To start, I have to tell you that they have a different outlook on the holiday than we do. For one thing, it is Christmas and Boxing Day that are the big holidays over here. Not Christmas Eve and Christmas as in the US. Also, there are not as many people who have festooned their yards with tacky and/or gaudy displays.
I have ridden the streets of the village and few of the houses have external displays at all. Most of the displays that can be seen from the street are actually inside. They are set-up in the peoples lounges or dining rooms and visible through the windows. There are a few garish displays externally, and I'll talk about some of them in the week to come.
There is one other thing that most of the people over here don't quite appreciate. That is the separation of church and state and why the battle seems to wage every year at this time. I tried explaining it to a few people. But the best example I could provide was from the Daily Show on Comedy Central a couple years ago.
In her report Samantha Bee made the following observation. Last year, Bill O'Reilley falsely insinuated that it was timely. In an amazingly nice bit of Sophistry, he introduced this clip this way:
Christmas is here again at Macy's. Predictably, the opponents of public displays of Christmas continue to put forth counterparts on "Secular Central" -- I mean, comedy Central. They said this:
(He then played the following clip.)
SAMANTHA BEE, "THE DAILY SHOW" CORRESPONDENT: Christmas is the only religious holiday that's also a federal holiday. That way, Christians can go to their services and everyone else can stay home and reflect on the true meaning of separation of church and state.
The fact that we have this clash over what everyone has to agree is a religious holiday is extraordinary! They can't get it over here. Seen from across the ocean, I have a bit of a hard time myself.
I hope that wherever you are, you have the ability to enjoy (or not enjoy) the holiday season as you see fit!
Don Bergquist - 18 December 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK