1. Children give one another little Christmas Cards. So cute. Sort of like we do for Valentine's day.
2. The children have a Christmas Dinner at school, like we do for Thanksgiving. A special feast complete with English Christmas Crackers. Click here for more on Christmas Crackers.
3. Jaxon's class performed a Nativity at school complete with shepherd's wise men, angels, & a baby Jesus. They even sang Away in a Manger. It was adorable.
4. Dallin's class performed a Christmas Program in a nearby cathedral. It was a 45 minute program of readings and religious songs. It was fabulous. So, so different then back home! Also, no cameras or video cameras, so that swarm of parents that surround every school performance was non-existent. Which meant everyone was in their seats enjoying the program (except me, I pulled my iphone out...shhhh.)
A clip from Jaxon's Nativity... (dallin's will be added tomorrow).
1. Like the Nativity Program at school, the children in the ward, performed during our 3rd hour of church for the entire congregation. It was fun.
2. That christmas card tradition must just be an English thing, because it extended beyond school. At church people would leave cards for you on a table in the foyer? Don't know if this is an English thing, an English Mormon thing, or just an our little congregation tradition. So we joined in and saved money on stamps!
3. They have a traditional Christmas Carol serivce on Christams Eve. Apparently they used to even do it at 11pm, thank goodness they've changed that! Not sure if we would have attended. It was just an hour long program that included some readings, a few performances, and mostly the congregation joining in on singing Christmas Carols. Did you know that we sing a different tune to O Little Town of Bethlehem than they do? And they say Beth-LE-hem. Dallin's already picked that one up.
1. Well, we usually have our traditional ham or turkey dinner on Christmas Eve. We enjoy a feast, and then have a Christmas devotional of some sort that includes reading the Christmas story from the Bible and discussing the significance of the occasion. After dessert we open a gift with new pjs, then we head to bed. But here, we were asked to help with that Christmas Carol Service, so we were busy that day preparing for it, and were away from home when we would have been doing those above mentioned activities. So in lieu of the feast we ordered Pizza, and in lieu of reading through the story on Christmas Eve we did it the night before and enjoyed singing Christmas Carols with among new friends. To make it clear, Christmas Dinner is very important here. It's like our Thanksgiving. I don't think Christmas would be the same for them here without it. And since we're used to doing it on Christmas Eve, it doesn't make much of a difference for us. But I did it the English way this year, with an open mind, and I have to say, I do think I prefer having the meal and scriptures the night before. It brings with it a measure of reverence that we so enjoy during this season. It was a little tricky to have the kids in for a nice meal at 3 pm on Christmas Day, after they've been lolligaging around in their PJ's all morning. So I may just rock the boat next year, and do it the Tucker way. I specify Tucker way, because I realize we all do things a bit differently don't we. So who am I to say this is how Americans do it and this is how they do it in England? Except they really do ALL have Christmas dinner on Christmas. Hee hee.
2. Since we were far away from our family, we invited the missionaries to join us for the day. And if you recall, we enjoy having the Elders over. It makes us feel a little bit, like we're among friends and family, like we would be back home. Well, they came over and woke up the kids at 5AM!!!!! We had torn through all the gifts by 7am, and spent the morning playing card games, playing with new toys, and hanging out. It was a rainy, rainy day, but the sun broke out for a few hours, (what they call a sunny spell here, and we headed out to the park to try out new skateboards, scooters, and play some proper football and learn some lacrosse. Elder Mecham played Lacrosse for BYU and had his sticks shipped to him for Christmas. It was a lot of fun.
1. The Salvation Army. I didn't hear any bell ringers this Christmas. Instead, I heard singers, brass bands, quartets, you name it. All performing great Christmas songs with that famous red can out front collecting change! I particularly loved the brass instruments playing Hark the Herald Angels Sing in our local train station a couple weeks ago.
2. Shopping: It's been a bit difficult preparing Christmas without your go-to stores. I'm not saying my Brittish friends don't have their go-to stores, but I haven't figured them out yet. And so, a whole lot of my shopping was done online. Thank heaven's for amazon.co.uk! Can you imagine, preparing for Christmas without a Target? Seriously, it was a challenge!
I had to ask 3 people where to buy a meat thermometer, and still never came across one in time for Christmas dinner. Kills me.
We had a great Christmas. Differences abounded, but so did the similarities. It's definitely a little more Christmas here I think and a little less commercial, or politically correct. I definitely felt the Christmas spirit throughout the month and pray it will linger on! That's the challenge then, isn't it. We love and miss you dear family and friends. And pray you are well and enjoying the same spirit of Christmas.
Below are some pictures of our day. They are totally out of order. Good Luck!