viernes, 12 de diciembre de 2014

Christmas traditions: Britain Vs.America

“The main reason Santa is so folly is because he knows where all the bad girls  live”
George Carlin, American Comedian

Christams traditions

By Laurence Brown

As with many cultural differences between the U.K. and the United States, you’d be forgiven for believing that Christmas is the same on either side of the Pond. After all, Christmas is Christmas, right? Well, while the overall message of Yuletide is largely the same in both countries, there are some subtle, if crucial, variations.

The language of Christmas, for instance, is not strictly uniform. Americans will chuckle to themselves (or appear bemused) if you wish them “Happy Christmas” (as opposed to “Merry Christmas”), while the shortening of Christmas to “Chrimbo” is almost universally unknown in the United States. Come to that, so is the name “Father Christmas”; Americans refer to him only as “Santa Claus” or simply “Santa.”

Whatever his name, it is widely held in the U.S. that Santa resides—along with his reindeer, his helpers and, of course Mrs. Claus—in the North Pole. Most Americans would think you’ve had one too many snowballs if you mentioned Lapland.

Actually, snowballs are also largely unheard of in America—at least by name. The closest equivalent stateside to that lovely mixture of Advocaat and lemonade is egg nog, a spiced egg-based drink often mixed with some sort of liquor (usually bourbon, rum or brandy).

Indeed, you might very well enjoy egg nog while sitting down to a good old American Christmas dinner. Except, don’t necessarily expect to eat turkey. Americans reserve that particular food item for Thanksgiving, and often opt for ham or roast beef on Christmas Day. Moreover, traditional Christmas desserts such as Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mince pies are not particularly popular in the U.S. More likely, your post-meal treat will take the form of one of the following: pumpkin pie, marzipan, fruit cake, apple pie, pecan pie, coconut cake or sweet potato pie.

One thing America does have in abundance, though, is lights. The extravagant Christmas decorations you may have seen in films like Home Alone are real, and some homeowners even turn their houses into full-on light shows with Christmas-themed music blasting from a PA system. Driving through American suburbia at Christmas can sometimes feel like a tour of Disney World.

For all of these subtle differences, though, even the most stubborn of British expats would find it hard not to enjoy Christmas—with its multitude of lights and bombast—in America. The key point is that both countries are very good at harnessing the Christmas spirit. After all, Christmas is Christmas, right?

And now… let’s watch an interesting and funny video about it at:

Answer the questions:

  1. Have you ever heard about these Christmas traditions?
  2. How do you celebrate Christmas? Have you ever travelled at Christmas?
  3. Is there any special tradition in your familly?
  4. Is it the best to receive or to give presents? What do you prefer?

Text adapted from:

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