Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Time is Here

What a wonderful English Christmas I had with Jon's family!  They brought me so kindly and wholeheartedly into their traditions and their celebrations - it really was special.

Jon's aunt and uncle and young cousins arrived on Christmas Eve day, and we had a big dinner all together, which culminated in the usual Christmas Eve: a reading of The Night Before Christmas by Jon's father followed by a rousing carol sing.  Throughout all of this, the candles were lit on the Christmas tree - it was beautiful.

We woke up early on Christmas day and trooped into Jon's parents' bedroom to open our stockings.  Santa was incredibly generous to all of us - especially to me!  Around noon we headed to Jon's other aunt's house for Christmas lunch.  What a spread!  We had turkey, stuffing, sausages, cranberry sauce, bread pudding, Brussels sprouts, leeks in cream sauce, roasted potatoes, and parsnips.  (Thanksgiving part deux!)  There were crackers at each place - apparently pulling a cracker is like pulling a wishbone in that whomever is left with the bit with the prizes wins.  (Why hasn't this come Stateside?  It's the perfect dinnertime distraction for kids young and old.)  Then came the opening of the presents, and if I had doubted before that Jon's family knows me and loves me I certainly don't anymore!

Today, the day after Christmas, is Boxing Day.  There are two stories about the origin of Boxing Day; one claims that it's the day when service people (or those below stairs) were given their presents, and another states that it's the day that churches distributes the contents of their almsboxes to the poor in honor of St. Stephen's feastday.

Yes, today is also St. Stephen's Day, which means we need a lively chorus of Good King Wenceslas!

Anyway, this being Boxing Day, after a hearty breakfast we went out for a long and bracing walk - another tradition, natch.  We trekked for about 5 miles and rewarded ourselves at the end with tea and cake in an Aldeburgh cafe.  It was a gorgeous day for a walk, clear and frosty.

Now, again following tradition, we're about to sit down for yet another massive meal with the whole family.

Oh, hey, look, Jon's bringing me a glass of wine.  I think that's my cue to sign off!  Merry Christmas all - I hope you're having a wonderful holiday with friends and loved ones.


  1. you don't have crackers in America?????? wow! party thing that we didn't steal from you! that makes a change.... glad you had such a lovely first English Christmas x

  2. @Christian - we had ham for our Boxing Day dinner. I helped myself to seconds :)

    @George's Mum - no, we don't! They're fantastic, though - I'll be sure to send some back!


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