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World Advent Calendar

by Mandy Barrow

Christmas Jokes | British Christmas | London Topic | Project Britain | Homework Help

homeDay 17


What decoration is usually put on the top of Christmas trees in the United States?

















An angel or a star!

In America, they put an angel or a star at the top of their Christmas tree, just like we do in the UK.

In the USA, they celebrate Christmas very similar to how we celebrate it in Britain, and they also have some other special ways too!

Saint Joseph School,York in the USA emailed us to say:
"There is a tradition here of hiding a PICKLE (green) ornament somewhere on the Christmas tree. Kids and grownups try to find the hidden "treasure" The first one to find it gets to open the first Christmas gift. "

Since the United States is a very big country, some people will be celebrating Christmas Day in the snow whilst other people will be exchanging gifts on a sunny beach.

Erin Ashe from Tulsa, Oklahoma, left a message to say:
My family always has a spider ornament on the christmas tree. There is a story about the spider spinning the silvery tinsel on the tree. We also have a pickle ornament. Whoever seeks the pickle first...get's a special gift. It's fun for the children.

They call Father Christmas, Santa Claus. The name Santa Claus originally came from the Dutch name for St Nicholas - Sinterklaas . The Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam (New York) brought the tradition of St Nicholas /Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) to America.

Mary Harshall emailed us to say:
"We always set out cookies and milk for Santa and of course a carrot or two for his reindeer. This had do be done before we could go to bed."

'Twas the Night Before Christmas


In anticipation of Santa's visit, American children listen to their parents read "The Night Before Christmas" before they go to bed on Christmas Eve. Clement Moore wrote the poem in 1823.


Jenn, @ Frugal Upstate, memory of listening to the story.

"When I was growing up, my Dad (Grandpa Bones) read us “Twas the Night Before Christmas" every Christmas Eve before bed. He actually had a maroon smoking jacket that he would put on just for the reading. (I’m not really sure how that started-we did it every year that I actually have a memory. It was probably either a B or C). We actually wore the first book out and had to buy another one. I think the second one was a pop up.

As we got older, Dad would read it through, then we’d each take a turn reading, but in some silly way, like really fast, or with an accent, or backwards. When we got even older I seem to remember having a glass of wine or eggnog with rum with it."

North Pole, New York.

In New York, a small town called the North Pole was designed for Santa Claus. There is a post office, a church and even a blacksmith shop to repair the shoes of the reindeer.

Mary Harshall also told us:
"I live near Glen Rock, PA and there many people gather in the square to hear the GLENROCK carolers. This is a group of men, dressed in very traditional clothes, who perform traditional songs on the square and then travel all around the city on foot singing and being welcomed with food and beverage into the homes of the local residents."

Rockefeller Center Christmas TreeThey have a giant Christmas tree in New York City's Rockefeller Center. The tree, usually a Norway spruce 75 to 90 feet (23 to 27 m) tall, has been put up since 1931.

The tree lighting ceremony takes place every December or late-November.

Millions of New Yorkers and tourists come to see the tree while many get to ice skate on the rink below.

The Clarke family from Rochester New York, emailed us to say:
"We put photos of our family on the tree... my three oldest cannot come home this year so it is extra important for us to see their faces from the many Christmas' past."

In New Orleans, a huge ox is paraded around the streets decorated with holly and with ribbons tied to its horns.

Virginia from Texas USA, emailed us to say:
"One of our dearest traditions is reading the Christmas story from the Holy Bible, Luke chapter 2. We do this before any presents are opened on Christmas morning. This is in remembrance of the true meaning of Christmas."

Merry Christmas from Vermont, USA.
"We have snow; the ski areas are opened. I'll be attending a candlelight Christmas service on Christmas Eve. I have Irish ancestors; we put Christmas crackers in our stockings and open at the luncheon table."
Granny Newman

From the Avery family in Lititz, PA
We have many traditions but the one that is most important is remembering that our Savior Jesus was born for us.  We read selections from the Bible every Sunday leading up to Christmas (Advent) and light candles and pray and sing songs.  On Christmas Eve, we go to church for a Christmas service at night.  We visit family after the service, and have a big meal on Christmas day with family. 

Amber M, California, USA

"In my family, on Christmas Eve, we go to church, and then we come back home and the whole family gets together. We eat and then we sit around the Christmas tree and read the Christmas story from the Bible. Then we exchange gifts. On Christmas morning, we exchange more gifts and spend the entire day with family, eating a ton of food. We also play card games and tell jokes. Some of my students do similar things. Because we are in the southern part of the United States, our weather varies. Sometimes it is warm and we go outside, and sometimes it is cold and rainy. We are also very close to Mexico, so we eat some of the traditional dishes that they do. One of our favorite foods for the holidays is tamales and carne asada."

8 days till Christmas!

I keep having dreams about Father Christmas and his reindeers.

I wonder what reindeers eat?

Ho! Ho! Father Christmas.

I can't wait for you to visit!

Click here to find out about reindeers

UK flagThe UK flag is one of the hardest flags to draw. Did you know it is made up of three different flags? You can find out about the UK flag (Union Flag) on the following page:

Our school is in England, which is part of the Britain, Great Britain and the UK

Do you know the difference? Click here

Advent Calendar

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Facts and information about LondonBritish Royal FamilyVirtual Tour of the Thames

Special facts and information about each month of the yearInformation on Britain and the UK for Kids of all agesBritish History

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Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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