Wales is one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Hence, the Christmas celebrations here are in adherence to the British observation of the festival. Christmas Day is celebrated here annually on December 25.
In the days leading to Christmas, a small tree is beautifully decorated with colourful lights and trinkets and set up in every Welsh household. Paper decorations of various colours and lovely flowers (such as mistletoe and holly) are used to adorn the interiors of houses. Mistletoe is believed to protect the home from evil and holly stands as a symbol of eternal life.
"Eisteddfodde" or Caroling is the most pleasurable activity of the Welsh Christmas. The Welsh are great lovers of music and every year they throng to local churches in large numbers to sing carols during Christmastime. These are sung often to the accompaniment of a harp. Caroling is also done in individual homes around the Christmas tree. In many places, groups of people set out at dawn on Christmas morning, going from house to house and caroling before the doors and windows of the houses they visit. Families wake from sleep and traditionally ask them in for refreshments.
Every year, new carols are submitted by thousands of enthusiastic carolers in the hope that their composition may be included in the list of popular carols already known and sung in Wales. During Christmas, many people gather in the public square for the announcement of the lucky one who would win the annual prize for submitting the best music for a new carol, and the formal pronouncement of it as the carol of the year.
On Christmas Day, people in many parts of Wales wake up very early to attend a special church service known as "Plygain" (daybreak), that is held between 3am. and 6am. Men gather in local churches to sing(mainly unaccompanied) three or four part harmony carols in a service that goes on for nearly three hours. These days, the custom is seen to be practiced mainly in the rural areas. The service over, feasting and drinking begins and continues for the entire day. Gifts are exchanged later during the day. The Christmas meal traditionally consists of roasted turkey with different vegetables, followed by a delicious pudding.