Christmas means a great many things to different people all over the world. Everyone has their own favourite holiday memories, and traditions they try and maintain from one year to the next. The best thing about Christmas is that it’s a magical time where differences can be forgotten for a while as everyone joins in the celebrations together at home and all over the world.
Christmas pantomimes are a popular tradition in lots of countries including Australia and Ireland to Canada, but nowhere as popular as they are in the UK, and they’re a huge favourite with young children. Every year theatres in London and other cities and towns from the largest stages to small local theatres put on a pantomime to entertain and amuse. And they’re not just for kids either, people of all ages love their corny sense of humour and cheeky banter.
Going to the pantomime is an annual festive outing for some families and every year there is something different on offer. If you haven’t taken your kids to see the well-known story of Aladdin, Cinderella, Babes in the Wood, Beauty and the Beast, Dick Whittington, Jack and the Beanstalk, Mother Goose or Peter Pan then they are missing out on a heap of festive fun.
Kids in particular love pantomime as they can get involved with the characters, they’ll be asked to boo when the villain appears and cheer for the hero, and the standard line in every panto is look behind you’! Parents enjoy them too as it’s funny to watch the characters as generally the older females are played by males and the younger males by females, and they involve risqué lines and innuendos that go right over the youngsters heads but make the adults chuckle at the cheekiness of it all. If you are thinking of taking your family to see a pantomime this Christmas check the local papers, theatres and the internet around this time for information on tickets.
Going to watch the Christmas lights being turned on is a jolly occasion too as the kids are excited about being out in the evening when generally they would be tucked up in bed, and everyone is in a happy holiday mood. Celebrities and tv stars often do the honour of flicking the switch and each town and city does it’s best to make the streets and buildings merry and cheerful.
Christmas markets are held in city centres, and sometimes parks and stately homes, over the holidays and they’re a colurful display of gifts, lights and delicious aromas. Open in the day they can be more fun to visit in the evenings when the lights are lit up, the full tang of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and grilled German sausages fills the air, and there’s music and traditional dancing. Open air stalls have a great selection of home-made and unique items on sale, ideal for small gifts. There’s also nativity scenes to admire, xmas trees, and glass ornaments for the branches, candles, arts and crafts and a lot more seasonal food and drink.
A real tree is traditional although in some families they have been replaced by artificial ones which is a shame as there is nothing that can compare with the scent of pine and the beautiful sight of a tall Fraser Fir. If you do intend to buy a fir then you should have a good look around before parting with your money. If it has been cut down weeks before and then shipped before it reaches the stores you won’t be guaranteed the freshest look or fragrance. Opting to buy fresh Christmas trees straight from a tree farm is an environmentally friendly option and will look beautiful once installed in your home.
When decorating the tree put the lights on first, then you can use the decorations to hide all the wire, start from the base and work your way up to the top. Garlands should be placed next and the ornaments, don’t put all the ornaments on the tips of the branches but add some to the inner depths of the inside of the tree to make it more interesting. Use a combination of colourful baubles spread out to make a stunning sparkly effect. Then if you have special ornaments like glass angels and gifts given by friends or family you can hang these from the outer branches where they can be admired.