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Old 11-19-2005, 02:14 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas



THE ROYAL FORUMS' NEWSLETTER – DECEMBER/JANUARY 2005 *

Welcome to the December/January 2005 edition of The Royal Forums’ newsletter.

It is with great pride and joy that we introduce a special forum just for this special time of year: A Royal Holiday. In this forum, you’ll find all things devoted to the holidays, those related to how our favourite royals spend their holidays but also how people around the world and the members of this forum spend this special season, too.

While beautifully decorated trees, piles of presents, and platters of sugary cookies have come to represent/symbolize the season on a superficial level, at the heart of this time of year, whatever your religious or cultural beliefs, is family.

While we all have families of our own offline, at this community of royal watchers and fans, we are a unique family of our own. This year especially has been about including TRF members in the kind of things the TRF Team was typically been responsible for. This year, our members re-designed our banner and our members voted for their favourite, and when our Avatar Galleries experienced a software glitch, instead of viewing it as a problem, the TRF Team made it an opportunity to include our talented members and enable them to create avatars that other members could enjoy and share. And for these monthly newsletters, we’ve asked for feedback on what our members are interested in reading about, and when someone suggested that rather than just profile individuals each month, how about profiling palaces or pieces of jewellery, we took it to heart and included Buckingham Palace in our first palace profile.

I feel very strongly, and I have probably said it at nauseum in previous newsletters, that the TRF Team of Administrators and Super Moderators is also a family of its own. And it has been a personal pleasure to welcome Pdas1201, Danielle, and Warren to our team, as well as GrandDuchess who has been a great co-editor of this newsletter as well as a great spearheader of new ideas. One of GrandDuchess’s ideas was to organize a secret gift exchange between the mods in which anyone who wanted to participate would be given the name of a fellow participant and would buy for them several small gifts. There were just two requirements: One item had to represent your country’s monarchy if you had one and one item should be representative of your country. Everything else was up to you, based on what you knew about your fellow moderator. I personally had a great time putting together a special package for my “Secret Santa,” finding items that I hoped she would enjoy, and it meant as much to me to find the perfect items for this package as it does for me to find the perfect gifts for my own family members—a true testatment to what my co-Administrators and Super Moderators mean to me.

//GrandDuchess & Alexandria

PS. If there is a royal person or residence, or a special piece of jewellery you would like to see covered in a future issue of our newsletter, please let us know here. Our member comments and suggestions are always welcome.


FORUM NOTES

The TRF Team would like to welcome Ysbel to our moderating team! Ysbel will be helping to moderate the British Forums with Elspeth, Warren, and Martine.

Just for the holiday season, A Royal Holiday is a special forum to celebrate the season. Here you can catch up on what festive activities the various royal families are up to this season, review this last year in the royal world, and look forward to 2006.

Please note that our major attachment cleanup continues over the next few weeks, with images which have not been properly posted according to our rules being removed.

There are a lot of members who have not posted in the forum at all this year, as well as some who have been members for over a year but have never posted. The TRF team would like to remind everyone that member accounts which have been inactive for at least a year may be subject to deletion, which will start taking place in the next few weeks.
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Old 11-19-2005, 02:29 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

THE ROYAL CALENDAR


BIRTHDAYS

Princess Aiko of Japan (1 December 2001)
Prince Mikasa of Japan (2 December 1915)
Birthday of Norway’s new Prince (3 December 2005)
King Rama IX of Thailand (5 December 1927)
Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein (6 December 2000)
Pablo Nicolás Urdangarin y Borbón (6 December 2000)
Princess Bhajara Kittiyabha of Thailand (7 December 1978)
Princess Amalia of The Netherlands (7 December 2003)
Crown Princess Masako of Japan (9 December 1963)
Prince Joachim of Belgium (9 December 1991)
Prince Michael Karadjordjevic (15 December 1985)
Archduke Lorenz of Habsburg-Este (16 December 1955)
Princess Akiko of Mikasa (20 December 1981)
Intanta Elena of Spain (20 December 1963)
Emperor Akihito of Japan (23 December 1933)
Queen Silvia of Sweden (23 December 1943)
Princess Vittoria Cristina of Savoy (28 December 2003)
Princess Kako of Japan (29 December 1994)


ANNIVERSARIES

Death of Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands (1 December 2004)
Wedding Anniversary of the Duke and Duchess of Brabant (4 December 1999)
Wedding Anniversary of Prince Bertil and Princess Lilian of Sweden (7 December 1976)
Wedding Anniversary of The Princess Royal and Timothy Laurence (12 December 1992)
Anniversary of the death of Queen Desideria of Sweden and Norway (16 December 1860)
Anniversary of the death of Count Lennart Bernadotte of Wisborg (21 December 2004) (born Prince of Sweden, Duke of Smalandia. Son of Prince Wilhelm of Sweden and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna)


DAYS OF NOTE

Birth of Norway’s new Prince (3 December 2005)
Prince Albert visits the Vatican (5 December 2005)
The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony & Banquet in Stockholm (10 December)
The Nobel Peace Prize Awards in Oslo (10 December)
King Carl XVI Gustaf’s Dinner for the Nobel Laureates (11 December)
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Old 11-19-2005, 02:32 PM
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December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

ROYAL QUICK HITS

Here are a few threads that the TRF Team feel are of note and worth to take a look at

# On December 3, Norway's Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit welcomed a new baby son. Learn more about Norway's new little Prince Sverre Magnus, who is King Harald and Queen Sonja's first grandson here.

# It is Nobel time again, with celebrations taking place in both Norway and Sweden. You can follow the Swedish royal family's participation of this prestigious award here, and in Norway here.

# The holiday season is all about giving, even virtual giving. So tell us what you would give to the royals this season, everything from the frivolous and the mundane to the serious.

# Like many of us, the royals too send holiday card to their family and friends, oftentimes with a nice family portrait. As we look forward to the 2005 cards sent out by the royals, you can view cards of holidays past sent here.

# Looking forward to the coming year, the Danish Lilleprinsen will be christened on January 21. A thread for the baptism is here. You can guess the baby's name or pick the godparents.
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Old 11-19-2005, 02:51 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas



Jingle bells, jingle bells… Santa comes to visit both cottage and palace. In Sweden King Carl Gustaf hides behind the beard, in Denmark Santa has a French accent, in Norway the Santa has not been on duty for some time (in order not to scare the children), in England, Santa has been a no-show for many years. The way they celebrate Christmas varies, but no matter where you turn, it’s a holiday held very dear in the Royal Families of Europe. Here we will give you an insight to how A Royal Christmas is celebrated.

*Your insight to how the Royal Christmases in Europe are celebrated comes to you courtesy of the following members of the TRF Team:

* Denmark - GrandDuchess
* Norway - Norwegianne
* England - Elspeth
* Spain - Anna R
* Sweden - GrandDuchess
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Old 11-19-2005, 02:53 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

A Royal Danish Christmas

Christmas is a dear holiday in the Danish Royal Family, just like for the other Royal Houses of Europe.

The creatively blessed artist Queen Margrethe is very amused in designing the table setting and decorations every year, something that the public could get a glimpse of a few years ago when she opened an exhibition at Royal Copenhagen of Christmas tables with different themes that she had designed.

Unlike some of her majestic colleagues, Queen Margrethe likes to buy all of her Christmas present herself, and spends much time on finding the right ones for each person. In the beginning of December each year, she leaves for one of her family members to rule the country for a few days while she takes off to London together with a Lady-in-Waiting to do her annual Christmas shopping. The Queen surely appreciates the big city and its enormous range of merchandise.

The Danish Royal Christmas is celebrated at Marselisborg Palace in Århus every year, but an exception was made in 1999 when the late Queen Ingrid hosted four generations of her family on both sides (Danish and Greek) of her immediate family for a large family Christmas celebration.

Prince Henrik is said to act as Santa Claus during the Christmas celebrations, but without a beard which is said that he feels unnecessary. The food on the table is a mix of Scandinavian, European and southern European food and traditions. Queen Margrethe’s favourites are foie gras and plum pudding (which she buys during her London trip), and Prince Henrik’s are cheese and vine. The little princes Felix and Nikolai appreciate the rice porridge and the hunt for the almond in it, which the family eats early in the day on Christmas Eve 24 December.

1: Queen Ingrid's large family Christmas 1999, 2: the Christmas Seal "Preparation for Christmas in the Celestial Castle" from 1970 designed by Queen Margrethe, 3 & 4: the Christmas Seal "The Feast of the Hearts" designed by Queen Margrethe for The Danish Christmas Seal Foundation's 100th jubilee in 2003, 5-10: Queen Margrethe's designs for the Royal Copenhagen exhibition in 2003
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Old 11-19-2005, 02:55 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

A Royal Norwegian Christmas

Christmas in Norway is usually a family event, and for the Norwegian royals it is no different. Chiristmas is the holiday when King Harald, Queen Sonja, their children, their children-in-law and their grandchildren join together to celebrate. Royal family guests from outside of Norway has been customary in previous years. Princess Margaretha and Prince Axel and their family spent Christmas with their Norwegian family, but these days the numbers are dwindling and the only foreign guest arriving, will probably be Countess Ruth of Rosenborg, the widow of Count Flemming of Rosenborg. The Christmas celebration usually alternates between taking place at Skaugum, the residence of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, and Kongsseteren, the winter home of the King and Queen.

The holiday season starts with the traditional photo-shoot – who could forget Sonja and Marius playing on the floor just after Haakon and Mette-Marit’s engagement was announced? – either at Kongsseteren, if the Christmas is celebrated there, or at the Palace or Skaugum. The photo-shoot marks the beginning of the Christmas holiday for the royals, and it isn’t until the Christmas service that they are seen again, though Queen Sonja has a tradition of visiting different institutions on “Little” Christmas Eve, AKA. December 23rd.

The family, also take the time to remember those gone before, and visits the royal mausoleum at Akershus Castle to put down flowers in their memory.

The dinner on Christmas Eve is a tribute to the mixed ancestry of the family, and a variety of dishes prove the family’s mixed heritage. It is topped by a dish from Queen Maud’s side of the family: The dessert is a true British Christmas pudding.

Most Norwegian families attend Church on Christmas Eve, but except for Haakon and Marius’ attendance at Christmas Eve midnight service the year before Ingrid Alexandra was born – the Royal family usually attend the Christmas service at Christmas Day. Though, last year, for the first time since King Olav’s death, they attended the service in Asker Church.

With two babies, two toddlers and an almost nine- year-old boy, the Christmas in the Norwegian royal family is definitely set out to be the children’s holiday.

1: The Royal Family in a Christmas photo shoot in 1994, 2-3: Christmas 2001, 4-5: Christmas 2003, 6-8: Christmas 2004
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Old 11-19-2005, 02:57 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

A Royal Swedish Christmas



December is a very busy season for the Swedish Royal Family, not only when it comes to official duties, but also within the more private sphere of the family and out of the public light within the Royal Court.

In the beginning of the month, there are some very hectic days for the members of the Royal Family and the staff of the Royal Court as everyone prepares for year’s biggest official event in Sweden – the Nobel Prize Awarding Ceremony & Banquet.

As the royals are busy with the last fittings for their dresses, coordinating the jewellery, and the office staff coordinating the last important details with The Nobel Foundation – some of the most senior staff of the Royal Court have already been involved in the planning of the Nobel festivities for a long time (over one month).

While preparing for the most prestigious events on 10 December, the royals also have the King’s annual dinner for the Nobel Laureates to think about, an event which is normally scheduled to take place the day after the Nobel Day (the day of the Awarding Ceremony and Banquet on 10 December). The members of the Royal Family need to coordinate dresses and jewellery for this occasion also - and by this time they must have gone through the briefing material for the Laureates of the year in order to have a pleasant experience together with them, as they will dine with these geniuses of our time twice in one week.

When the Nobel Week is over and the Laureates travel home (or sometimes remain in Sweden to visit other places) to where they will no longer be treated as super stars, the over 1 000 guests of the Nobel Banquet has had their experience of the year, the multi million television audience at home in front of their TV’s have had their annual Nobel experience and own little celebration, and the national media have written their articles, published all the pictures and graded this year’s dresses, commented colours and the arrangement – then we can imagine that it’s time for the Royal Family to start to think of the coming family Christmas.

The King and Queen might start to discuss the menu for the annual Christmas luncheon for the staff of the Royal Court together with the kitchen staff, an event usually held just before the Royal Family go on their Christmas break and winter holiday. The one thing that the staff of the Royal Court always looks forward to the most every year, in connection to the dinner, is not the food made by the Palace kitchen – but instead it’s the seating arrangements. Every year, the royals who attend are raffled on where they will sit – which means that anyone in the staff, no matter what position, can end up sitting next to the King or Queen! During the course of the afternoon there are also lotteries for things like baskets of delicatessens or fine wines. Everyone also receives a Christmas gift every year, which is usually a book (the past years often the newest book in the marvellous series on the Royal Palaces) – with a dedication from the Master of the Palace/the King himself.

And then there are the private Christmas and birthday presents to plan for and buy. Queen Silvia celebrates her birthday on 23 December, the day before Sweden celebrates the main day of Christmas, so it must be an even harder nut to crack for the royals than just having to think of the normal Christmas presents. Both the King and Queen like to take a shopping tour in Stockholm before Christmas, and a few eyebrows might be raised when people see them on the go in the city, or up close in a shop. The royal children are used to moving around the city as they live more freely, so we can imagine that they shop for their presents for some time, and not just during one or two occasions. Last December, the King was seen in many antique shops before Christmas, looking for the perfect gift for his Queen.



Christmas is one of the Swedish Royal Family’s favourite holidays, and when it finally stands at the doors after a hectic month, they celebrate in a traditional and calm way. The Royal Family gathers at Drottningholm Palace together with Princess Christina, her husband Tord and their sons, and Princess Lilian comes over from her villa together with her Labrador dog Bingo. We can presume that also present to represent the dogs in the family are the Labrador Jambo, slovensky kopov Zila, and Prince Carl Philip’s rottweiler Gela.

In the day of Christmas Eve, it has earlier been a tradition for the Royal Family to attend a Christmas Service in the Drottningholm Palace Chapel. The Chapel is under care of a local parish, so the local parishioners who come to attend can spot their royals up in the royal box above them. They can however not greet the Royal Family in a more personal way, because they enter through a private entrance, leading directly from the Mineral Cabinet in the private parts of the Palace, to the royal box. Whether the Royal Family still holds on to this tradition is not really know, but during the past years there has been no mention of it in the media.

The Christmas tree stands decorated in all its beauty, and the buffet table features all of the normal ingredients of a Swedish Christmas dinner, and according to Princess Madeleine’s wishes also oysters are included. Queen Silvia has also brought traditions from her two home countries to the Christmas dinner; one is the Weinachtsstolle (a sweet sort of soft bread cut into pieces, which has fruits, raisins and cognac in it, and is powdered on top) and the other is to serve dark black Brazilian coffee with the dessert. A small part of the bible is read, but there is not much singing as there might otherwise be during a Swedish Christmas - except for the snaps songs, which the King and Princess Christina’s husband Tord are very fond of, so those are sung. The strongest tradition of the Swedish Royal Family must be that King Carl Gustaf is Santa for the family every year. It has been said that the Queen tried to stop or pause this tradition a few years ago as the children were grown up, but that Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeleine objected so strongly that the tradition is kept every year. How the procedure is when Santa, or perhaps we should still title him King, comes is not known. But we can only imagine how cosy, or perhaps funny, he looks in the loose beard as he steps in to distribute the gifts on Christmas Eve.

Our visit to the Swedish Royal Family on Christmas Eve ends with how we can imagine the scene in the late evening. A crackling fire spreading warmth in the drawing room as the King, Queen, Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Madeleine, Prince Carl Philip, Princess Lilian, Princess Christina, Tord and their three handsome sons sit in sofas and arm chairs, enjoying a cup of warm glögg and some pieces from the wide assortment of Christmas candy on the dessert table, while fours dogs lay asleep on the floor by the fire. Snowflakes slowly fall outside the windows as the darkness sets around the estate of Drottningholm Palace, but the chandeliers, candles and flames from the fire inside, spread a warm glow through the windows…

When Christmas is over, the Royal Family start their well-deserved winter holiday. In a country like Sweden, where winter sports are very traditional and important, and there is a lot of snow in some parts, skiing is a vital part of the royal holiday. Everyone in the Royal Family enjoys skiing, but perhaps the passion is greatest for the King and Prince Carl Philip, who both have participated in skiing competitions. The destination varies - the King has a cottage in Storlien in Jämtland County which they use for skiing trips, Prince Carl Philip has a home in the deep forests of his duchy Värmland where piece and quiet can be enjoyed, but the popular skiing destination Åre is also a popular place to head for the royal children, whom have been spotted there during the last few years. Sometimes the royals also go abroad to enjoy good skiing, and at those occasions they often go to some of the exclusive winter destinations of Europe, such as Verbier.


1: The Royal Couple and Princess Victoria, celebrating her first Christmas, 2: the Royal Family at Christmas time 1982, 3: the royal children at Christmas time 1982, 4: the royal children at Christmas time 1984, 5: the Royal Family at Christmas time 1987, 6: the Royal Family decorating their Christmas tree in 1992, 7: the Royal Family's millennium celebration, New Year's 1999, 8: the Royal Family's millennium celebration, New Year's 1999, champagne and fireworks at the balcony of the Royal Palace of Stockholm 9: the Nobel Awarding Ceremony on 10 December, 10: the Queen's 60th birthday 2003
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Old 11-19-2005, 02:58 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

A Royal British Christmas

If it's Christmas, it must be Norfolk! The Queen and her family celebrate Christmas and New Year at Sandringham House, her private home in Norfolk. For some years in the 1970s and 1980s, the Queen, as Queen Victoria had done, held her Christmas celebrations at Windsor because the extended family (including all the Gloucester and Kent cousins) had outgrown Sandringham; the Queen and Prince Philip and their children and grandchildren then spent the New Year at Sandringham. Nowadays, the royal Christmas celebration is just for the Queen's immediate family and takes place at Sandringham, where the Queen is resident from around the middle of December to some time in February.

Although British tradition is to open gifts on Christmas Day, the Royal Family adheres to the European tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve; this tradition is thought to have started with the Danish Queen Alexandra, and has been followed ever since. The royal family is well known to not exchange expensive presents; many gifts from one family member to another are bought at country fairs and local shops and are utilitarian rather than luxurious. The Queen used to do her Christmas shopping from a selection of merchandise from Harrods that had been taken to Buckingham Palace for her to choose from. These days she doesn't shop at Harrods, but other shops send merchandise for her to shop from. As well as shopping for family and friends, the Queen buys gifts for members of her staff, who are asked to choose their gifts beforehand from a list priced according to the status of the staff member. The Queen also gives Christmas puddings to her staff; these are not produced in the palace kitchen but bought from a supermarket or grocer.

The Christmas celebrations are rather formal and traditional, and family members are expected to dress accordingly. On Christmas morning, the family attends a service at St Mary Magdalene Church at Sandringham; most of the photos of the royal family at Christmas are taken as they leave the church after the service, so we're familiar with the sight of the royal men in their suits and overcoats and the ladies in their smart coats and hats. The service is followed by Christmas lunch, with turkey and all the traditional accompaniments followed by Christmas pudding. Afternoon tea includes a traditional Christmas cake, a very rich fruit cake iced with marzipan and, appropriately, royal icing. Like most other British families, the royal family pull Christmas crackers, and it's said that all of them put on the paper party hats that are found in the crackers after they've been pulled - all of them except the Queen, that is. A lady who's used to wearing real crowns isn't going to sit at her tea table wearing a paper one, even at Christmas!

In the afternoon of Christmas Day, the Queen's traditional Christmas broadcast to the Commonwealth is aired on the television and radio. This used to be a live broadcast, but these days it's recorded ahead of time and usually includes some footage of significant events that occurred in the royal family during the year. The Queen writes her own Christmas speech without advice from her civil servants or the government. In 2003, the Queen's speech was recorded at Combermere Barracks, Windsor, in appreciation of the armed services during the Iraq war. This was the first Christmas speech to be recorded in its entirety in a location other than one of the Queen's homes - a gesture deeply appreciated by the armed forces and their families.

One rather unusual Christmas tradition is that of the Glastonbury thorn. In British legend, Joseph of Arimathaea visited England after the death of Jesus, bringing with him a staff cut from a thorn tree (sometimes identified as the tree from which Jesus's crown of thorns was made). He planted the staff in the ground near Glastonbury in the west of England (a site also very closely associated with the Arthurian legends, since the Holy Grail of Arthurian legend is believed to be the cup from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper and also brought to England by Joseph of Arimathaea during the same visit), and it rooted in the ground and grew. There are still thorn trees at Glastonbury, which flower at Christmas; they're a variety of hawthorn, and they're believed to be the descendants of that original tree. Every year at Christmas, a sprig of the Glastonbury thorn tree in flower is cut and sent to the Queen.

The day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day in Britain and is also a nationwide holiday. The royal family spend Boxing Day shooting pheasant on the Sandringham estate, in the long-standing tradition of British country families. The shooting continues throughout January; the family leaves Sandringham in February.


1-2: Christmas Day Service 2004, 3: Boxing Day Service 2004, 4: a Christmas pudding, one of the Queen's Christmas gifts to her staff, 5: Sanringham, 6: St Mary Magdalene Church where the Royal Family worship during their stay at Sandringham, 7: the Queen as she delivered her first Christmas broadcast on Christmas Day 1952, after having been Queen for nearly 11 months, 8: the first televised Christmas broadcast 1957, 9: a ballet dancer next to a decorated Christmas tree at Buckingham Palace, 10: Glastonbury Thorn
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Old 11-19-2005, 02:59 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Spanish Christmas

A Royal Spanish Christmas

The Spanish Royal Family celebrates Christmas like any other family in the country: Together. The preparations start in the beginning of December, so that everything is perfect on December 24th, when the whole family comes to Zarzuela for dinner. There's the Christmas tree to be decorated with its multicolored glass balls, the Belén, representing the Nativity scene, the flores de páscua and the gifts.

Christmas for the Borbóns start on December 20th, Infanta Elena's birthday, and the date is celebrated among the Christmassy decorations of la Zarzuela, a preparation for the official event, Christmas Eve, which promises to be even more special this year since it'll be the first Christmas for the two newest additions to the family, Irene Urdangarín and Leonor de Borbón.

After addressing the nation in his annual Christmas speech, the King goes back to the dining room where the whole family is expecting him to supper. Every year, besides their children and grandchildren, the kings share their Christmas supper with Princess Irene of Greece, Queen Sofia’s sister, and with Infantas Pilar and Margarita, the king's sisters, with their families.

The supper consists of typical Christmas dishes: golden almond soup, turkey, sea bream or red cabbage to accompany the lamb. For dessert they have dried figs, dates, pies, polvorones, marzipan and nougat.

On December 25th, before the Infantas got married, the whole family used to attend mass at La Zarzuela chapel before reuniting again to lunch. Nowadays Elena and Cristina together with their families go to the home of the Marichalares and Urdangarines to lunch. Last year the kings had lunch together with the Princes of Asturias and some members of the Princess’ family – her mother and maternal grandparents.

For the New Year, the family usually comes together again, but this time at a different location, the Baqueira Beret ski resort in the Valle de Arán. The Royal family comes in parts, as their schedules let them but, on the 31st they’re all there to enjoy some time together.

At night they come together at a house on the mountains to eat the traditional twelve grapes. The Royal family sits in front of the TV and eats the grapes while watching the clock of Puerta del Sol doing the countdown for the new year. This Spanish tradition came to life at the beginning of the 21st century to end the year with luck.

And as the holidays started with Infanta Elena's birthday party, they end with the King's birthday. The Royal family ends their Christmas celebrations with the Epiphany, known as well as the Fiesta of the Three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior and Baltasar on January 6th.

They come back to Madrid on January 5th, to celebrate the king’s birthday with a concert in the National Auditorium. The Three Wise Men also pass by the palace to leave their gifts to the children.

On January 6th, the Kings and the Princes attend the Military Passover known as “Pascua Militar”, a celebration established by King Carlos III on the 18th century.


Christmas 1963



Christmas 1967



Christmas 1968, Felipe's first Christmas



In this picture: Juan Carlos & Sofia, Constantin & Anne-Marie of Greece, Queen Federika of Greece, Princess Irene of Greece and the children, Elena, Cristina, Felipe, Alexia and Pavlos


Christmas 1969



Christmas 1994



Christmas 1998



Pascua Militar

1997
1999
2001
2002 2002
2003 2003 2003
2005

Many thanks to lula and agm for
providing information and pictures.
Christmas cards the Spanish Royal Family sent along the years
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  #10  
Old 11-19-2005, 03:00 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

A Royal Belgian Christmas

The Belgian Royals celebrate Christmas in a very private way. They are probably go to church on Christmas night or day, but this is a private affair and no pictures are taken. Every year, a week or so before Christmas, there is a Christmas Concert at the palace in Brussels. At this concert, classic Christmas songs are sang. Every year, another choir is invited. Last year, the Schola Cantorum choir from Aalst was invited.

The King also holds a Christmas speech on Christmas eve. This speech is broadcasted on Belgian tv.
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Old 11-19-2005, 04:10 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

A Christmas Holiday Around the World



*An insight to how a Christmas Holiday Around the World can be celebrated comes to you courtesy of the following members of the TRF Team:

* Denmark - Norwegianne
* Norway - Norwegianne
* England - Elspeth
* The Netherlands - Alexandria
* Spain - Anna R
* Sweden - GrandDuchess
* Brazil - Anna R
* Australia - Warren
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Old 11-19-2005, 04:10 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

The Christmas Holiday in Norway

Norwegian children wait anxiously for Christmas Eve, December 24th, because that’s the day that they will get to open their Christmas presents. As it happens, Norwegians celebrate Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day is reserved for the quiet reflections, and enjoying the family and ones gifts.

Most Norwegian families have Christmas trees, decorated with lights, various baubles, a star at the top, and - not forgetting the small Norwegian paper flags that also can be found on many trees. When the tree is decorated, the whole family is usually involved, and a lot of families have the tradition that Christmas tree decorating is done on “Little” Christmas Eve (December 23.) often including a trip to the television set afterwards, to “Dinner for One,” which eptomizes Norwegian Christmas celebration in the following line: Same procedure as every year. The procedure does, however, differ greatly from family to family, and so it is mostly my own experiences I draw on here.


Dinner for One. Image: http://www.spiegel.de

Most children start the day in front of the television set, while their parents prepare Christmas dinner. The East German film, Three nuts for Cinderella, has become a Christmas classic in Norway, as well as the Norwegian film "Journeying to the Christmas Star" (Reisen til Julestjernen)

Princess Gulltopp in Reisen til Julestjernen

image: Europafilm

Norwegians tend to go to Christmas service in church, even those who normally never frequent a church attends, this one time a year. Many have a feeling that it isn’t Christmas until the Church bells have rung at the end of the sevice, welcoming it. The dinner is usually left in the oven to simmer.

After church, it is time for dinner - something the children feel is totally unnecessary and a device planned by adults just to prolong the time they have to wait for presents. Dinner traditions vary greatly all over Norway, from cod and lutefisk to pork, rib or turkey. My parents came from two different schools on what to serve for Christmas dinner, my mother’s family had cod, and my father’s family had pork - so they compromised, and I can’t imagine a Christmas without turkey and waldorf salad.

Norwegian traditional dish - Pinnekjøtt.
image from http://www.gabbas.no


The traditional rice porridge with an almond is served, either as the first course, or as dessert. There are various traditions involved in being the person who gets the almond - some say that the person who finds the almond in his or hers porridge is going to be the first to get married in the family - other families just give out a marzipan pig as a prize to the lucky person.

After dinner, it is time to walk around the Christmas tree, all the family walking in a circle, holding hands and singing traditional Christmas carols and some Christmas songs involving much strange gesturing. Fortunately for the more impatient in the family, the time has come for presents. Some families have “switched” fathers with the neighbours, so that they have a Julenisse (a Santa Claus) coming in to award the presents, others don’t.

Coffee and cake is also a vital part of a Norwegian Christmas traditions - good housewives have to have at least seven kinds of cookies and cakes to serve, if not more. Of course, the fact that the family still are full from dinner, doesn’t matter - the cookies and the cakes will be served regularly through Christmas, and if an extra large batch has been baked... they’ll last until June. (Personal experience.)


http://www.tine.no - Norwegian Christmas cookies and doughnuts.

An old Norwegian tradition is to put out porridge to the fjøsnisser (the elves living on the farm) so that the farm is prosperous for the next year. If the family forgets, then the fjøsnisse will make sure that everything goes wrong. Mischievous creatures they are.


http://www.blomsterbyen.no - Markens in Kristiansand, decorated for Christmas with lights.
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Old 11-19-2005, 04:14 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

The Christmas Holiday in Denmark

In Denmark the Christmas celebration usually start in November, with the release of the traditional Christmas beer on the so-called J-Day, which to foreigners may seem like some sort of crazy religious pilgrimage, but to most Danes it seems perfectly normal. From then until Christmas, the preparations move on with getting Christmas trees, and decorating them, baking and cooking, and having traditional Christmas lunches (seemingly always in the afternoon) with co-workers or fellow students. Christmas in Denmark seems to be a month long celebration, filled with food, drink and lights, in almost every window.

The season is also celebrated with mulled wine, cookies and gatherings of friends and family. There are some courses that are traditional to include; æbleskiver (appleslices) is one of them. Never mind that, apples aren’t part of the doughnut-like creations anymore, they still retain their name.

Christmas itself, is celebrated on December 24th, Christmas Eve. It often starts with a trip to the local church, or by watching the Christmas service on television, before watching Disney’s Christmas Show on television while the food is getting the last preparation. The traditional Christmas meal usually consist of sausage, ham or duck, as the main course, and the ever traditional rice dessert: Rice à l’amande (Sort of a rice pudding with almonds and cherry sauce) for dessert.

Christmas carols and walking around the Christmas tree is traditional to do after the meal, and exchanging presents also comes late in the evening.

After the presents has been exchanged, it is customary to have coffee and cookies, and wait for Christmas night to arrive in Denmark.


(Many thanks to H.M.Margrethe, for helping out)

1: The traditional Danish dish aebleskiver, 2: pebernødder, also very associated with Denmark and the Danish Christmas, 3: Ris à la Mande, 4: Tivoli in Copenhagen during Christmas time
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Old 11-19-2005, 04:15 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

The Christmas Holiday in Sweden



Advent

The Christmas spirit and feeling first comes for many Swedes with the arrival of Advent, which begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Advent means arrival or coming, and of course it is referring to the birth of Christ. Many Swedes enjoys going to church during the time of Advent to enjoy the beautiful candles and well-known psalms being sung, and attending Christmas concerts in churches during the whole holiday season is very common in Sweden.

As the 1st of Advent is on its way, Swedes decorate their homes. The strong tradition of lighting Advent candles comes from Germany, just as many others of the “Swedish” Christmas traditions. A candlestick with one candle for each Advent Sunday (total four) is perhaps the oldest and strongest tradition, and today there are also electric Advent candlesticks to put out in the windows. The Moravian custom of hanging a star in the window is also a common tradition, originally recalling the star that guided the Three Wise Men. An Advent calendar is also a must in most Swedish homes.

Lucia

Lucia Day occurs on 13 December every year in the Swedish almanac. The tradition of Lucia can be traced back to St Lucia of Syracuse, an Italian saint who died a martyr death in 304, and whom is today the patron saint of blindness. Though she is a Catholic saint, the Lutheran Sweden still celebrate her today. The tradition of celebrating Lucia, a celebration of light (from the latin lux = light) has its origin in the catholic times and the old almanac, when the Lucia Night was the longest of the year.

In the old times, Lucia Night was surrounded by mystery, the night was said to be a dangerous one when no one was secure, and supernatural beings were out and all the animals could speak. When the morning came it was time to celebrate in every house. A big Lucia breakfast was put out in the kitchen, and already back then it included the traditional lussebullar (Lucia buns), glögg and Christmas beer. Also were given the finest food the people of the house could afford.

In the 1600- and 1700’s agrarian Sweden, the tradition of celebrating Saint Lucia was carried on, but in a different way. Young people dressed up as Lucia figures and wandered from house to house, singing songs and asking for food or schnapps. In 1764, the first recorded appearance of Lucia as she is celebrated in Sweden today appeared. She was dressed in white and had a white wreath of lights in the hair.

Today Saint Lucia is celebrated as a bearer of light to the dark Swedish winter. Schools, associations, counties and municipalities – all choose their own Saint Lucia for 13 December each year. Many schools and associations also take time to bring Saint Lucia and her followers to people whom may not be able to enjoy the tradition otherwise - like going to local homes for the elderly, hospitals and other places were the people receive the singing Lucia and her followers with joy.

In the early morning of 13 December, Saint Lucia together with her attendants of tomtar (brownies), stjärngossar (star boys) and tärnor (Lucia’s maidens) arrive in a dark room, with the voice of their song growing in volume as they “float” in from an adjacent room. Saint Lucia is dressed in white and with a crown or wreath of lights in the hair, the star boys dressed in white with stars on sticks and tall paper cones on their heads, the maidens dressed in white and carrying a long burning candle in their hands, and the brownies dressed in red costumes, carrying lanterns and baskets of goodies. They gather in front of the waiting people (whether it’s a school class joined by proud parents, a group of patients at a hospital or home for elderly, or a large crowd at the municipality square), lining up in front of them, still singing. They then sing a repertoire of classic Lucia Day songs, and somewhere in the middle of the programme, the brownies go around the audience to distribute the goodies from their baskets. The goodies are most often ginger snaps and lussebullar (saffron flavoured Lucia buns, shaped like curled up cats with raisin eyes), and with that one often drinks glögg or coffee.

In 1927, Stockholm Country chose their first Saint Lucia via a country newspaper. This custom is now widespread and takes place in almost every corner of the country in time for the Lucia Day, where people can often vote for their Lucia of choice via local newspapers or TV stations. The national Swedish Lucia is “crowned” at Skansen in Stockholm every year. The biggest annual Lucia concert takes place in the Globe Arena in Stockholm, a tradition that brings Christmas spirit to the audience and is mentioned at the world’s largest Lucia procession in the Guiness Book of Records. On the morning of Lucia Day, the national TV, Swedish Television (SVT) and the national radio, SR (Swedish Radio) broadcast concerts and music from Lucia celebrations from different parts of the country.

Christmas

The winter half year is the longest season in Sweden. Darkness is the key word to the Swedish winter half year, because as the months go by, the days get shorter and the darkness falls over us earlier. The winter is a cherished season in Sweden, despite the darkness, and Christmas holds on to its position as the country’s most important holiday of the year.

In today’s Sweden, the Christmas season is the most important time of the year for the commerce, and every year a new record of what the Swedes spend during the holidays is broken. Sales campaigns begin in mid-November and Christmas shop windows and street decorations are already in place.

The famous Swedish director Ingmar Bergman’s Oscar-winning film “Fanny and Alexander” pretty much reflects how a Swedish Christmas is to be celebrated, leaving out the tragic parts of course. A bright and lively home, excesses in both this and that, lots of good food, a happy time and also a family occasion to wind down.

Homes are decorated since Advent, including an abundance of flowers – hyacinths, poinsettias and amaryllises are some of the most common kinds. The Christmas tree is often brought in from the cellar or outdoors on 23 December, the main day of the Swedish Christmas. It is bedecked with a variety of decorations, but coloured baubles, tinsel, electric and- candle lights and a star in the top is perhaps the most common ones today when people put such a wide variety of things in it.

On 3 PM on 24 December, Christmas Eve and the main day of the Swedish Christmas, a few million Swedes gather in front of the TV to watch a cavalcade of Disney film scenes – a tradition which has been strong and one of the most important parts of Christmas since the 1960’s. In the afternoon, when the darkness has set over the land and everyone in the house has eaten his or her fill, Santa Claus arrives to wish the gathering a Merry Christmas and distribute the presents. At the end of the evening, when the excitement has calmed and the night lays ahead, it has become a very popular tradition for Swedes to attend a Christmas Mass in their local church.

Christmas is the biggest food holiday in Sweden, so the smorgasbord of food that is brought out for Christmas is a very important detail for a perfect Christmas. On the table, we can find a variety of things, and also some local dishes depending on where in the country you are. But the classics are the Christmas ham, small pork sausages (prinskorv, translates too prince sausages), meatballs, anchovy and potato gratin (Jansson frestelse, translates too Jansson’s temptation), an egg and anchovy mixture (gubbröra), herring salad, pickled herring, home-made liver patty, wort- flavoured rye bread (vörtbröd), potatoes and a special fish dish, lutfisk. The ham is first baked in the oven, painted and glazed with a mixture of egg, breadcrumbs and mustard. A wide assortment of special Christmas candy, nuts and dried fruits are also a must, as is glögg, julmust, a special Christmas soft drink, and Christmas beer.

On 13 January, called Tjugondedag Jul (Twenty Days Christmas) or Tjugondag Knut (Twenty Days Christmas) Christmas is over in Sweden. On this day, many schools, associations, families and some municipalities organise a Christmas tree plundering. Children and adults dance ring dances and do ring games together around a Christmas tree, lotteries are held and everyone laughs and enjoys a good time together. A lot of sweets are also on the offer, the Christmas tree is plundered from sweets and decorations - and at the end of the party – it is thrown out of the house.

The holiday break over Christmas and the New Year is quite long, usually extending one or two weeks into January.

Whatever one thinks of the season and Christmas, it has always been and will always be a holiday strongly connected with scents. Whether it is the scent of saffron from baking Lucia buns, or the very familiar one from baking ginger snaps, or perhaps the scent of a newly cut Christmas tree being carried into the house, or maybe just a cup of glögg – these strong characteristic scents from around Christmas is something we carry with us through the years, from the early days of childhood until our older days. Sometimes it’s just fragments of scents, sometimes it’s sharp scent-memories that we remember with our noses and carry with us throughout life.


1: An Advent calendar (one door/window per day is opened in December), 2: Advent candles, one for each Advent Sunday, 3: an Advent star for the window, 4: Lucia celebration, 5: Lucia, painting by Carl Larsson in 1908, 6: Lucia buns with saffron, 7: a Christmas buffet, 8: a Christmas ham, 9: ginger snap
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Old 11-19-2005, 04:16 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

The Christmas Holiday in the United Kingdom

It starts earlier every year. Christmas decorations appear in the shops by September these days, and hotels and restaurants are advertising their Christmas specials while most of us have barely got over the summer. Christmas music can be heard in shops for months before Christmas. Despite the early start by the shops and hotels, the British Christmas celebration, unlike European countries with St Nicholas Day and Lucia Day, focusses on late December. Many churches continue the tradition of lighting advent candles for the four Sundays before Christmas, but for most people the Christmas celebration doesn't start until Christmas Eve.

Although Britain is an increasingly multicultural and secular nation, midnight church services on Christmas Even and the traditional services on Christmas Day are usually well attended. Many schools also stage Nativity plays and carol services just before the autumn term ends for the Christmas holiday. During the weeks before Christmas, it isn't unusual for groups of carollers to go from house to house in the evenings singing Christmas carols and collecting money for charity. Shops will be decorated for Christmas, and the main shopping streets in London (Oxford Street and Regent Street) are festooned with Christmas lights througout December. In many other cities, the main shopping areas are also illuminated for the Christmas shopping season. In Trafalgar Square there's a huge Christmas tree, an annual gift from the people of Norway. The theatres often have Christmas-themed productions; the pantomime (which, despite its name, is most certainly not silet!) is the traditional family Christmas entertainment, and ballet companies throughout the country stage their versions of The Nutcracker.

Traditional Christmas decorations include an evergreen tree, either real or artificial, decorated with lights and shiny glass ornaments. Christmas presents are piled under the tree ready to be opened on Christmas Day. These days, increasing numbers of families are following the American tradition and lighting up the outside of their homes as well as decorating the inside. Reaching back to our pre-Christian past, it's traditional to decorate homes with evergreens like holly, ivy, mistletoe, and pine and fir. The yule log, a pre-Christian Scandinavian tradition, is commomorated in the form of a log-shaped chocolate cake rather than an actual log.

Apart from the midnight church service, there's no traditional Christmas Even activity. All the real Christmas traditions are for Christmas Day, including opening presents, eating a Christmas lunch consisting of turkey with stuffing, potatoes, and vegetables, followed by Christmas pudding, one of the richest desserts ever invented! For the intrepid few who are still able to face food later in the day, teatime includes a traditional iced Christmas cake, made from a similar recipe to Christmas pudding but baked rather than boiled, and mince pies, which are filled with a mixture of preserved fruit and spices, not meat (although meat did figure in the original recipe hundreds of years ago, hence the name). There are Christmas crackers to be pulled; each cracker contains a paper hat or crown, a little motto, and a small gift, usually a cheap little plastic model of something.

The day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day. This name has various origins depending on which authority you consult, but nowadays it's a holiday just like Christmas, where most businesses, banks, and government offices are closed. Many of the larger shops are open on Boxing Day, which marks the start of the after-Christmas sale; in some shops this sale can be quite a contact sport, with people queuing for hours before the shops open and then rushing to grab the best bargains before anybody else gets to them.

The Christmas season officially ends on Twelfth Night, which, depending on how you count it, is either the 5th or 6th of January. That's the day by which all Christmas decorations and cards should be taken down, and life returns to normal. It coincides with the Christian feast of the Epiphany, the day when, traditionally, the three wise men reached Jesus's birthplace.


1: A chocolate yule log, 2: a choir singing Christmas songs, 3: Christmas crackers, 4: a Christmas pudding, 5: Oxford Street in full Christmas décor, 6: mince pies, 7: Victorian Christmas in Osborne House, 8: Christmas cake
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Old 11-19-2005, 04:18 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

The Christmas Holiday in Australia

Long days, temperatures in the 30s (close to 100 degrees for our US friends), summer in full swing, clear blue skies, blazing sun, hot and humid. Perfect beach weather. However, it's Christmas Day, and we do things the way they have always been done. Since most Australians descend from European stock our Christmas imagery is Northern European: snow, holly, big fat Santa in red suit and beard, sleighs, sleighbells, reindeer and snowmen. Most Australian children would never have seen snow, let alone experienced it, and certainly not at Christmas.

Christmas dinner is actually Christmas Lunch: hot roasts (chicken or turkey), baked potatoes, gravy, all the trimmings, followed by rich hot Christmas pudding dripping in hot custard. Could it get any hotter? By this time we are sweltering. Everyone dressed in shorts, singlets, summer clothes. Fans and air conditioners running at full blast, while we force ourselves to enjoy our heavy winter meal at the height of summer. Why do we do it? It's traditional, it's what our parents have always done, and it's very hard to get them to change, even if we wanted to.

The British backpackers have got it right. They flock to Bondi Beach in their thousands where they have a spontaneous party in swimwear, but wearing Santa hats to remind us all it is Christmas in Australia.
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Old 11-19-2005, 04:19 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

The Christmas Holiday in The Netherlands

Holidays are about family and friends getting together and enjoying each other’s company. The holidays are a particularly special time for children.

All Dutch children—especially the good ones—eagerly anticipate the arrival of December 5, Saint Nicholas Day. On this day, Sinterklaas—the Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus—visits and brings with him savoury treats such as candy, chocolate, and cookies for the good boys and girls.

Traditionally, children would leave out their wooden shoes near the fireplace and sing special songs the night before in hopes that by the time they woke up, they would be filled with sweets or a small gift. A traditional treat is a dark or milk chocolate letter in the shape of the child’s first initial. Sinterklaas, who is fitted in jolly red Bishop’s robes, brings other treats such as nuts or small toys.

December 6 is the day of Sinterklaas's departure. But he presents more presents before he leaves. This day is known as pakjesavond -- night of the packages. For those bad boys and girls, Sinterklaas leaves them with a bag of salt or are sometimes told that they will be put in the back of Sinterklaas's sack and taken back to Spain with him.

On the morning of Saint Nicholas Day, the children might play a game of hide and seek, where they find more treats and small gifts in the cupboards and nooks and crannies of their homes.

Older family members sometimes may make a papier marche shape that contains a present in it with a funny poem which is presented to others.

During the holiday season, the Dutch people make warm wishes such as “Zalig Kerstfeest” and “Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar” to each other.

Homes are decorated simply, with evergreen and holly, while holiday trees are decorated with candles, glass ornaments, beads, angel hair (more commonly known as tinsel), and snowflakes.

While Saint Nicholas Day traditions are the most widely celebrated in the Netherlands, Western celebrations, which take place on December 24 (Christmas Eve) and December 25 (Christmas Day), are becoming more common and popular.

Late-night church services are held usually around 10 p.m. on December 24. Christmas Day itself brings a decadent breakfast with “kerststol” (a fruit and almond-paste bread), “krentebolletjes” (current buns), and “roomboter” (real butter). A traditional dinner feast might game of some kind or a roast pork.

December 26 is considered a Second Christmas Day, which is spent visiting family and friends.


(With thanks to Marengo for help in clarifying and fact checking points)
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Old 11-19-2005, 04:20 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

The Christmas Holiday in Brazil

For Brazilians', Christmas is a celebration that start in the morning of December 24th and goes all the way thorugh the night of the 25th. The children eagerly expect the midnight on the 24th to open their presents that were brought by Santa Claus (Papai Noel).

But, for the adults, the celebration start much sooner, in November - sometimes earlier - the cities start to fill with colour and glitter. The highlight of the Brazilians' Christmas are the decorations which spread themselves accross the cities, charming the people and the tourists. One of the most famous decorations is the Christmas the tree that decorates Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas in Rio de Janeiro, known as the biggest in the world. It's lit a month before Christmas and it extinguishes on January 6th, when all Brazilians take out their decorations.

Christmas is indeed a great occasion for the Brazilian people, despite the fact that it happens during the summer (as it does with all of the South Hemisphere countries). Children are already out of school for their summer vacation and the temperatures couldn't be hotter, but, as our European roots tell (we have influences of Portugueses, Spaniards, French, Dutch, Germans), we celebrate Christmas the European way - with some adjustments, of course.

Everytime I watch a movie or a TV show that portrays the Thanksgiving Holiday for the Americans, I can't help but think that it is highly similar to our Christmas. Lots (and I mean it when I say lots) of food and the family reunited.

In the morning of the 24th, women go to the kitchen while men go out to run errands, they roast the turkey, bake the pies, prepare the codfish (which is a very traditional dish at Christmas, Portuguese heritage) and put the drinks in the fridge. As the kitchen is occupied with dinner, lunch on Christmas Eve is usually light to save space for the big meal that comes later.

Nowadays, most families adopted the secret santa as a way to save money. With the growing families, the Christmas budget was not enough to give presents to all the family members, so they now do a draw and buy just one gift (children are excluded from this game).
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Old 11-19-2005, 04:21 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

The Christmas Holiday in Belgium

In Belgium, Christmas is a real holiday to be with family. The celebrations start on Christmas Eve. The Christmas tree is decorated and there is a warm atmosphere in the house. We start the evening by drinking something and opening our presents. The present are all under the Christmas tree. The children also get gifts on December 6. December 6 is the day of ‘Sinterklaas’ or ‘Saint Nicolas’ in French. Sinterklaas lives in Spain most of the year, but every year in November, he comes to Belgium in his steamboat. He has a helper ‘Zwarte Piet’ (Black Peter) and a white horse ‘Slechtweervandaag’ (Bad Weather Today). Sinterklaas only brings gifts if the children have been good all year. He has a bid red book in which he writes when the children are bad. He can see everything! On December 5, the children place their shoe in the living room with a glass of milk (for Zwarte Piet), some cookies ( for Sinterklaas), a carrot and some sucker (for Slechtweervandaag). The next day, their shoe is filled with chocolate, speculaas (a sort of cookie), marzipan and of course: toys!!!

After unwrapping the gifts on Christmas Eve, the whole family sits around the nicely decorated table and start eating. In Belgium, there is not a special dish for Christmas. Some people eat seafood, some eat turkey…After the main dish it is time for the dessert! Most people eat a cake or ice cream, these cakes and ice cream are specially made by the bakery.

On midnight, people go to church for the Midnight mass.

On Christmas day, there is again a dinner with family and people just enjoy being together.
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Old 11-19-2005, 04:27 PM
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Arrow December/January 2005 Newsletter: A Royal Christmas

Christmas Recipes from Around the World




Æbleskiver (Norway)

You need a special monk's pan to make them properly.

8.5 fluid oz (1/4 liter) milk, 7 oz (200 grams) wheat flour, 3 eggs, 1 oz (25 grams) sugar, 3/4 oz (20 grams) yeast, 3 1/2 oz (100 grams) margarine, vanilla, shredded peel and juice of 1/2 lemon.

Stir eggs and sugar together. Mix yeast into warm milk and add to mixture. Finally, add the flour, melted margarine, vanilla and lemon.

Allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes and then cook at a moderate heat for approximately 5 to 6 minutes or until brown and cooked through.




Christmas cake (United Kingdom)

Click here for a recipe.



Mince pies (United Kingdom)

Click here for a recipe. The clotted cream (which isn't easy to get in many countries) is optional.

In case anybody thinks mincemeat contains meat, the recipe is here.



Christmas pudding (United Kingdom)

Click here for a recipe. Most people buy ready-made Christmas puddings these days, but some intrepid souls still make their own.




Ice chocolate (Sweden)

75 gram (3 ounces) coconut butter
125 gram (4 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (broken into pieces)

Put the fat in a bowl together with the chocolate pieces. Place that bowl on top of a pan with boiling water until the fat and the chocolate is melted. Scoop the liquid in chocolate cups. Let solidify in a cool place. Put in suitable tin. Should be kept in the fridge.
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