The festive holiday season is associated with many things, and because the Faultys are in full swing touring the UK and Australia with their Christmas Dining Experience, we thought it’d be fun to look at the different traditions in these cold weather/hot weather climates – the common thread, of course, being that it’s a uniting time for families to come together for days full of eating, laughing, and making memories.
For me (an American living in London), this is a time for hot chocolate and bonfires, for the Aussies it’s beach, barbeque and swim trunks, and for the Brits it’s Christmas carols and indoor parties and party games. For everyone though, it seems to be a time for family, hanging decorations, extra special seasonal food, helping others, and hearing seasonal songs blasting on continuous loop from every speaker in the area.
Traditions and customs… that’s what it’s all about. And everyone seems to have at least one beloved custom. Since hopping across the pond, it’s been a blast listening to different accounts from colleagues.
Hats are a big feature! – specifically Santa hats and beanies. The latter to preserve body heat in the northern hemisphere winter, and the iconic red headpieces and paper crowns a cheeky accessory everywhere. In Australia, it’s a common sight to see surfers in full Kris Kringle gear catching a wave (what a thrill that must be!). If you want a glimpse of the ideal Australian holiday, then ping over to YouTube to hear Summer Wonderland by Ronan Keating. It’s a cute view of the season that changes the words of Winter Wonderland to better fit the climate. While the Aussies are catching a tan Down Under, UK temperatures drop and residents dream of a while Christmas while craving warmth, warm coats and hot chocolate.
Monique Lewis Reynolds, one of the company’s actors based in Sydney, shared her traditions by saying: “Well, it all starts with an early wakeup call when you have a kid in the house, no matter how old they are! 6am usually is when the kettle is on for a cup of tea with mum, dad, nanny and pop. Fruit loaf in the toaster gets us through the busy morning until lunch. The next two hours around the lit Christmas tree are a sea of presents, discarded wrapping paper and ribbon. Around 1pm we start our traditional holiday lunch, which although must be always hot, strangely starts with a cold prawn cocktail for the ‘normal’ people and mini veggie spring rolls for the vegetarians and fussy bums! By the time everyone makes a move to head home we are all exhausted from a super full day and we are already planning a recovery day at the beach for tomorrow!”
Alex McCombie, ITI’s Creative Traffic Coordinator, is based on a different coast, in Brighton. She gives insight into her UK holiday traditions, which are slightly different to ‘the norm’ – but then again, she is creative! “My husband, daughter and I wake up and put Christmas music on as we get coffee and breakfast nibbles. We sit around the tree in our PJs opening our presents and playing with my daughter’s new toys. Then we go for a dog walk on the beach and get ready to meet with the rest of my family. Late morning, we have hors d’oeuvres and breakfast bubbles at my sisters, then go to an Indian restaurant for our alternative Yuletide dinner, then back to my house for a good old knees-up… dancing, singing, dressing up and party games. We always do something creative and cheap with our gifts; this year we’re buying charity shop ornaments and pimping them into the person we have for our secret Santa – so, for example, my dad as a Victorian gentleman clutching a bottle of red wine, with a Mohican and guitar!”
My season traditions look slightly similar and different from the ones above. In Alabama you never know what kind of weather you are going to get. There have been some holidays where I sweat all day and others where I’ve been bundled up in layers. No matter the temperature, certain things never change: the morning starts with my sister and I waking up early to bolt downstairs and drag our parents out of bed yelling “We’re awake! It’s Christmas! Get up!”. We then spend the next two hours drinking coffee and opening gifts and stockings while watching The Christmas Story (best holiday movie in my opinion). Around 11am the family hops in the car and drives over to my aunt’s for lunch where the day is spent eating in fellowship with 20 family members: tenderloin is devoured along with mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon, salad, and roulage (basically a fancy Swiss cake roll) for dessert. When the food coma starts to set in, everyone piles on the sofa to settle down for a funny movie that usually turns into a marathon. By the time the sun has set our gaze is set for home where we collapse on the couch immediately upon arrival.
A Festive Fun Dining Experience
As this blog goes live, there are just over five weeks until Christmas and stores are preparing for the madness to come. And while seasonal traditions and weather may differ around the globe, having fun with family and friends is high on the agenda.
Faulty Towers The Dining Experience is touring constantly around the UK and Australia at this time, so there are heaps of places to party – and at the show’s London residency, there’s even a special week added with extra trimmings 18-22 December. Meanwhile, in Australia, there are special Christmas Dining Experiences in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.
Whether you book private parties or join others…
Merry Christmas everybody!