In England Christmas pudding and cakes are being prepared in 6 weeks before the feast, as they must be infused to become spicy and flavoured.
Frankly speaking, nowadays English pudding oftener is bought at the shop than it is made by the English themselves for to cook it's both more expensive and gives a lot of troubles which are enough before Christmas as it is.
But the tradition of Christmas pudding is believed not to die out in England. Many people make sweets even if they usually do not prepare anything more and they give away these sweets to their friends. Christmas pudding has gone down in history and English culture. It even played the main roles in English books. For instance here it is what Mrs. Ross out of detective by A. Christie `` Theft of royal ruby`` tells about pudding:
" Real Christmas pudding must be made in some weeks before Christmas and it must be left in coldness; the longer it is kept within reasonable limits, of course, the more delicious it is. I remember when I was a little girl and we went to the church every Sunday, so we wanted for a certain prayer, which was served as a signal to preparing of puddings. On Sunday the prayer was said and not later than next week my mother made Christmas pudding without fail. Everybody living in the house had to enter the kitchen to stir the pudding and to think of any wish. That is the long-standing tradition, sir, and I always follow it."
Christmas psalms, skating, garlands and other typical Christmas attributes accompany beginning of feast time in Great Britain traditionally. This year lighting ceremony of Christmas garlands in Regent-street, Old Street of London city celebrates its anniversary of 50 years.
Historical royal places of London, remind about Christmas celebration in the past centuries. At the Tower of London Norman Christmas takes part from the 27 till the 31 of December that recreates atmosphere of 1098 year which is memorable; exactly there the king Henry 1 and his suite celebrated the feast after finishing of building of the fortress.
At Hampton Court Palace Jacobean Christmas is celebrated from the 27 till the 1 of January; Jacob 1 and Ann Danish laid its traditions. The skating-ring getting up in best traditions of that time is opened also here.
In Christmas Eve 12 showrooms at Geoffrey's museum in an east part of London are festively decorated where some furniture and examples of interior of period since 1600 up to our days are exhibited. Visitors can find out what is the foundation of such traditions as kissing under mistle-toe and decorating of a fir-tree.
For English children Christmas appears indistinctly in October yet, at this time they sit at the table and putting out their tonguage tips with effort write Christmas list for Father Christmas. Shop owners sell different thematic togs just from this moment.
In generally this is a long-standing tradition. In UK there are traditions, rituals, distinctive marks, Kinks and other crazy ideas, connected to winters festivities more than in all the rest of Europe. It being (There being) both long-standing traditions and relatively new ones, but they are got firmly cemented in the midst of Britain mentality. Here is an example; from the end of the 19-century Advent calendars come to England from Germany. First they had religious "grown up" aim but soon children started using them. And now each year from the 1 0f December whole juvenile Britain keeps counting to the Advent. And these Calendars can be wild: blinking, chocolate, waffle, of they can be even like heads of Martians.
Majority of building are decorated only in two weeks before Christmas. Trees in many of which the leaves are left are enmeshed in tinsel, coloured lights and different ribbons. Lawns in front of houses are usually hidden almost completely with holly and ivygarlands and with statues of Father Christmas. In Christmas Eve children go to bed right after they are read prayers and thrilling Christmas stories. But before this they are sure to leave a pie with meat topping and some milk for Father Christmas and a carrot for a certain Rudolf to receive presents. And in the morning at this unearthly hour children rush upstairs to the living rooms where everything what they were looking forward to, is under the fir-tree in their stockings.
At about 13 o'clock relatives and friends come to see each other, they kiss, other embrace, exchange their presents, discuss some trifles with delight and at last take their seats at Christmas table.
Shrimp-cocktails are served up as a starter, for the main course turkey is with black currants dressing and Christmas pudding is for dessert.
At 15 o'clock Queen Elizabeth appeals to English people with holiday speech. Then the best and the funniest telecasts are showed in TV.
London is true Christmas House and a cradle of most traditions without questions streets are sparkled with thousands of lights and other designed enterprises. Fresh air pricks occasionally cheeks and nose and frost changes the city into Christmas Wonderland like by Dickens. London allows feeling all nuances of festival atmosphere. All kinds of choirs sing at churches, all public houses offer special menus and some peculiar amusements, streets, squares and theatres are flooded by organizers of entertainments, clowns and with pop-groups.
But first of all X-mas is sure to do shopping for all people.
For Christmas sales all the shops prepare before hand from about middle of October.
These sales are the most substantial for the whole year. Shop windows are set with little angels, snowmen, deer broods and cohorts of Santa Claus.
By the way, would you remember everything can be given as a presents for Christmas in England, it depends on your tastes and opportunities. The latest tendency is to manage somehow and to buy something what nobody dares call tags or junk. For example helicopter airing is very popular now. The most popular gifts are considered tourist vouchers, books, DVD, CD and clothes as well. The English regard Christmas extremely seriously like any other tradition. The houses and appartments are cleared very careful in a week before Christmas. Out through the windows can see decorated fir-trees. On the door of every house there is a green garland of mistle-toe, and above the door there are a lot of coloured lights.
In spacious and a little empty on usual days stores is agiotage, because first of all you should have time to buy a heap of presents and to store meals as on the 24th, 25th and 26th of December the shops are closed. The second reason is you may not miss the case to gain something been eager at a discount. The red patches "Sale" appear at the very beginning of December and by the middle of the month all the shop-doors and windows are glued over with them. At all stores including also groceries there are plenty of various Christmas toys: there are Santa Claus, little silver bells and half-moons and balls with wishes as well.
Promptly after Christmas these toys will be piled up in the boxes beside the cash desk. And these boxes cost only 50 pence; if you buy 3 toys you get a discount, and if you take ten ore more ones so the discount is much more larger. But in that case the sellers will be very astonished for the next feast is in a year, you know.
All the markets of London are very busy. The biggest of them is Petty-coat Lane market near by metro-station "Victoria". This market is opened only on Sunday from 8 till 14 o'clock. The traffic is stopped at this time. At the market everything is cheaper than at any other shop. The most popular presents in December are Santa's caps and eyeglasses with a big red nose and a little lamp inside it. Having bought this wonderful adornment everybody put it on immediately. It's very funny to see a practical gentleman in a bowler and with a walking stick worn in clown's spectacles with a nose, in deed.
The little market on Greenwich Island is much more interesting. It's not so cheap, but all the things are unique. Here you can find hand-working embroidery from all over the world, antiquarian bonnets, feathers, lamps, tables and huge pink shells too. You can also discover handmade articles of the English themselves; they are models of ships placed in the bottles that symbolize England as sovereign of seas. This museum in the open sky works only on Saturdays and Sundays.
On Christmas Eve streets of London become deserted. The tourists scurry about only in Soho and Piccadilly. The really English stay at home the whole feast, going out only to mass. The most solemn mass takes place at the Westminster Abbey; those who couldn't force their way crowd outside. To take a taxi it is almost impossible, for taxi-drivers are people too and they also spend the evening in their family circle. In the deserted streets and windows of the empty shops it is snowing and the toy deer are driving toy Santa Claus at that time. On the 27th of December the shops are opened and the English rush to buy some things at give – away prices: discounts in the week after Christmas are the largest.
A few days before Christmas English supermarket Fortnum and mason usually sells products made of venison. Here you can gain pate and tinned stewed meat made of flesh of those animals that according to fairy-tales Santa Claus puts into his sledge. Firm Edible produces these products. This firm just specializes in preparation of exotic foods, for example, insects in chocolate or wine with snakes.
In Great Britain present are ordered at Father Christmas. He was written detailed letter enumerating everything is wished and this letter is thrown into the fireplace. Smoke out of the chimney is thought to supply this list right its purpose. But of course to buy gifts one should go shopping. In the family circle the ceremony of gift distribution is run according to old-standing tradition, with a lot. And the custom of sending of postcards with Christmas topics is kept without fail.In the eve Britain Mass midi as report the traffic on the principle highways to be half-petrified for the Britains have rushed for the journey. The whole family is gathered to celebrate Christmas according to the tradition. And on the 24 of December traditional main service takes place at churches late in the evening.
But nowadays some Britains, especially youth deviates from traditions of family holyday and they leave for having rest to mountain-skiing health-resorts or to warm South Seas.