Barometer

The many political crises that have interrupted Christmas

15 December 2018

9:00 AM

15 December 2018

9:00 AM

Crisis at Christmas

MPs were warned that they might have to give up part of their holidays to deal with Brexit. Here are some other political crises from Christmases past:
1066 William I was crowned on 25 December. Trouble was expected from the English so the streets of Westminster were lined two deep with soldiers. The service was interrupted by a boisterous crowd and houses near the abbey were set alight.
1974 Embarrassment for Harold Wilson on Christmas Eve — his former postmaster general John Stonehouse turned up in Australia, having faked his own death.
1989 Deposed Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena had their festive season curtailed by a brief trial, after which they were shot.
1998 More Christmas Eve woe for Labour when trade secretary Peter Mandelson had to resign over a loan he had taken out from his colleague Geoffrey Robinson.

Mass invasion

How many extra worshippers turn up to church at Christmas?
2.6 million people attended a Church of England service in 2016, with 34% of them taking communion.
2.5 million attended a Church of England service during Advent.
2.8 million attended a special service for a school or other civic organisation.
760,000 was the average Sunday attendance at C of E services in 2016.
Source: Church of England

Out of office


Does anyone enjoy their office Christmas party? In 2015 a survey by an employment agency found that:
67.7% of employees had such a party.
25% of them said it was all-expenses paid and 14% said it was subsidised.
21% of women but only 16% of men said it was their work highlight of the year.
54% said they did not look forward to it.

Fowl name

Why do we call turkeys turkeys?
— It is a native bird of Mexico but Europeans thought it resembled fowl sold by Turkish traders.
— Yorkshire tradesman William Strickland, brought the first turkeys to Britain. He bought them from Indian traders and sold them on Bristol market for tuppence each.
— By the 18th century they were being bred in Norfolk and were marched to market in London.
— Turkey was popularised as a Christmas dish by Edward VII, who served it in preference to the then-traditional peacock.

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