Christmas is always at the front of many people’s thoughts. Whether you live in the UK or anywhere else, Christmas is an exciting time of year. Many people visit family and friends at this time of year so it’s a great opportunity to catch up with people we don’t see very often. If you’re not living close by there are plenty of ways to keep in touch with loved ones over the festive period.
Hopefully, thishappyhuman can share some advice, hints and tips that will make the festive season a happy time, without stress and turmoil!
What is Christmas?
Christmas is a holiday celebrated by many people around the globe. It’s a time of celebration and reflection on one’s life, as well as a time to celebrate with family and friends.
Christmas is an annual Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. It also marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmas, which lasts 12 days. The traditional Christmas dinner includes roasted goose or turkey, sometimes with roast beef or ham, and is served with stuffing.
There is a traditional Christmas meal that involves a big roast turkey, ham, vegetables, and plenty of sauces to accompany all the food on your plate! For vegetarians, there is always a range of options from nut roasts to mushroom risotto. The dessert at Christmas dinner is the traditional Christmas pudding which also includes a lot of different sauces. Christmas cake is also served at Christmas dinner, along with cream or ice cream.
Why is Turkey served at Christmas?
The tradition of eating turkey at Christmas is thought to have originated in England. It was popularized by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who had a close relationship with the American President James Buchanan
The first recorded mention of turkey being eaten on Christmas Day was in 1846 when an article from the “London Morning Chronicle” mentions that “turkeys are now plentiful and cheap”.
In America, it became a tradition for families to eat turkey because they couldn’t afford beef or other more expensive meats during times of hardship
There’s also the story about Pilgrims giving thanks for their harvest while sitting down to dinner on Thanksgiving day, which would later become associated with Christmas as well.
Another theory is that turkeys were seen as more desirable than geese because they could be dressed up like humans and made fun of without people getting offended. I’m not sure about this one. Has anyone ever seen a Turkey dressed up and paraded in front of people for their amusement? Leave a reply in the comments if you have!
Finally, some believe that the association between poultry and christmas comes from medieval Europe where roasted hen was served instead of roast pig – so serving meat dishes at this time might have been part of a shift away from pork-based cuisine over time.
Whatever you choose to eat on Christmas day, start looking for food that can be frozen in November and early December. The madness of trying to find all the ingredients for a full-on Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve is a crazy idea. I’ve done it in the past, and one year was not very festive at all!
During your next trip to the supermarket, think about what you’d ike to eat on Christmas Day. Add one or two non-perishable items to your shopping trolley or basket and when you get home, but them aside for use on the big day.
Traveling during Christmas time
Find out if your travel destination is open during Christmas and New Year. If you’re staying with family this shouldn’t be a problem. You might want to check that you’re invited!
Plan out your travel route and make sure you allow plenty of time to get to your destination – if the roads are busy it could take you much longer than usual.
Check where public transport is available in case this would be easiest for you. If you are traveling by train or bus, book your tickets in advance to get the best prices possible.
If you’re traveling by train in the United Kingdom, take a look at https://www.thetrainline.com/
In London, TFL has regularly updated reports about any problems with buses and trains in the capital. https://tfl.gov.uk/tube-dlr-overground/status/
For those served by National Express buses, NXbus.co.uk is a reliable source of information.
If you’re driving, check the weather conditions before setting off – snow and ice could cause extra problems on the road. National and local news regularly broadcast weather reports. If you’re relying on the internet for weather advice, I’ve used AccuWeather for several years. The local forecast is very accurate. https://www.accuweather.com/en/gb/united-kingdom-weather
If you’re flying, check that your airline is open for business (obviously) and that the weather forecast isn’t too bad. You might want to check that your travel insurance covers cancellations in this case as well! Skyscanner has been recommended to me by several friends that travel a lot https://www.skyscanner.net/
Bring cash with you as there might not be an ATM nearby. You can use google maps to find your nearest cashpoint, https://www.google.com/search?q=google+maps+nearest+atm
Whether you’re at home or travelling around others, it’s always good to have an idea of how you’ll get from A to B while visiting friends and family. Travel plans can include driving, walking, or taking public transport. If you’re away from home, search for information about local travel before arriving at your destination.
Gifts and presents
It is traditional to exchange gifts with friends and family during Christmas. I’ve known several workplaces that encourage a “Secret Santa” in the run-up to Christmas. It’s a lucky dip as to who will be buying you a gift. A price limit is usually set at about five pounds, and participants buy a gift for the person whose name they’ve picked out of the hat – usually a red and white fluffy one – its a great way to get to know your colleagues and to have a laugh at the sometimes ridiculous gifts that people buy.
Family and close friends will always appreciate a well-chosen gift. Here’s a few suggestions as to what to buy.
1. Buy your loved ones a gift card from their favourite store.
It may seem like a bit of a cop-out to buy a gift card. Some people think it’s a bit lazy and the equivalent of putting cash in a Christmas card. The benefit is that it may help them buy something they’ve been wanting for a while but haven’t bought yet
2. Offer your time to help out.
Give the gift of time by giving someone a day off work to spend with loved ones or doing chores around the house. It’s difficult to buy things for people that appear to have everything. The one thing we can never get enough of us is time. If one person does the cooking, make sure they get time away from the kitchen – do the washing up and prepare supper for them later in the evening.
3. Get creative. Use your own skills and make something
Make your own gifts by baking, drawing, or making something that a friend would appreciate. It may be they don’t know how to bake. If they have a sweet tooth – and who doesn’t- make them something that you know they’ll enjoy eating.
5. Are they away from home? Are your neighbours going to be visiting family over the Christmas period?
Take care of their pets when they’re away so that they don’t have to worry about leaving them alone at home. Its a great gesture to make and I’m sure it would be appreciated.
Tell those that have helped you how much you love and appreciate everything that they do for you in life. Being grateful for what we’ve got is a great way to connect with people that we may not see at other times of the year. Thank them for any help or advice they’ve offered. Give love to be loved. Its a virtuous circle that makes everyone feel the spirit of Christmas.
Christmas is a time of joy and togetherness, but it can also be stressful. Hopefully, the suggestions above will get you organised for this upcoming holiday season. Thanks for reading on how to plan ahead, what food should traditionally be served, as well as ideas for gifts that will make your loved ones feel special!
If you liked this post make sure to leave a comment and follow This Happy Human on twitter.
To subscribe for updates and new posts, add your email address to the box below and click yes!