph More and Franz Gruber, one of the most famous and beautiful Christmas carols. The song has been translated into many languages: there are several Russian translations, in which the first line sounds differently: “Silent night, wonderful night”, “Silent night, holy night”, “Peace and quiet at holy night”, “Quiet night, holy night ” etc.

Hear this Christmas carol brilliantly performed by Jackie Ivanko, finalist for America s Got Talent :

Here is the original text of the song and one of the most famous translations of this song into Russian.

Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

Silent night, Holy night
Shepherds quake, at the sight
Glories stream from heaven above
Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born.

The night is quiet, the night is holy,
People are sleeping, the distance is clear;
Only in the cave the candle burns;
The holy couple do not sleep there,
The Child sleeps in the manger,
The Child sleeps in the manger.

Silent night, holy night,
The height is illuminated,
A bright angel flies from heaven,
He brings the message to the shepherds:
“Christ was born to you, Christ was born to you!”

The night is quiet, the night is holy,
A star is burning in the sky;
The shepherds have been on their way for a long time,
They are in a hurry to come to Bethlehem:
They will see Christ there,
They will see Christ there.

The night is quiet, the night is holy,
All hearts are waiting for happiness.
God, let everyone come to Christ,
To find bright joy in Him.
Glory be eternally, Christ,
Glory be eternally, Christ!

Merry Christmas to you!

Read also:

Holiday greetings in English: Christmas and New Year

New Year traditions of Great Britain and the USA

UK Holidays

U.S. Holidays

Such interesting English traditions and customs

90,000 8 traditions that are important to follow to celebrate Christmas in the UK

Christmas Sweaters: Christmas Jumpers

Many people know the tradition of giving warm clothes for Christmas based on the film “Bridget Jones’s Diary”, literally in the very first minutes of which the actor Colin Firth appears in a ridiculous jumper with a deer – a gift from his mother.Unlike the hero of the film, real Englishmen wear Christmas sweaters with a more joyful expression on their faces and consider them a full-fledged attribute of the holiday. Those who did not get a sweater have to be content with mittens, scarves or hats, but certainly festive colors.

Christmas Crackers

Before you sit down at the festive table, in the United Kingdom it is customary to “break” Christmas Crackers – cylindrical crackers in the form of huge candies.”Crackers” are spread out on the table next to each appliance. To “break” them, two people have to stretch the cracker from both ends. Inside there is always a humorous message, a small souvenir with jokes that must be read aloud, and paper crowns that all guests wear.

Queen’s speech

No British Christmas is complete without a speech from Her Majesty. Every year on 25 December at exactly 3 pm GMT, millions of people across the United Kingdom gather in front of their televisions to watch the broadcast of the Queen’s Christmas speech (formally known as Her Majesty’s Gracious Speech).It broadcasts from the living room at Buckingham Palace and lasts only a few minutes. During this time, Elizabeth II manages to tell about herself, her family and state. As the head of the Church of England, she generally refers to gospel examples and biblical stories. The speech is linked by a single theme that reflects the previous year and illuminates the future. The broadcast takes place not only in the UK, but in all countries of the Commonwealth. The first to hear and see the performance of the Queen are residents of New Zealand, then – Australia, and the last – residents of Canada.
Throne appeals date back to 1932, when King George V first congratulated his subjects on the radio. Elizabeth II continued this tradition. Television broadcasts began in 1957 and was interrupted only once, in 1969, when the documentary “The Royal Family” was aired instead of the usual royal Christmas message. However, a written message from the Queen was published in parallel.

Advent calendar

Four weeks before Christmas, the English, especially the smallest, begin to “keep” Advent calendars.The word advent comes from the Latin word adventus. It is from him that the days until the holiday are counted. Most often, these calendars come in the form of cardboard houses with opening windows and are sold in any major grocery store. Every day it is allowed to open only one door in the box-house, strictly corresponding to the coming date. Behind each “window” is a picture, toy or just a poem dedicated to Christmas. There are 24 “windows” in total. The final one falls on Catholic Christmas Eve.

Christmas stockings

Another tradition familiar from movies and cartoons: Christmas stockings are hung in the room by the fireplace or on the wall so that Santa Claus can put gifts in them on the night before Christmas. The tradition is associated with St. Nicholas. According to legend, in one village a poor man died, leaving his three daughters in poverty. Saint Nicholas heard how the villagers were discussing the unenviable fate of the girls, and decided to secretly help the family.The saint threw three gold coins into the chimney, which fell into the girls’ stockings, which were hung over the fireplace to dry.

Today in stores you can buy stockings of any size and design and fit virtually any gift there; nevertheless, the most important gifts are still placed under the tree. Children, on the other hand, believe that those who have behaved well all year will find sweets in stockings, and hooligans and mischievous people will find a piece of coal there.

Christmas Carols

As a rule, Christmas carols are sung by members of charitable organizations to collect donations.Sometimes children help them. Having united in small groups, they go and ring the doorbell of neighbors and sing for them. On the eve of the holiday, in Trafalgar Square, you can see whole performances for the whole family on the stories of the birth and life of Jesus Christ, invariably accompanied by melodious chants.

Christmas Menu

No Christmas meal is complete without roast turkey, pigs in blankets, and Yorkshire pudding with gravy.For dessert, Christmas pudding and mince pies are served. The main drink is Christmas punch – a glass of hot cider, a non-alcoholic egg-nog cocktail made from eggs and milk. Also very popular with Brits are Baileys, cherry liqueur and wine.

Christmas cards

A postcard is a complete and very important part of a gift. The British carefully select it, sign it, pack it in an envelope, put it under the Christmas tree or send it by mail to relatives and friends in other cities and countries.This attribute of Christmas should not be neglected. British relatives and friends will clearly be surprised if they don’t find your message on December 25th.

Maria Razumova

90,000 History of English money. Currency of Great Britain, pound sterling banknotes

English Kingdom, British Empire, Great Britain. Conveniently and safely settled on the islands, inaccessible to enemy land armies, a country with a mighty fleet. It was she who for many years was the greatest world power.There was no part of the world in which the British Empire did not own territories. There was no major conflict where the British would not be noted either by a direct military presence, or by subtle and cunning political intrigues. Even after the UK ceded leadership to the United States and lost its colonies, it continues to play one of the main violins in the world’s largest orchestra. A powerful financial system, huge influence in many of the former colonies, centuries of diplomatic experience in the world arena.Country-authority, power-experienced intriguer. Solid, well-born and noble gentlemen, prim Anglo-Saxons. Even the main monetary unit of Great Britain, the pound, sounds somehow special in English, like a kick on a big drum – POUND! Strong, “weighty”, ancient and reliable world currency.

Great Britain is an unusual country, in some ways very surprising and strange for residents of many other countries, from right-hand traffic to separate taps with hot and cold water.Unusual in Great Britain is the monetary system, which, however, as a result of the transition in 1971 to the decimal form, has become much simpler and clearer.

Pounds sterling, sovereigns, guineas, crowns, shillings, pennies, farthing. All this is English money of different times – and this is only a part of the denominations of the British currency! So many varieties, such a multi-stage and complex system! What kind of English money was there before and what kind of money is in circulation in the UK now? Let’s figure it out!

History of English money

Consider the most famous monetary units in England.The concepts of “sterling” and “pound sterling” have come into use in England since the Middle Ages. From 1 pound of silver, 240 small coins of a certain weight were minted – pennies (or, as such coins were also called, sterling), which until the 13th century were the most common money in England. In fact, the very concept of “pound sterling” was originally only a countable currency and literally meant the weight of the “pound” in silver coins.

Over time, the denominations became more and more diverse.Shillings appeared, each of which was equal to 12 pennies or 48 farthing. The pound was correspondingly equal to 20 shillings. Schillings, nicknamed “Bob” in England, were minted in large quantities until 1966 inclusive. The exception was 750,000 coins with the date “1970”, prepared for the “farewell” set of old-style coins.

Silver shilling, UK, 1942

Silver shilling, UK, 1942

Pennies (or pence) are still minted in the UK.

Penny, UK, 2010

Penny, UK, 2010

Farthing is a small change, literally a quarter. For the first time such coins in ¼ penny appeared in England in the XIII century. Until the 16th century, inclusively, and for some time in the 19th century, farthing was minted from silver, the rest of the time – from copper and bronze. The minting of coins of this denomination was discontinued in 1956.

Bronze Farthing, Great Britain, 1926

Bronze Farthing, Great Britain, 1926

For the first time, a large coin equal to 240 pennies or 20 shillings was minted in the 15th century during the reign of Henry the Seventh and was called a sovereign.The minting of such a coin was made from gold.

In the 16th century, during the reign of the English Queen Elizabeth the First, a coin of 20 silver shillings began to be called “pound” (in English “pound”), while coins of 30 shillings were called sovereign, i.e. one and a half pounds sterling.

The next king of England after Elizabeth, James the First, briefly returned the former name to the 20-shilling coin, but during his reign this coin changed its name twice more: first to unite, then to laurel.

Under Charles II, in 1663, the guinea became the main coin of Britain – a gold coin equated to 21 shillings, and thus constituting 1.05 pounds sterling.

Golden Guinea, Great Britain, XVIII century, during the reign of George II

In 1694, the first paper banknotes were issued in Britain. The denominations of banknotes were indicated in pounds sterling and were large – from 20 to 1000. Banknotes of smaller denominations began to appear only in the second half of the 18th century – 10 pounds in 1759, 5 pounds – in 1793, banknotes of 1 and 2 pounds – in 1797 …

At the beginning of the 19th century, when a single gold standard was established in Great Britain, the sovereign again became the main large coin, equal in value to the pound sterling.

Gold Sovereign, UK, 1912

Gold Sovereign, UK, 1912

The minting of the sovereign as a circulating coin continued until the 1980s. Nowadays, the sovereign is issued only as collectible and investment coins.

Crown – originally a gold coin. Its release began in the 16th century under King Henry the Eighth. In the first year of its appearance, it was initially equal to 4 shillings and 6 pennies, then 5 shillings. In different periods, the crown was minted from gold and silver. Since the reign of George the Sixth, crowns began to be minted from a copper-nickel alloy.

Churchill crown, copper-nickel alloy, Great Britain, 1965

Churchill crown, copper-nickel alloy, Great Britain, 1965

UK money in circulation today

Above, we briefly talked about the main types of UK money that were in circulation in this country.As you can see, the English monetary system is quite complex and diverse, there are quite a few varieties of money. The denominations are varied, unusual for people accustomed to the metric system, making them confused in the monetary units of Great Britain.

What are the denominations of the British currency in circulation in the UK today?

In 1971, Great Britain made the transition to the decimal system, as a result of which the pound was equated to 100 pence. The following year, 1972, the British government provided the British pound with an opportunity to be valued using a “floating rate” that was not supported by the Bank of England.Thus, the exchange rate of the national currency was determined on the basis of trading on the international foreign exchange market. The result of this in 1977 was the record low rate of the main currency of Great Britain – $ 1.72 per pound sterling. For comparison: back in the 40s, more than $ 4 was given per pound, and in the 60s up to 2.8. Nowadays, however, the cost difference in the national currencies of the United Kingdom and the United States is even smaller: in 2020, one pound gives about 1.3 US dollars.

Today in the UK there are 5, 10, 20 and 50 pounds notes in circulation.Now in this country, banknotes of the “G” series are issued – this line of banknotes has been circulating since 2007.

Recently updated and put into circulation instead of the previous ones in 2016, 5 pounds banknotes are made of polymer material and have a size of 125 * 65 mm. On the obverse, as on all banknotes of Great Britain, there is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, on the reverse – the legendary British politician Winston Churchill.

Pound 5 polymer banknote, 2015 issue, entered circulation – 2016

Pound 5 polymer note, UK, issue 2015, entered circulation – 2016

A new “ten” made of polymer material appeared in the wallets of Her Majesty’s subjects in 2017.The reverse of the banknote features a portrait of the famous English writer Jane Austen. This banknote has a size of 132 * 69 mm.

Pound 10 polymer note, UK, 2017

Pound 10 polymer note, UK, 2017

The banknote of 20 pounds is in circulation in two types. The first is the paper one, which came into circulation in 2007, with the image of the Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith on the reverse (size 149 * 80 mm).

Paper banknote 20 pounds, Great Britain, 2007

The second type is a polymer banknote, published in February 2020, with the image of the British painter William Turner (size 139 * 73 mm).

Polymer banknote 20 pounds, UK, 2020

In addition to these banknotes in the circulation of the modern monetary system of Great Britain, there are paper notes with a face value of 50 pounds, which entered circulation in 2011. On the reverse side of these banknotes there are portraits of Matthew Bolton and James Watt – the “engines of progress” of the late 18th century, an industrialist and an engineer who worked in tandem. This banknote has a size of 156 * 85 mm.

Paper banknote 50 pounds, UK, 2011

The UK does not plan to issue paper banknotes anymore, so in 2021 a new fifty-pound banknote is to be issued – polymer, depicting the English mathematician Alan Turing.

Circulating coins that can be found in the UK today are in circulation in 9 denominations. Despite the fact that the monetary system of Great Britain with the transition to the decimal system has become quite simplified, there is a significant number of coins in circulation with various designs that change quite often. Here are some examples of some UK coins that can be found in circulation today.

Bargaining coins – 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pence.

1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pence coins, UK 1982

1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pence coins, UK 1982

Large denomination coins – 1, 2 and 5 pounds.

£ 1 UK 2018

£ 1 UK 2018

2 pounds, Great Britain, 2008

In addition to the money issued by the UK, there are coins and banknotes that issue overseas territories – autonomies that are under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, but are not part of it. There are 14 such territories in Great Britain today. Coins of some of them also circulate in the British Isles. Also, banknotes denominated in pounds sterling are issued by three banks of Scotland (they have a full circulation only there), the Bank of England (circulating in England and Wales) and four Northern Irish banks (are payment symbols of Northern Ireland).These regional issues, although not full-fledged money, but a kind of bill of exchange, can be accepted throughout the United Kingdom.

The author of the article is Mikhail Kolesov

90,000 Photos: how the British celebrated Christmas 100 years ago

Photo author, Getty

Photo caption,

On Christmas, it was not a sin to kiss a complete stranger Santa Claus, if you hold a branch of mistletoe over him

One hundred years ago, Christmas in Britain was celebrated in a very different way than it is now… Are you sure about that? Perhaps there are more similarities between Christmas 2015 and Christmas 1915 than we think?

A hundred years ago there was no television, the Internet and plastic Christmas trees, life was different, and its average duration did not exceed 65 years. But both then and now, at this magical time of year, people were worried about the same thing.

Urgent shopping on the eve of Christmas? The same vanity as now.

Festive table with Christmas turkey? The recipe for its preparation has hardly changed.

Santa Claus carrying presents? By itself. True, then he was slimmer and a little creepy in appearance.

Photo caption,

Santa Claus came to the inhabitants of the prosperous London district of Clapham

Santa’s outfit changed several times before his well-known image of a good-natured grandfather with a thick beard in a red and white robe took hold.

A hundred years ago, Santa most often wore a hooded cloak and looked a little like a robber.

In continental Europe, Santa is also called Saint Nicholas or Father Frost (although the Russian Father Frost comes more from the pagan tradition of the Eastern Slavs).

Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, who served as a bishop in the city of Mir in the 4th century, is considered the prototype of Santa Claus. In those days, the clothes of bishops, like the current Santa Claus, were red and white.

But at first in Britain, the mysterious image of St. Nicholas symbolized the arrival of spring, and he himself was dressed in a long green cloak with a hood, decorated with holly, ivy and mistletoe.

Photo caption,

Santa brought gifts to children in an orphanage in the Leytonstone area (1931)

Photo caption,

A hundred years ago Santa felt better: there were no iPads then (photo of 1915)

Photo caption,

Celebration at Bethnal Green

Christmas shopping!

Some people like Christmas shopping and some hate it.Hardly anything has changed here over the past hundred years.

Even when there were fewer potential buyers in Britain (in 1910 there were about 40 million people in the country, 29 million fewer than now), shops and markets gathered crowds of buyers on Christmas days.

Photo caption,

As it is today, in those days people crowded in search of purchases on the eve of Christmas (1946)

Photo caption,

Christmas gifts were different from the present (1905)

Photo caption,

Going shopping, children took with them

Photo caption,

Oxford Street was already considered the center of London shopping.

And in those days toys looked very attractive

Toys for children are the main Christmas gifts, both a hundred years ago and now. This is unlikely to ever change.

Photo caption,

Plush dogs and cats at the Christmas market (1911)

And a hundred years ago, and now children want everything at once: a toy dog, and a bear, and a scooter.

Photo caption,

The scooter was one of the most popular entertainments for children of that era.

Meccano sets were incredibly popular 100 years ago, much like Lego sets are now.However, like a hundred years ago, Meccano designers can now be bought in a store.

Photo caption,

Buyers look at the Meccano exhibit at a toy store in Bayswater (1919) with interest

Presents were folded into real socks

Some guardians of Christmas tradition use real socks for gifts today, but most now put gifts in pouches and bags of all sizes, only outwardly similar to socks.

Photo caption,

Children believe that Santa leaves gifts in socks

Christmas cards were sold in huge quantities

At first, Christmas cards were a luxury, not everyone could afford them.

In the 1870s, it became cheaper and easier to send letters and postcards, prompting many to write greetings on postcards.

Christmas cards became common in the Victorian era.

Today, the Christmas card for many is the only paper message of the year to friends and family.All other correspondence was replaced by email.

Photo caption,

Christmas mail bags at Waterloo station (1916)

Photo caption,

A separate room was allocated for Christmas mail at St. Pancras station (1913)

People also bought turkeys, but did not always go for them to the supermarket

It must be admitted that turkeys have changed little over the past hundred years. And they are still the main traditional Christmas dish.

Photo caption,

The turkey was and remains one of the essential elements of the Christmas table (1919)

People dressed up their pets even then

Dog fashion existed a hundred years ago. The desire to embellish the four-legged friend, contrary to common sense and his desire, has not gone anywhere during this time.

“Branch of Kisses”

A hundred years ago, according to the old tradition, the British kissed under a branch of mistletoe.

Christmas mistletoe, or “kissing twig”, is a traditional Christmas decoration in England, borrowed from the Druids, even before the Christmas tree.

A girl who happened to be under a hanging mistletoe branch was allowed to be kissed by anyone on Christmas Day. This is where the name “kissing branch” comes from. In our times of liberal morals, it is not necessary to hold a branch over your head.

Photo caption,

Movers practice kissing under a mistletoe at the Nine Elms depot (1937)

Photo caption,

Kiss on the Wakeful ship (1955)

Christmas symbols and traditions in Great Britain

Love actually

The creators of this romantic comedy succeeded in the impossible – “Love Actually” managed to take away the title of “the main Christmas film” from the picture “Home Alone”.The audience liked the nine love stories played out on Christmas Eve so much that not a single Christmas Eve has been without them since the mid-2000s. And Keira Knightley, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth and Martin Freeman, who played the main roles in Love Actually, have become as essential elements of the holiday as the Christmas tree, turkey or gifts. Agree, watching the fate of lovers surrounded by Christmas tinsel in London is much more pleasant and natural than the adventures of a tomboy, forgotten by his parents at home.

Prince Albert

To the spouse of Queen Victoria, the British owe one of the main Christmas traditions, namely the tree. Born Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was born in Germany, the only state at that time where it was customary to decorate a spruce for Christmas. Prince Albert carried his love for a tree decorated with apples and snakes (as was then customary) throughout his life. So after moving to Britain after his marriage, he continued the old German tradition and in 1841 planted the first Christmas tree in Britain, at Windsor Castle.The inhabitants of the kingdom liked this Christmas symbol so much that soon such a tree appeared in almost every house at Christmas. And the rest of the royal families of Europe picked up this fashion and a few years later the Christmas tree became a global trend. By the way, between 1840 and the year the Second World War began, 9 out of 10 of all New Year’s decorations were produced in Germany – in the village of Lauscha.

Robin redbreast (Zaryanka)

The little robin bird (aka robin, aka Robin redbreast in English) served as one of the symbols of Christmas for a century and a half.It’s all about the red plumage on her chest. It reminded the British of the dress uniform of postmen delivering greeting cards. Moreover, it is so obvious that soon the image of the robin adorned most of the holiday messages that the British sent to their loved ones on Christmas Eve. By the way, the tradition of congratulating each other on the main winter holiday with the help of postcards also appeared in Britain. The first commercial Christmas card was issued by Henry Cole on May 1, 1843 in London. Today, most postcards have a different, much more modern plot, but the robin is still one of the most beloved winter birds for the inhabitants of the United Kingdom.

White Christmas

Blizzards in Britain are not a frequent occurrence, in principle, and snowfalls at Christmas are a real miracle (if you do not take into account the artificial snow in the windows of shops and restaurants, of course). Nevertheless, the British dream of a white Christmas almost without exception. This stems from literature. Or rather, the works of Charles Dickens. The future writer was born in the coldest decade in the history of Great Britain, when snow in winter was as commonplace as the famous English rain in summer or wind from the ocean all year round.In 1814, when Charles was two years old, even the Thames froze, and the townspeople arranged fairs right on the ice and took circus elephants from one bank to the other as entertainment. Dickens filled many of his works with the spirit of magic, on the pages of which the winter months always have one color – snow-white. It is thanks to the books of Dickens, popular in Britain so far, that most of the inhabitants of the kingdom still dream of a perfect Christmas with knee-deep snowdrifts.

Advent

Any holiday will only benefit if you start preparing for it in advance.The best proof of this is Advent, the four-week preparation period for the main day of winter. Even the word advent itself comes from the Latin adventus – coming. Once it was a time of great fasting, thinking about God, one’s own sins and the spiritual path. At this time, the priests wore purple – the color of repentance. Today, not every inhabitant of planet Earth will remember the true meaning of Advent without the help of Google, but the tradition still lives on, albeit in a slightly modified form.Nowadays, Advent is one of the favorite pastimes of children, and the Advent calendar, where some sweetness is hidden behind each new date, appears at the end of November in every British home.

Mistletoe

The tradition of decorating their homes with a branch of mistletoe for Christmas has existed in Britain since the time of the Druids, who considered this plant sacred. And not only them. In Scandinavia, for example, mistletoe served as a talisman against thunder and lightning, and the ancient Romans believed that the plant promotes conception.In a way, they are right. In the days of the Roman Saturnalia, strangers could be kissed fearlessly on the winter solstice. In today’s Britain, everything is almost exactly the same as in Rome – a kiss under the mistletoe has become an indulgence, whoever your lips touched, so don’t miss your chance to take advantage of the Christmas miracle! Just do not forget that after each such kiss from the mistletoe, under which it happened, you need to pick the berry and when there are no more of them on the plant, the harmless romantic prank will instantly turn into harassment.Still, we live in the #meetoo era.

Mince pies

Along with turkey and pudding, mince pies are among the top three British favorites for a Christmas meal. It takes 4 months to prepare a classic filling for such pies, only in this case its ingredients will be able to reveal all their aromas and nuances of taste. Despite the fact that in English such a filling is called mincemeat (that is, minced meat), there is no trace of animal products in it.It is prepared from dried fruits, citrus peel, brandy or port, as well as cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. These days mince pies have become not only a favorite Christmas treat, but also a way to thank Santa Claus for gifts. British children leave a dish of these cakes near the fireplace as a “thank you” for his efforts. Well, keep in mind that if there are also carrots next to the mince pies, they are not intended for guests of the house, but for the main Christmas wizard, because carrots are a favorite treat of reindeer from his team.By the way, at the time of Oliver Cromwell, mince pies in Britain were outlawed, as they symbolized Catholicism.

Boxing Day

The name of this holiday, which falls on the day after Christmas (December 26), is usually translated into Russian as “Boxing Day”. However, this is not entirely true. After all, the gifts that the family members presented to each other were opened the day before – on the morning of Christmas itself (December 25). We owe the boxes (boxes) in which they were packed to the appearance in the Boxing Day calendar.Half-eaten Christmas dishes, as well as unnecessary things, were put into boxes that had already served their purpose to be taken to the poor and sick. Aristocrats on this day also handed out small gifts to their servants and also in boxes. And the merchants put food in them for their clerks. And even in churches on Christmas Eve, special boxes were set up, into which anyone could throw a few coins for those members of the flock who could not afford New Year’s shopping. It is worth noting that some Britons understand the name Boxing Day literally, that is, “boxing day”, so that on December 26 in the countries of the British Commonwealth, fights are often held among professional boxers.

Pigs in blankets

The name of this incredibly popular British Christmas dish is akin to herring under a fur coat. And in one, and in another case, it is more about the poetic way of thinking of its authors than about a real desire to save one of the representatives of the animal world from winter frosts. Pigs in blankets are sausages wrapped in bacon. They are served with cranberry, onion or bread sauce, or mustard. The sausages themselves can be of any size, so that in the end it is possible to prepare both a dish for a full-fledged Christmas meal, and an option for a buffet table, when sausages with bacon are served on small skewers so that you can safely take them with your hands.

Mulled wine

The main Christmas drink in Europe – mulled wine – did not pass by the British Isles. Here it is called mulled wine. Just like the Christmas tree, mulled wine in its current form first appeared in Germany. Culinary historians will certainly remember Ancient Egypt, where medicines were prepared from wine and herbs. Or about Ancient Rome, where spiced wine was very popular. But it was in medieval Germany that they first realized that wandering around the Christmas market is most pleasant with a mug of hot wine in hand.There is no canonical recipe for mulled wine, like the German gluhwine (mulled wine), so differences in aromas and spices will tell you much more about the taste of the chef who prepared the drink than about its country of origin. Unless the British version is likely to be sweeter – sugar is necessarily added to it, but in all other countries this ingredient is listed only as an additional one.

Greenery

The tradition of decorating their homes with a variety of vegetation originated in pre-Christian times, when the winter solstice was the main winter holiday.The change of eras led to a change in symbols, but even at the time when people began to worship Christ instead of the Sun, aesthetic needs did not disappear anywhere, so the jewelry only acquired a new meaning. The mistletoe, from which, according to legend, the cross of Christ was made, began to drive away troubles and serve as a symbol of peace and love. Holly, from the leaves of which, according to one version, the wreath of Jesus was made, symbolizes thorns and a crown, and its red berries are the blood of the savior. Well, ivy clinging to any surface should remind a person of the need to hold on to the Almighty in search of support in their daily affairs.

Christmas Carols

Initially, these songs were performed by the ancient Britons, standing around stone circles during the celebration of the same day of the winter solstice. And just as in the case of greenery, this did not stop carols from taking their place among the Christmas symbols in modern times. The word “carol” itself meant a joyful song or dance, but today it is not even the main anthem of Christmas, but of charity. Nowadays, hymns telling about Christ are performed in the hope of donations, and it is worth noting that this recipe works flawlessly.Traditionally, the most famous performance of Christmas carols can be found in the same place as the country’s main Christmas tree – in Trafalgar Square in London. The songs are accompanied by Christmas-themed performances. Well, the most famous carol in history was written by Charles Dickens. In 1843, his “A Christmas Carol in Prose” was released with one of the main misers in the history of British literature – Ebenezer Scrooge in the title role.

Christmas log / Yule log

Another rite that the British Christians borrowed from the pagans is the Christmas tree log.In Britain, it was harvested a year before the next holiday. First it was necessary to find and cut down a giant tree, clean it of branches and leave it to dry. After a year, the head of the family (and only he) sawed off a log from the felled trunk and brought it into the house. The rest of the family treated the log as a living creature, decorated it, watered it with honey and wine, and sprinkled it with grain. Then the log was set on fire and left in the fireplace or stove for all holidays, so that it had to burn for 12 days and nights.Until the fire was extinguished, it was possible to start making predictions for the future. A large number of sparks, for example, heralded a fertile year. And if someone saw a shadow without a head in the fireplace, then the next year should have been his last. Be that as it may, the Christmas tree log before the advent of the fashion for Christmas trees was perhaps the main symbol of the winter holidays. Nowadays, this custom can be considered somewhat outdated and modern British people buy a huge candle instead of a log. But those with a sweet tooth prefer a dessert called “Christmas log”, even though it does not come from the United Kingdom, but from France.

Royal Christmas Message

If there are British people among your acquaintances, be sure you know what they will do at 15.00 GMT every 25 December. Yes, that’s right, they will spend this time in front of the TV listening to Her Majesty’s Christmas address. Even during the broadcast of the English Premier League final, fewer people gather on TV. Perhaps this is one of the youngest and certainly 100% purely British tradition. For the first time, King George V made a Christmas address to the nation in 1932, and the author of the very first speech was Rudyard Kipling.It is worth noting that the idea of ​​the king’s Christmas speech originated in the bowels of the BBC even earlier, but it took almost 10 years to admonish the monarch. At first, it was not a body, but a radio appeal; British monarchs began to appear on the screen since 1957. Throughout its existence, the tradition of annual Christmas performances has been broken only three times. In 1936, when Edward VIII abdicated the throne, in 1938, and also in 1969, when Queen Elizabeth II wrote a text message that was published in newspapers.And on TV at the usual hour they showed a documentary about the royal family.

Christmas crackers

A Christmas meal in Britain begins with a joke, namely the Christmas crackers. Usually made of wrapping paper, they resemble candy in shape. But the size is so large that they open such a cracker together – your neighbor at the festive table will definitely come to the rescue. Inside the firecracker, there is usually some kind of humorous message or riddle, a small souvenir or sweetness – there is no single recipe, the main thing is that the contents evoke unconditional joy and set you in the mood for Christmas.But perhaps more often than other things in Christmas crackers, paper crowns come across, which guests put on their heads and in this form have fun until Christmas. In combination with the traditional sweaters that British grandmothers knit for their grandchildren, such crowns really make many smiles.

Christmas Dinner

There are only two obligatory dishes on the Christmas table in Britain, all other pickles depend on the tastes of the audience.First, it’s a bird. In most cases, whole-baked turkey, however, different regions of Britain have different versions of the hot one. In the west of England, for example, they prefer roasted goose to turkey, and smoked goose in the north. Only one rule remains unchanged – the head of the family cuts the bird and puts it on plates. The second indispensable attribute of the British Christmas feast is Christmas pudding. Unlike the much more famous Yorkshire pudding, its festive version is prepared by the whole family, and 4 items are put inside: the coin promises the one who has found financial success in the coming year, the ring promises a wedding, the button promises the bachelor life of the young man, and the thimble promises the unmarried life of a young lady.Just like mince pies filling, Christmas pudding filling is prepared in advance, usually a month before Christmas, so that the nut and dried fruit flavors are fully developed. And before serving, pudding is abundantly poured with brandy or rum and set on fire. The dish itself is so popular in the United Kingdom that there are almost as many recipes for it in the country as there are housewives, and each of them has its own, passed down from generation to generation.

Panto (Christmas pantomime)

If your imagination has already managed to draw the image of a sad mime with a bleached paint face, chase it away.Christmas pantomimes in Britain are extremely noisy and fun. In terms of genre, they are more likely to be musical performances based on famous fairy tales. Moreover, it is customary not just to listen to what is happening on the stage, but to comment on it. Warn about the approach of the villain or, on the contrary, encourage the positive hero to new deeds. Among the actors involved in such a production, there is always a man dressed in a woman’s dress (pantomime dame), and he always plays his role exaggerated so that no one has any doubts about his gender.So if you’ve always dreamed of screaming loudly, whistling or talking on your mobile during a performance, be sure to check out one of these performances.

Christingle

Every year millions of children in Britain string sweets on cocktail skewers, stick the skewers into an orange, and set and light a candle on top. This candlestick is called christingle. It was once part of a service in the Moravian Church in Western Europe, but since 1968 the Christingles have become an integral part of the Christmas holidays in the British Isles.Despite the uncomplicated nature of their manufacture, the kristingles are the most important Christian symbol. A round orange is the globe, four skewers are the cardinal points and the bounty of the Earth, which gives us food in each of the four seasons, the red stripe encircling the orange in the center is the savior’s blood shed for us, and the candle is the light of the Lord that illuminated our world. Strictly speaking, this light is the main part of the crystal.

Candy cane

A traditional Christmas treat is not really a cane.And in order to understand the whole meaning of this sweetness, you need to turn it upside down, only then you will see the letter J, symbolizing Jesus (Jesus). Classic candy canes are usually white-red or white-green in color. In the first case, this means that cinnamon stick is added to the caramel, in the second – peppermint stick. However, with the development of the food industry, the number of possible additives has increased hundreds of times, so today a sweet tooth can satisfy absolutely any desire on Christmas Eve.It is a pity that with the fulfillment of the rest of the requests addressed to Santa Claus, everything turns out to be not so simple.

Twelfth night

Christmas holidays end on the 12th day, or rather the 12th night of Christmas (January 5). Tradition obliges the British to end this day with a grand feast and have fun until morning. However, the modern inhabitants of the kingdom cannot always afford to go all out in the middle of the work week. After all, the feast of the Epiphany (January 6), following the twelfth night, in contrast to continental Europe in Britain, is an ordinary day, not a day off.Nevertheless, January 5 is still an extremely important day on the Christmas calendar. It is on this day that it is customary to remove the Christmas tree and hide New Year’s decorations in the closet. And to those who did not have time to do this superstition advises to leave the garlands and tinsel until next Christmas, otherwise the whole coming year will be unsuccessful. In addition, on this day, it is customary to cook pies with a bean or pea baked inside. And the one who gets such a delicious surprise may not worry about a Christmas tree that has not been cleaned in time – luck in all future affairs is guaranteed to him in any case.

Return to the Christmas Advent Calendar.

90,000 Where did British Christmas traditions come from

From a tourist’s point of view, being in Britain on Christmas Day is perhaps the most boring holiday option. It is not customary here to start up firecrackers, uncork champagne and go to visit on this day.

At Christmas, the British gather with their whole large family, from the older generation to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and eat, eat, eat all day, with breaks for walking and opening gifts.In recent years, some shops have begun to work in large cities on Christmas, some pubs and restaurants serve a festive dinner for the poor tourists who have brought these days to the United Kingdom, and more recently the country simply closed for a week to eat and drink. in the circle of relatives or closest friends.

However, it was this outward “boringness” that gave rise to the famous traditions of British Christmas, with which this holiday is covered with raisins like a spotted dick, and which are observed literally with religious fanaticism.

Flapper

Crackers are a must-have for a festive British dinner that begins at lunchtime or mid-afternoon on December 25th and continues until the evening ends with tea. The crackers are laid out on the table next to the eating utensils. It is customary to open them as follows: the owner of the firecracker takes one end, his neighbor on the left – at the other, hands should be crossed. When those sitting at the table have formed such a circle, they simultaneously pull at the ends of the crackers, which break with a soft pop.Inside there is a small souvenir, a holiday joke on a piece of paper (usually a very silly one) or a wish, and most importantly, a colored paper crown, because “on Christmas, everyone is king.” It is customary to read jokes out loud in turn and howl from their stupidity, after putting on a crown.

We owe the emergence of crackers to the Victorian pastry chef Tom Smith, who visited Paris in 1840 and was fascinated by the French packaging of chocolates in colored paper. He replicated this practice in Britain, but the candy wrappers did not sell well.One day, sitting by the fireplace on a winter evening and listening to the crackling of the wood, Smith figured out that the candy would be more attractive if the candy wrapper was opened with a small pop. The idea turned out to be successful, sales went up. The mechanism, invented by Smith in 1847, is still used in Christmas crackers. The idea of ​​turning flapping candies into firecrackers with small gifts and paper crowns inside belongs to the middle of Tom Smith’s three sons, who inherited his company in 1880, Walter.The Tom Smith firm still exists today and specializes in crackers, wrapping paper, bags, postcards and various party accessories.

Mince pies

The first pies with filling appeared in England in the 13th century, when the knights who returned from the next crusade brought home unprecedented spices from the Middle East: cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg. At first, pies were made with meat, fruit, interior fat, and seasonings. Usually they had 13 ingredients, symbolizing Christ and the apostles, and they were baked in the shape of a large oval, symbolizing the manger where Jesus was born.In Victorian times, meat disappeared from the recipe, and pies became small.

Pies with filling “for luck” are supposed to be eaten for 12 days, from December 26 to January 6. One day without a pie threatens a bad year, tradition says. Pranksters claim that pies taste disgusting only the first five times, and then addiction develops.

Christmas tree

In Northern Europe, the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree has existed for about a thousand years, but in Britain – only since the 1830s.In 1841, Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria, first decorated a tree at Windsor Castle, and it soon became a tradition.

Wrest Park, Bedfordshire is home to the world’s oldest Christmas tree. It was planted in 1856 by Thomas de Gray, and then every year it was brought into the house and decorated for Christmas, and at the end of the holidays it was again planted in the park. Finally the moment came when the tree became too big to carry back and forth, and the tree was left in the park.Several years ago, English Heritage, which owns the park, revived the tradition of decorating this tree.

Christmas cards

In 1843, the artist John Hosley sent the first printed postcard to his friend Sir Henry Cole. Back then, a postcard with a stamp cost over six pounds in today’s money. By 1860, printing had become cheaper and the tradition of greeting cards had taken over all of Britain, and by 1900, all of Europe.

The first postcard that Hosley sent to Cole showed a small child drinking wine.Twelve postcards from that first batch survived. One of them, sent by Cole to his grandmother, was sold in 2001 for £ 20,000.

Christmas Eve and Stockings with Presents

Christmas Eve – the evening of December 24 – the British spend much more modestly than other Europeans. They go to sing or just listen to the Christmas carols that are sung in the streets; stop by for a drink at a local pub and attend a midnight church service. Sometimes all this is done in one walk.

This is the most important night for British children: they hang special stockings by the fireplace, which Santa Claus will fill with gifts at night.By the fireplace, through which Santa enters the house, they leave goodies: a sweet alcoholic drink like sherry or port and a pie with a filling for Santa and a carrot for his main deer, the red-nosed Rudolph.

In the morning, young British people jump up at dawn and run to these stockings, unpacking presents before breakfast. The rest of the gifts, wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper and folded in a slide under the Christmas tree, can be unpacked only in the presence of the whole family and only in the period after breakfast on December 25, before the start of Christmas dinner.

The tradition of hanging stockings over the fireplace goes back to the legend of Saint Nicholas the donor, the predecessor of Santa Claus, who at night threw sacks of gold coins into the chimneys of the poorest inhabitants of the country with their daughters for marriage, so that the girls could have a dowry. These bags fell into stockings, which poor girls, who did not have a change of underwear, hung over the fireplace at night in order to put on dry and clean in the morning.

Wassailing

Unlike Americans, who drink alcoholic mogul in December, the British prefer warmed wine or cider with fruits and spices this season, the so-called mulled wine, in other words mulled wine.It is customary to treat neighbors with this drink by pouring it with a ladle from a saucepan with a handle.

The name of this British Christmas tradition is wassail, which means “bless you” in Old English. It is customary to answer wassailing “drink well!” (“Good drink!”).

Christmas Pudding

It is also called “plum pudding”. In the Middle Ages, it was a sweet milk porridge, which by the middle of the 17th century was transformed into a dessert with the addition of eggs, dried fruits and alcohol.Nowadays, Christmas pudding is a mixture of boiled dried fruits, heavily seasoned, which is poured on top of the brandy on top of the dessert and set on fire for a few seconds. Traditionally, a few coins are put into the pudding – as a gift and a surprise for someone who breaks a tooth about such a “gift”.

The Roman Catholic Church prescribed that the Christmas pudding should be prepared on the 25th Sunday after Trinity, contain 13 ingredients symbolizing Christ and the apostles, all family members should take turns in mixing it, and it should be mixed in the direction from east to west. in honor of the journey of the Magi.The Sunday on which it was cooked was therefore called “stirring Sunday.”

A Christmas lunch called “supper”

It usually starts at two o’clock on December 25, after the gifts are unpacked. At three o’clock, diners usually break off to listen to the Queen’s Message.

In addition to the royal wish, there are other must-have ingredients in the Christmas dinner, and it’s not just turkey. It wasn’t until the 19th century that turkey became popular in Britain, and it was still a rich dish before the 1960s.Cheaper bird species – goose, capon, chicken, pheasant – were and still remain an alternative to it.

Meat sauce – gravy is supposed to bake poultry, but not only. Traditionally, the bird is wrapped around the edges of the dish with “pigs in blankets” (pigs in blankets, small cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon and baked in it) and “devils on horseback” (pitted dates, almond or some other nut, also wrapped in bacon and baked in it).Next to the bird are baked potatoes, boiled Brussels sprouts, baked parsnips, Yorkshire pudding (baked dough that gravy absorbs amazingly). There is another sauce that only appears on the Christmas table – bread. It is really made from bread crumbs, looks unappetizing, but goes well with ham, smoked ham and other meat dishes.

Turkeys and geese were raised in East Anglia in the 18th and 19th centuries and were driven in herds along the roads to London closer to Christmas in order to arrive in the capital fresh.The birds’ journey took about three months. To protect the legs, special shoes made of leather or burlap were worn on the turkeys, and the goose paws were coated with tar and sand. Poor residents of London created the so-called “goose clubs”, in which each participant contributed a few pence weekly throughout the year to buy one goose for the whole company. Then the bird was divided between the members of the club. In the 16th and 17th centuries, before turkey became the main dish of the Christmas table, the poor ate a goose or capon, while the rich feasted on a pheasant or a swan.

Holiday Cinema

Just as the Russians have The Irony of Fate, so the British also have a film that must be watched by families on Christmas Day. It’s the Easterders’ Christmas episode, very sentimental. Another popular movie they love to watch on Christmas Eve is Love Actually.

Boxing Day

The day following Christmas, December 26, is called Boxing Day. This is also a day off, and Christmas sales traditionally start in Britain on this day.

There are two versions of the origin of the name of this day. According to the more common, on this day, the aristocracy gave gifts packed in boxes to their servants. According to the second version, on this day, boxes for charitable donations from parishioners were opened in churches, and their contents were distributed to the poor. During this period, it is customary to tip the artisans whose services you use throughout the year – the postman, milkman, butcher, etc.

Pantomimes, or, as they are often called, “panto”, is a traditional Christmas performance for children and parents.Usually includes a song, dance, buffoonery, jokes, involvement of the audience, who are encouraged to shout “there it is, follow you!” and sing along with the actors. The panto season lasts from December to February, and they are usually played in all suitable venues for performance: in city halls, church halls, on the stage, etc. The content of the performance varies, but traditionally the role of the male protagonist is played by a young girl, whose tight-fitting clothes emphasize her female forms, and the role of an elderly lady is played by a man.The action usually involves an animal, most often a horse or a cow, which is portrayed by two actors hiding under the skin. The fairy godmother always appears on the stage on the right, and the evil forces on the left. Previously, actors threw sweets into the audience, now this is rarely done due to fears of allergies among young viewers.

Christmas scenes. Usually played out by younger students in school plays and reconstructs the story of the birth of Christ. Children perform in costumes made by their parents.The role of the baby Christ is played by a doll, but it happens that it is also a real baby.

Wild swim. On the morning of December 25th, a 100-yard swim is performed at Hyde Park Baths on Serpentine Lake. This tradition started in 1864, and in 1904 it was named “The Peter Pan Swim” (a monument to which stands on the shore of this lake), and the winner was awarded a challenge cup. The air temperature is usually + 4 ° C or lower, and only members of the Serpentine Swimmer Club can participate in the swim, but you can watch their exploits for free.

Burning kegs. This is a local but very original tradition. In the village of Allendale in the north of England (Northumberland) on December 31, there is a colorful procession Tar Barl, barl – a dialect version of the word barrel. The procession is attended only by men, dressed in medieval caftans and carrying barrels with burning tar on their heads. Participants go around the entire village and by midnight return to the central square, where they dump burning barrels into a pre-prepared pile of firecrackers, which explode, marking the beginning of the New Year.

There is a similar tradition in Devon, in the south of England, where in the village of Otteri St. Mary’s in November, there is a race with burning tar kegs. Devonian races are attended by men, women and even teenagers.

Gratitude to the plow. In farmhouses, the plow is brought into the house and placed under the dining table before Christmas, indicating that the holidays have begun. It is customary to water the plow with beer at Christmas in gratitude for its hard work throughout the year.

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