A Christmas Retrospective-My first Christmas in London by Ligia.

Yes , we know it’s nearly February but our Registrar , Ligia who is from Venezuela wanted to share with us her first ever Christmas holiday spent here in the UK!  Here she tells us a bit about the differences she found between the UK & Venezuela .  From Christmas cards to the typical Christmas pudding here’s a look back at Christmas 2015!! 

MY FIRST CHRISTMAS IN LONDON

Top Five British Christmas traditions from a Venezuelan point of view

Christmas is an important event for Venezuelans and this is my first December far away from home. Fortunately, my new family and colleagues have made me feel as if I am at home, showing me their lovely English Christmas traditions.Presents under the tree

I have learnt so many things since I arrived in London. The English have excellent manners and that is simply fantastic, which is why I want to tell you about my top 5 Christmas traditions so you can have an idea of how lovely it was for me.

1.Christmas Cards

It seems that everything starts with Christmas cards. I started receiving a lot of them before Christmas Day, from my mother in law, my husband’s aunt and my colleagues at work, all of them wishing me and my husband a Happy Christmas and New Year.

Apparently, here in the UK most people set aside one day to make a list of family and friends who they are going to send cards to and spend an afternoon writing their best wishes for Christmas. It is great to receive one and send another back. I think it is so sweet and so typical of English politeness. I decorated my house and tree with the Christmas cards we received.

I tried to embrace the tradition as soon as I could and send my best wishes back. Certainly, it is a tradition that I will keep for next Christmas.

Cards

2.Crackers

I have to confess that the first time that I saw a cracker it wasn’t Christmas and I didn’t have a clue what it was. It was my first week at Tti and I was helping Bridie and Guy, Tti’s Directors, to take Christmas pictures for the brochure when Bridie asked me to hold a cracker and smile and I thought it was a simple decoration.

Ligia

Bridie told me that as a Christmas tradition in England they pull crackers and they go bang and inside you can find a surprise, a paper crown and a joke. Some families make their own crackers and fill them with candies and other stuff. We pulled crackers on my first Christmas Day in London and took pictures wearing our crowns and read the jokes – which are typically very bad!

3.Lighting the Christmas pudding

My favourite part of every meal is always the pudding. Here they have a special pudding for Christmas that is sort of a soft fruity cake. I liked it and we have a similar pudding for Christmas in Venezuela, which we call the black cake. It is delicious!

The only difference is that they set fire to the pudding with liquor and you can see the flames while they sing the Christmas Carol “We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish a Merry Christmas, we wish a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year… Oh bring us a figgy pudding”

4.The Queen’s Speech

The Queen gives a speech every Christmas to wish the best to English families and the world. It might not sound particularly fun but actually it was the best bit of the day. Every person at the dinner chose three words that they thought the Queen would say and every time the Queen said any word on the list everybody had to drink. The winner was the person whose words the Queen said the most.

Incidentally, I won the game! My words were: hope, love and Christmas. So by the end of the speech, I had not only won the competition but I was also a little bit drunk. Certainly, it was a great way to hear the Queen’s Speech.

5.Taking down the Christmas decorations

I think many people are going to agree with me when I say that the worst part of the Christmas is when you have to take the decorations down. Normally, in Venezuela we wait ages to put everything away – up to two or three months in some cases. I don’t know if this is laziness or perhaps sadness because Christmas has gone.

Decorations

So I found it so funny when my husband told me that we had to take the decorations down before January 6th because it is bad luck to have them up after this day. He didn’t know why but he was sure that it is bad luck! Don’t get me wrong, we have a lot of superstitions in Venezuela but the fact that he took it so seriously was funny for me. Anyway, even though I was slightly sceptical, I still took down the Christmas decorations before January 6th, just in case…

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