Christmas Day is celebrated in the United Kingdom on December, 25. It traditionally celebrates Jesus Christ’s birth but many aspects of this holiday have pagan origins. Christmas is a time for many people to give and receive gifts and prepare special festive meals. Prior to Christmas Day, people decorate their homes and gardens. These decorations may include: Christmas trees, small colored fairy lights, leaves and berries from holly trees and mistletoe bushes.In many towns and cities, the shopping streets are also decorated with lights and large pine trees, often specially imported from Norway. In some places a Nativity scene is arranged.This illustrates the story of Jesus’ birth using statues or actors and live animals. Many churches hold special services in the night before Christmas Day.
Many people spend Christmas Day with family members, with whom they exchange gifts and cards. Many children wake up to find a sock or stocking filled with small gifts on their bed or somewhere else in the house. These have supposedly been brought by a mythical figure called ‘Father Christmas’ or ‘Santa Claus’, who lives for most of the year at the North Pole. He travels in a sleigh pulled by reindeer and enters houses by climbing down the chimney. He hopes to enjoy a small snack of mince pies and brandy at each house. He supposedly travels so fast that he can deliver presents to all children in one night, although some in some stories elves help him with his work.
Later in the day, people may attend special church services, even if they do not usually go to church. Nearly everyone prepares and eats a special meal. This often includes roast turkey, potatoes and parsnips, and other vegetables. After the main course, Christmas pudding is often eaten. This is a heavy steamed, dense, cake-like pudding filled with dried fruit and nuts. Burning brandy is often poured over it as it is served, giving a spectacular effect. Mince pies are also popular on Christmas Day. They are sweet pastry cases filled with a mixture of dried fruit, fat and alcohol.
Nearly all organizations, except hospitals and shelters for the homeless, are closed on Christmas Day. Some public houses and smaller stores selling food may open for a few hours in the middle of the day. Public transport services do not run to their normal timetables and may even not run at all. Public life closes down almost totally on Christmas Day.