In England, Christmas is mainly a children’s festival, as it is the birthday of child Jesus, who was born in a manger at Bethlehem hundreds of years ago at that time of the year. Little children are told that Father Christmas will bring those presents on Christmas day if they hang their stockings up when they go to bed on Christmas Eve. And, sure enough, when they wake up on Christmas morning, their stockings are full of all kinds of jolly toys. When the children get older they find out, of course, that Father Christmas, who, they are told, comes down the chimney when they are asleep and fills their stocking, is really mother and father. And about Christmas time children’s parties are got up in friends’ houses, and the children go and have a fine tea, with cakes and sweets and fruits; and a Christmas tree is set up, covered with lighted candles and hung with presents for the children; and then come to all kinds of children’s games, which they play until it is time to bed.
One of these games is called Blind-man’s-buff, and this is how it is played. One of the children is blindfolded—that is, a handkerchief is tied tightly over his eyes so that he cannot see. The others all stand around him in a ring. He is then made to turn round three times so that he cannot tell which part of the room he is facing. Now the game is that this blind man has to try to catch one of the other children. But this is not so easy, because they can see and so get out of his way, and he can only feel his way about. Whenever he goes in the room, the other children slip out of his way; and to tease him, they come behind him, and push him or slap him. This is why the game is called Blind-man’s-buff, because “buff” means “buffet” and buffet means a blow. There is great excitement, the children rushing about and shouting and laughing. At last, the blind-man catches someone; and then that one has to become the blind-man in his turn, and so the game goes on until all are tired.