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The Signature Gift

Watching Doctor Who yesterday, I learned that Santa considers the tangerine to be his signature gift.

When I was a child, I'm pretty sure that Father Christmas (not Santa) brought a satsuma, not a tangerine.   I love satsumas.  I buy bags and bags of them when they are in season, and eat them until I start feeling really quite orange.  It's surprising, but sort of charming too,  that in an era when you can buy all sorts of fruit out of season all year round, the Season of the Satsuma is so short.

What I think of as a satsuma is Citrus Unshiu and although that Wikipedia entry doesn't mention it, I'm sure I've read an article saying that this particular fruit is disproportionately popular here in Britain, where we like the sweetness and the ease of peeling, and have less stern and demanding tastebuds than other nations who apparently are more likely to prefer more subtle and less sugary citruses. So, we give them at Christmas: hence the 'Christmas orange' name.

What I think of (and I *think* generally what greengrocers and supermarkets sell as tangerines, is Citrus Tangerina - a pleasant enough fruit, but not quite so easy to peel, and the skin has a different texture and flavour (I like the skins too!)

Poll #1993464 Citrus

Santa or Father Christmas?

Father Christmas
Someone else

The really vital question: Satsuma or Tangerine???


Incidentally, I just learned from that Wiki article that a mature satsuma tree is hardy down to -9C.  -9!  It NEVER goes to -9 here.  I wonder how much frost protection they need before they get big....? 


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
26th Dec, 2014 13:12 (UTC)
In my family (and my part of the world) it's the Christkind (Christ child) who brings the presents, or maybe Saint Nikolaus.

Satsumas are also less preferred: my clan swears by clementines.

Personally I like satsumas, too. Too much time in the UK?
26th Dec, 2014 13:23 (UTC)
Ooh, I didn't know that the Christchild delivered presents! Saint Nikolaus I had encountered.

I can see the flavour argument for clementines, but the risk of biting down on an ick!-flavoured seed is so much higher!
26th Dec, 2014 14:54 (UTC)
Although we were intermittently blessed as children to find a Chocolate Orange in the stocking when we woke up.
26th Dec, 2014 23:24 (UTC)
I have a horrible feeling that on one occasion, my Mum tried that, and foul Small Bunn threw a tantrum because it wasn't a REAL satsuma :-DDDD

What a repulsive child I was. :-D
26th Dec, 2014 15:05 (UTC)
Growing up in the US, I only really knew Santa Claus. I would have encountered Father Christmas in one of those children's books I found so alluring -- set in Britain or elsewhere in Europe, probably in the (to me, at least) romantic past. I do have an ornament from my uncle's childhood in the early 1920s that depicts Santa as thin, wearing robes, and looking quite solemn. This is how I think of Father Christmas.

As to the satsuma question, I only encountered the word fifteen years ago or so when I bought a satsuma-scented body wash from the Body Shop. For years afterward I thought "satsuma" was a word from an Eastern language having to do with, I don't know, relaxation and enlightenment. I am ridiculous. :o)
26th Dec, 2014 23:23 (UTC)
I love the idea of the Enlightened Relaxation Satsuma! Vitamins AND inner peace, what could be better?!
26th Dec, 2014 16:17 (UTC)
When my Mum was a child it was an orange.
26th Dec, 2014 23:26 (UTC)
My Mum was a small child during rationing, and delighted in tales of citrus deprivation...
26th Dec, 2014 17:36 (UTC)
My parents (born early 1940s) both said with utter certainty, "it's a tangerine." "That's the only one we'd heard of," they said. "Satsumas are new-fangled things that came much later."
26th Dec, 2014 23:22 (UTC)
"To every generation is born a Chosen Citrus...?"
26th Dec, 2014 19:21 (UTC)
Answer to the second question is actually 'Clementine', much my favourite of these fruits. (In fact, there are so many crosses, sub-species and varieties that the EU has given up trying to distinguish them for Customs purposes, though they wouldn't admit it, anymore than they would admit that some fruit kinds they have in the Tariff don't actually exist...)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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