Christmas is a time of rituals – hanging mistletoe, decorating Christmas trees and eating turkey. It doesn't matter that most of these so-called traditions are neither ancient nor British. We all know that turkeys came from America and that Christmas trees arrived from Germany.
Presumably, historians will one day ponder the significance of our newer rituals. The annual "rush" on cult supermarket delicacies seems very much a feature of our times. As we report today, sell-outs of Heston Blumenthal's Christmas puddings have caused a flurry in the world of Waitrose shoppers, with desperate buyers paying over the odds to pick them up on eBay.
As this phenomenon is only two years old, it is premature to describe as an integral part of Christmas. Time will tell whether the Heston pud war is a true Christmas ritual, or whether it joins such historical curiosities as "ringing the devil's knell" – popular once, now forgotten.
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