Christmas in old England: a roundup

by Walter Olson on December 13, 2007

Organizers of a pantomime show in Norfolk say they are forbidding the bewigged Dame from throwing sweets out to kids in the audience, a cherished part of the Christmas tradition, lest someone get bonked on the noggin and sue. (“Panto stars banned from throwing sweets into the audience in case children get hit on the head”, Daily Mail, Dec. 6). To avoid an increase in its insurance premiums, a club in the West Midlands has been obliged to fit out Santa’s sleigh with a seat belt (“Health and safety killjoys force Santa to wear a seatbelt in his 5mph sleigh”, Daily Mail, Nov. 29). And: “The ‘snaps’ have had to be removed from more than 650 Christmas crackers being sent to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan because of regulations on the carriage of ‘explosives’. … ‘The troops will just have to go ‘bang’ themselves when they pull them,’” said an official. (“‘Bang’ goes cracker fun for troops”, Daily Telegraph, Dec. 12). Earlier similarly: candles carried in cathedral, workplace decorations, torchlight processions, carolers, puddings, pantomime themes, lighting displays.