Or British girlfriend in this case. Hey peoples, it's Intern Caroline. I am in the middle of my third holiday season across the pond, and I think I finally know how to have a British Christmas. You see, before I moved over here, I just watched Love Actually every year, like 95.7% of the female 25-34 year old demographic. And I practiced saying "Lobster. FIRST lobster" and wondering why nativity plays were happening in state schools and why the Prime Minister's niece and nephew went to same school as his assistant (I mean, I know I am American and SEE NO CLASS LINES, but I am pretty sure that would never happen). And then, just like in the movies, I met my husband while he was on a road trip to rural America in search of women (I shit you not. well, women were part of it), and since then, I've had the inside track on a real British holiday. Here's my top five key picks!
This is hands down one of my favorite parts of the British Christmas.
Let's open one together! <crosses hands, yanks incredibly hard, inhales smell of nasty gunpowder or whatever the hell is inside them>
I am crap at origami. Confession, this is a lame cracker. The best ones are the "luxury" crackers that have useful stuff like mini makeup brushes and bottle openers. Or the ones with little wind up toys. They even have literary themed ones, like these ones based on A Christmas Carol. How classy! But I am too cheap for those. But this cracker does have two important things:
What's the difference between the Christmas alphabet and the ordinary alphabet?
The Christmas alphabet has Noel
What's ET short for?
Because he's only got little legs.
A shrimp's heart is in it's head AND
The scientific name of the American alligator is Alligator Mississippiensis
And a hat! Now, wear the hat throughout the rest of this post. I don't care if you don't want to. IT'S CHRISTMAS LAW.
2. PIE PIE PIE
Pick your poison, people. Mince pies with Brandy Cream?
Pork pies with nasty jelly forming a terrifying layer between unidentifiable meat and fattening pastry? (Yeah, I have a favorite, and it has booze).
3. This Song
Go on. Hit play. You know you want to.
I'm sorry. I just couldn't be the only one. The UK does not have a Charlie Brown Christmas, they have this instead. A thousand negative points, UK.
4. Weird Gift Traditions
So for lots of people here, my husband included, have the tradition that Father Christmas leaves gifts at the foot of your bed in the middle of the night. This means a couple of things when you are a small child. #1: A random dude is walking into your bedroom at night and touching your feet. I am pretty sure this would have given me night terrors for ten years. However, this is offset by the fact that #2 By putting presents at the foot of you bed, parents can delay over-excited youngsters and get an extra hour of so of sleep. (which becomes v. important when you are chronically hung-over, see below). I still cannot tell if this tradition is evil or awesome, so we will be trialing it in my house when my child is old enough to open presents, and not just eat the wrapping paper.
5. A Hangover
Y'all, British people do not shit around when it comes to the sauce on Christmas. On my first British Christmas eve, we went to a pub called the Spread Eagle. With my in-laws. I haven't been to church in about five years, but even I was expecting wrath-filled lightning strikes for that one. Little did I know it would be followed with Bucks Fizz (aka mimosas) when we woke up, wine with christmas lunch, port with cheese and biscuits (read, crackers, but not those crackers) followed by a healthy round of "Let's finish out the liquor cabinet" while playing board games. This is not a game people - bring your A liver.
Happy Christmas, brethren across the pond!