Christmas EveCategory: Customs + Festivals
On Christmas Eve everything is rush and bustle. Office and public buildings close at one o’clock, but the shops sta open late. Most big cities, especially London, are decorate with coloured lights across the streets and enormous Christ mas trees. The main line stations, trains and buses are crowde with people travelling from all parts of the country to be a home for Christmas.
In the homes there is a great air of expectation. The chil dren are decorating the tree with tinsel, various baubles an often coloured lights as well. The house is decorated wit holly (An evergreen shrub with hard, shiny, dark-green, sharp-pointed leaves and bright red berries, Branches of this are used for Christmas £ decorations) and a bunch of mistletoe under which the boys kis the girls. Christmas cards — with the words A Merry Christ mas to You, or Wishing You a Merry Christmas and a Prosper ous New Year, or With the Compliments of the Season, etc. — are arranged on mantlepieces, shelves, tables, and sometime attached to ribbon and hung round the walls.
Meanwhile the housewife is probably busy in the kitchen getting things ready for the next day’s dinner. The Christmas, bird, nowadays usually a turkey, is being prepared and stuffed, the pudding is inspected and the cake is got out of its tin and iced.
In small towns and villages one may still see carol-singers who come and stand in front of the house and sing or play Christmas carols. They expect a Christmas box from a few, pennies or coppers upwards in return for their musical efforts. The money collected is then donated to some deserving cause, for example to help destitute old people.