Mrs Bennett’s Bulletin Tuesday 5 December 2023

Posted: 5th December 2023

Good morning, Prep School family,


I hope you are all well and enjoying the delightful weather this week. . .yuk! Did you all have a super weekend? I enjoyed seeing friends and family on Saturday and Sunday morning was a day of adult jobs such as the food shopping and putting petrol in my car ready for the week ahead. Sunday afternoon was a lot more fun. We spent time decorating the house, putting up our Christmas tree and making the first batch of mince pies this Christmastime. . .they won’t be the last I make as my dad has already eaten a fair few of them (aka most of them) and Mr Bennett has helped! We put the wreath up on the front door and listen to Michael Buble’s Christmas album on repeat, much to my delight. We had the fires roaring away downstairs and with the fairy lights twinkling, it felt very, very cosy. When I was hanging the last few baubles on the tree, it occurred to me that some people may not know why we have a tree in our houses during Christmas hence the inspiration for this week’s Bulletin! Thank you to CBBC for the below information.


Many people think the tradition of Christmas trees in Britain started with the Victorians. This refers to the time when Queen Victoria was on the throne. Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert were known to be very big fans of Christmas. However, the tradition actually dates back further than that. The idea originally came from Germany, where Prince Albert was actually born, and was introduced to England during the Georgian period, when King George III was on the throne. King George III had a German wife called Charlotte, who it is thought used to decorate a tree for her family in the 1790s. However, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are said to be the ones who made it extremely popular and fashionable to decorate a tree at Christmas like this, which is why a lot of people think that they started the tradition in Britain.

At first, people used to put their trees on tables, as they were smaller. But when it became possible to get bigger trees from Norway, people began to put their trees on the floor, with presents underneath. The reason that fir trees are traditionally used is because they are evergreen, which means they are still bright green with lots of leaves – even during the winter.


Ever since 1947, Norway has donated a tree to London to say thank you for helping them during World War II. A special ceremony is held in Norway in November, when the tree is cut down in the forest in Norway. Then, it comes over to the UK by sea, before being driven to London on a big lorry. It is then put up in Trafalgar Square in London using a special crane. It is decorated in the traditional Norwegian way, with strings of lights going down the tree, rather than criss-crossing it.

Here are some other Christmas tree facts for you!


*The Roman’s liked Christmas trees as well! A long time before Christmas, Romans and other pagans used to celebrate Saturnalia (also in December). Christmas trees were also used to celebrate the earlier pagan version, and they decorated temples with conifers and ate big meals and gave presents underneath them.


*Upside down trees! Another very old tradition – probably dating back to Early Medieval Europe – was to hang Christmas trees upside down. This was just the way things were done back then, and they’d probably think we were strange for doing it the way we do now. In fact, in some places in Eastern Europe they still do this, and the tradition might be coming back into fashion as Ariana Grande did a few years ago.


*Spider webs – In Ukraine, its traditional to decorate your Christmas tree with spider web decorations. It’s not meant to be a scary tradition, but comes from an old folk tale of a spider who helped a poor widow decorate her tree with sparkling webs. In some versions of the story the webs even turn to gold and silver!


*The first electrical lights – Electric Christmas lights were invented in 1882 by the same person who invented the electric lightbulb – Thomas Edison. However, it was his colleague Edward Johnson who first thought to put them on a Christmas Tree. They even decided to show off the blinking red, white and blue lights by putting the tree on a rotating stand! Nobody had even seen anything like it before.


*The average Christmas tree takes 10 years to grow! Of course you can grow your own tree, if you’re up for waiting 10 years, but you can also make your very own one out of something else – like the giant sandcastle tree that residents of Florida make every year or there’s even a gigantic tree made of lobster traps. Christmas is about fun, so you can start whatever new traditions you like.


* Looking for the biggest Christmas tree you can find? That’s easy. Just make your way to DeSoto Parish in Louisiana, USA, home to the tallest Christmas tree not just in the parish, the state or even the nation — but the entire world for 2023!


If you have any more Christmas tree fact, I’d love to hear them!


Quote of the week: ““If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, count your blessings instead of sheep. Then you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.” — Bob Wallace – White Christmas


Well-being tasks for this week: These are all based on Do Good December–Actions to help you be kind and caring.


Tuesday 5 December – Give a gift to someone who is feeling lost or lonely


Wednesday 6 December – Leave a positive message for someone else to find


Thursday 7 December – Give kind comments to as many people as you can today


Friday 8 December – Do something helpful


Saturday 9 December– Notice when you are hard on yourself or others and be kind instead


Sunday 10 December – Listen wholeheartedly to others without judging them


Monday 11 December – Donate an item of food to the local food back


Jokes of the week: 

If you think you can do any better, please send your jokes to me and I can include them in The Bulletin! We are close enough to December now to start on the Christmas jokes!


Why did the scarecrow get a big Christmas bonus? Because he was outstanding in his field!


Elves use what kind of money? Jingle bills.


What happened to the man who stole an Advent Calendar? He got 25 days!


What do they sing at a snowman’s birthday party? Freeze a jolly good fellow!


What did the wise men say after they offered up their gifts of gold and frankincense? Wait, there’s myrrh!


What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite.


Conversation starters:


If you could spend Christmas time with anyone, who would it be and why?


What is your earliest memory surrounding the festive period?


A Christmas treat:


To get us in the Christmas mood and to expand our Christmas general knowledge, the Language Ambassadors at HPP have thought of some questions about Christmas traditions around the world. There will be one question a week for the next five weeks. Please email Ms Kenny with the correct answers to all five questions by the end of term – Wednesday 20 December ( Ms Kenny will then announce the winners when we return to school in January. Good luck!


What strange object do people in Norway hide on Christmas Eve?


5 things that I am grateful for or looking forward to this week:

Can you try this simple exercise in gratitude and positivity?

  1. I am looking forward to Mr Bennett’s birthday celebrations on Saturday
  2. I am looking forward to our bridesmaid’s 18th birthday party on Sunday (how old does this make me feel!)
  3. I am looking forward to Stories Around the Christmas Tree this week
  4. I am grateful for the beautiful snow we woke up to on Sunday
  5. I am grateful for the amazing Prep School team who are making the next week weeks events possible!

Sleeps til Santa: 19 sleeps. . .I am getting so excited!


Have a wonderful week filled with festive fun and happiness,


With much love,


Mrs Bennett



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