Christmas is coming!!

15 12 2008

The winter Solstice is approaching and so are the winter celebrations associated with Advent or Yuletide. Would you like to learn a little more about the traditions related to this time of the year? How are Christmas celebrated in UK? Do the three Wise Men make it all the way to the British Isles? Are nougat and marzipan mandatory  desserts  on the Christmas dinner table in Uk and Ireland? Advent is a time for social gatherings and for celebrating the birth of a New Year.

My best wishes to all of you for 2009!

‘Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat!’
Christmas is the biggest festival in Britain and is celebrated on 25th December. The four weeks before Christmas are called Advent, and are traditionally celebrated in churches by lighting a candle each Sunday during Advent. Nowadays, many people in Britain are not very religious, but they still celebrate Christmas. But watch out - the preparations begin long before Advent. In fact, as early as September or October, you start to see signs that Christmas is on the way.
The first places to tell us that we should be thinking about Christmas are the shops. People in Britain spend on average over £600 (around $1000) per person on Christmas every year, and the shops encourage people to spend more and more. Shops put up Christmas decorations and play cheesy Christmas songs or carols; and some shop workers wear Christmas hats. Some big shops on Regent Street and Oxford Street in London create wonderful displays in their windows with moving characters, falling snow, colourful lights and music.
So what do people buy in preparation for Christmas? Well, Christmas decorations; Christmas cards to send to your friends and relatives; presents for your loved ones and wrapping paper to wrap them up with. And of course food! Apart from the special Christmas dinner of roast turkey or goose, people buy lots of chocolates, nuts and snacks for everyone to enjoy.
But the children are the most excited that Christmas is coming. They start making lists of presents they would like, and give them to their parents, or send them to Santa Claus. In December, they can also open their Advent calendars. Advent calendars are a way of counting down to Christmas. They have a window to open for every day from 1st - 24th December (Christmas Eve).
A basic Advent calendar has a Christmassy picture behind each window, but the children’s favourite is usually a chocolate Advent calendar, with a chocolate for every day of the month. It’s a great build-up to the overeating that goes on at Christmas!
Vocabulary
religious
following a system of beliefs and practices relating to God
watch out
mind you; be prepared
on the way
approaching, drawing closer
cheesy
of cheap quality or bad in style
carols
traditional and/or religious songs that people sing at Christmas
Christmas hats
hats with pointy tips, usually red in colour and with some fur around them, traditionally worn at Christmas for fun
wrapping paper
decorated paper used to cover presents
apart from
here, in addition to
Santa Claus
the imaginary jolly old man with a white beard and a red suit who brings presents to children at Christmas
Christmassy
relating to Christmas and capturing/representing the jolly mood of the season
build-up
anticipation, increasing feeling as a high point (here, Christmas celebrations) approaches
overeating
eating too much
Other interesting links:
The whats and Whys of Christmas in UK. Reading comprehension.
http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/Xmas/index.html
By the 13th of December, St Lucia’s day) ( por Santa lucía, la noche mengua y crece el día) I like to decorate the Christmas tree and to get in the Christmas mood, I always play some Christmas music. Do you have a favourite Christmas song? or a song that reminds you of winter?
Here’s mine:
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, sung by an endless list of singers from
Frank Sinatra
To ColdPlay….
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – lyrics
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sightHave yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on, 
our troubles will be miles away.
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.
Through the years 
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.  

Click on the following links to find out more things about Christmas:

Read and listen from BBC Newswo081216.ram