Lesson 1- Christmas

January 4, 2016

 

We don’t really know on which day Jesus was born. Historians argue it was likely in the spring, as shepherds were tending their flocks. But in the fourth century a Pope declared December 25th to be the official birthday of Jesus. Why that day? Well, Christianity was newly legal in the Roman empire and the clever Pope figured it would be smart if the biggest Christian festival coincided with the biggest pagan one - Winter solstice.

 

***

For scenes straight out of a box of old-fashioned Christmas cards, we head to England, to the city of Bath. Here, in the heart of the Old Town, near the magnificent medieval abbey, Bath hosts an annual Christmas market. 

 

- Hello.

- Hello. A mulled wine, please.

- Yes.

 

***

Carols are a deeply ingrained part of the English Christmas tradition. The custom goes back to Shakespeare’s day. Today, young and old sing their way through the season. Here the Bath Abbey Choir of boys and men are performing a carol concert by candle light.

 

As is the case just about anywhere, it’s in the countryside that families celebrate Christmas in the most down-to-earth style. My friends, Maddie and Paul and their kids are looking for a living tree which they’ll decorate and then plant at home. 

 

- Are they right size? Yeah… Okay.

- Would you like to have a fairy on top?

- Brilliant. I like it.

 

Decorating with greens goes back to the druids who adorned their temples with swags of evergreen. For pagans living greens in the dead of winter represented the persistence of life, and for Christians evergreens are reminder of the gift of everlasting life. 

 

During this hectic season getting together at big Christmas goodies while the little ones decorate edible ornaments is a fine way for busy mums to enjoy some time together. Maddie’s recipe for mince pies hearkens back to the days of Henry VIII. Back then, the dried fruit, spices and shredded meat for the filling were so expensive that only the wealthy could afford to make a mince pie. According to tradition, twelve pies should be eaten during the twelve days of Christmas to ensure good luck each month of the coming year. 

 

-… don’t forget these mince pies, Maddie. 

 

But it’s the Christmas pudding that’s the real centre piece of a traditional English holiday meal. 

 

Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
And bring some out here…

 

- Can I put this one up here?

- Yeah.

 

Like a lot of us, Maddie and Paul are opting for a simpler, less commercial style of Christmas and that’s reflected in their family traditions. 

 

***

The English tradition of caroling starts very young. We’re visiting Theo’s school as the students take centre stage at the fourteenth century village church for a very special Christmas concert.

 

    Here we go up to Bethlehem, Bethlehem, Bethlehem,

    Here we go up to Bethlehem on a cold and frosty morning.
    Here goes the tax in Bethlehem, Bethlehem, Bethlehem,

    Here goes the tax in Bethlehem on a cold and frosty morning.

 

***

Christmas is drawing near and tonight these lucky kids are taking a train through the woods to meet Santa, or as the English know him, Father Christmas. 

 

- Come on in now, now come on in, and stand just there, and you stand there. You come across there, that’s right, and tell me your names now. What’s your name?

- Dylan. 

- Hello. And what’s your name?

- Kate. 

- And what’s your name? 

- Jack. 

- Oh, well done! Now then, now then most important. What do you want for Christmas?

- I don’t know.

- Just some surprises? I’m very good at surprises. What do you want?

- Well, I haven’t written my list down yet.

- Haven’t you? So, we’re going to wait for your list. And when it comes, I’ll be ready for it. Now, are you going to do something for me? Are you going to leave me something out on Christmas Eve?

- Yes!

- What are you going to leave me? 

- Meat pies and wine!

- Well done! And are you going to leave a carrot for the reindeer?

- Yes.

- Well done! … what was your name, darling?

- Kate.

- Kate. And something…

 

***

Leaving the tranquility of the English countryside behind, London offers Christmas fun fit for a queen and streets twinkling with joy. There’s magic in the air. Or… is that snow? Here, in Trafalgar Square, in the heart of the city, a winter wonderland has been created just for the day. 

 

- It’s a lovely snowy day, isn’t it?

 

Father Christmas has dropped by for the wintery fun and London’s town crier is in fine form as he passes out mince pies and holiday cheer.

 

Nearby, at Somerset house, once a grand palace, the court yard has been transformed into an ice skating rink, elegant enough to make a commoner feel like royalty. 

 

***

At Covent Garden shoppers can find classic Toys for Tots at Benjamin Pollock’s famous toy shop, in business since the 1880s. 

 

The joy and peace of the Christmas season bring both people and countries together. This giant spruce, a gift from the citizens of Oslo, is a reminder of the friendship forged between Britain and Norway during World War

 

*** 

 

SONG Last Christmas

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special

 

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special

 

Once bitten and twice shy
I keep my distance
But you still catch my eye
Tell me baby
Do you recognize me?
Well, it's been a year
It doesn't surprise me


I wrapped it up and sent it
With a note saying "I love you" I meant it
Now I know what a fool I've been
But if you kissed me now
I know you'd fool me again

 

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special

 

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special

 

A crowded room, friends with tired eyes
I'm hiding from you, and your soul of ice
My god I thought you were someone to rely on,
Me? I guess I was a shoulder to cry on

 

A face on a lover with a fire in his heart
A man under cover but you tore me apart
Now I've found a real love
You'll never fool me again

 

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special

 

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special

 

A face on a lover with a fire in his heart
A man under cover but you tore him apart
Maybe next year I'll give it to someone
I'll give it to someone special

 

Xmas Carol

Please reload

Please reload

Brejestovski Language School

+7 495 627 73 95

info@brejestovski.com

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Снимок экрана 2015-10-06 в 11.25.20
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon

© 2007 – 2019 Brejestovski Language School