„Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?” – Christmas in the USA
- The beginning of the season.
Roast turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, family dinner… wait a minute… am I getting it all wrong? Instead of Christmas describing Thanksgiving? By all means no! But to talk about Christmas in the USA one needs to start with Thanksgiving. Why? Because the weekend after the last Thursday of November marks the begining of the holiday season. Right after Thanksgiving there is Black Friday and that is when the Americans start doing their shopping for Christmas.
- Christmas decorations.
The upcoming holidays can be heard on the radio – many songs are released especially for this time of the year. Also, shops and markets are filled with Christmas decorations and accessories whereas people talk about their plans on spending Christmas. Houses are richly ornamented with a variety of reindeer, Santa Clauses, angels, snowflakes, gingerbread… There are stockings waiting over the fireplace to be filled with presents by Santa Claus. He will slip into the room down the chimney on the night before Christmas. Of course, there are cookies and milk left for him in case he needs some refreshment which might happen on a night like this 😉 Santa can also count on a carrot for his faithful servant Rudolph, the reindeer.
- Christmas trees.
When talking about Christmas decorations we can’t omit the Christmas tree! The US citizens buy fresh evergreen trees or the plastic ones. They decorate it with Christmas balls, tinsels, lights, angels… and put a star on the top of it. There is also one very famous American Christmas tree situated in Rockefeller Center in New York. Every year many people gather to watch the first lighting up for the season. This year the ceremony took place on 4th December 2019. There is also one more special tree for the Americans. In Washington we can find the National Christmas Tree. On 5th December 2019 it was lit up by the president Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. This tradition has been observed for almost a hundred years!
- Christmas food.
Now, let’s take a look at the Christmas plates! Indeed, food is an important element of Christmas celebrations. Although the beginning of my article may seem very ‘thanksgivingy’, it has to be mentioned that similar (or even the same) food is served on Christmas! Christmas dinner can include roast turkey, ribs, ham, goose, fish, mashed potatoes, pudding, pumpkin or apple pie, gingerbread cookies….and many more. Every American state is famous for a particularly served dish and there is a lot to choose from.
- Christmas traditions.
Just like Poles, Americans send Christmas cards and sing carols. Furthermore, many churches offer concerts with seasonal music, nativity scenes or a special midnight service. People give and receive presents. They unpack the gifts on Christmas morning (25th December) or the evening before. Christmas dinner is served on 25th December and it’s an occasion to spend time with each other, talk, laugh and have a delicious meal.
- Movies for Christmas.
To feel the spirit of Christmas I recommend that you watch some of the holiday classics:
- Friends – The One with Phoebe’s dad (Season 2), The One Where Rachel Quits (Season 3), The One With The Inappropriate Sister (Season 5), The One With The Holiday Armadillo (Season 7) – There is always fun with Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, Joey and Chandler.
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – You will never be bored of Clark Griswold’s family.
- Miracle on 34th Street – Looking for Santa Claus? Here you can find one!
- Home Alone – We’re meeting every Christmas Eve in Poland😉
- How the Grinch stole Christmas – Un ugly creature learns what Christmas really is.
- Music for Christmas.
Do you fancy a mug of hot chocolate or wine on a winter day sipped slowly to the tunes of your favourite Christmas songs? Try listening to these ones:
- Winter Wonderland (melody written in 1934!) – lyrics from this song were used as a title to this article.
- White Christmas (written in 1941!) –listen to Bing Crosby’s version from 1942.
- Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree (1958) – the best-known version was sung by Brenda Lee.
- Let it snow (1945) – many artists sang it, e.g. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1949) – who doesn’t know the story of Rudolph? 😊
- All I want for Christmas is you (1994) –by Mariah Carey is one of the most popular modern Christmas classics.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my article. Stay tuned for more! Merry Christmas!