The Rules of Christmas Tea


Let joy or ease, let affluence or content,

And the gay conscience of a life well spent,

Calm every thought, in spirit every grace,

Glow in thy heart and smile upon thy face.


The English year is punctuated by national calendrical holidays: some are mere commas, others are more important semi-colons; the Christmas holiday and New Year’s Eve are the final full stop. The world might have gone mad and the English too socially dis-eased to ignore the Christian significance of these rites. They often talk about Christmas and mean the entire holidays period from the 23rd/24th of December right through to New Year’s Day, and include typically at least some of the following: last minute shopping, panics and squabbles, drinking, tree, marathon cooking and eating of huge Christmas  lunch, uncomfortable night, falling asleep while watching TV, hangover, family ‘outing’ of some sort, escaping family to pub, more over-eating and drinking, working little, achieving little, ‘limbo’ period, big boozy parties, sleeping late and hangover again. Christmas festival might have gone too commercial, and is seen more of a nightmare or an ordeal with all the ‘preparations’, ‘panto’, ‘shopping’, ‘parties’ & ‘cards’.

The good news is that the birthday of Jesus is celebrated throughout Christendom on 25th of December. We set off to explore the charming customs of Christmas past and their miraculous metamorphoses into those, most endearing, close to heart and so familiar modern rites and rituals. Of course, through the prism of the very Englishness of those (or..Germanness).

Mercifully, Christmas remains the one day in which fast food is anathema, and people dine leisurely in the manner of their grandparents and great-grand-parents, with – one hopes – as much happiness as the Cratchit family in Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”.

So, lay the hustle of the season away and come for tea and things to talk, have fun and relax before the celebrations.


  • discussions;
  • debates;
  • and a story-telling or postcard game – all in the flavours of the holiday;
  • not to mention the grumble and the crumble. 


  • Scope: 2 get-togethers;
  • Time: 3 hrs (or as long as we get stuck) from 11:00 to 14:00 pm;
  • Days: December 21 (Sat), January 4 (Sat);
  • Fee: 12,00 BYN (registration fee);
  • Venue: Van Gogh Cafe;

* A certificate of completion is available upon request.