Have a very merry Christmas with these seven great British traditions

Want to enjoy the magic of Christmas in a quintessentially British fashion? Here are seven seasonal traditions to inspire you

By Lizzie Fletcher

Christmas is a magical time for many people across the world: the perfect occasion to bring families together in festive cheer.

    In Britain, we go especially big on Christmas, with many of our traditions dating back centuries.  

In Britain, we go especially big on Christmas, with many of our traditions dating back centuries.

Here are seven of our finest seasonal traditions, to get you in the Christmas spirit.

1. Leave a tipple and a nibble out for Father Christmas

It is tradition across the world to leave items of food and drink out for Father Christmas and his reindeers, helping sustain them for their nighttime circuit of the globe.

In the UK, we favour a mince pie and a glass of sherry. And don’t forget a carrot or two for Rudolph and company.

2. Indulge in a roast turkey dinner

Rich food is the best thing about Christmas, right? The gathering of friends and family is the perfect excuse for over-indulgence.

When it comes to the main Christmas meal, most families opt for turkey with all the trimmings. There are a variety of dishes you can serve alongside, but most people go for roast potatoes, carrots, pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon), stuffing, gravy and, of course, the sprout.

No item of food dominates a truly British Christmas like the humble sprout. Loathed by many, it’s a Christmas tradition to serve these divisive mini cabbages at the table.

3. Scoff some Christmas pud

After you’ve stuffed yourself silly with turkey, you might feel as though you couldn’t eat a thing more. But as any Brit will tell you, you’d be wrong. There’s a separate tummy for pudding, after all.

A traditional British dessert is a Christmas pudding, which is made up of a variety of dried fruits and spices. There are lots of Christmas pudding recipes to use or, alternatively, you can buy a premade one from any supermarket.

Don’t forget to pour brandy over the top and light your pudding when you bring it to the table. It’s a show-stopping way to end your Christmas meal.

    In among the eating, drinking and present opening the original message of Christmas often falls by the wayside.  

4. Pull some Christmas crackers

Christmas crackers are a traditional favourite in the UK. We’re not talking about the kind you might have with your cheese. These crackers are usually placed on the table as festive decorations, and make a snapping sound when pulled open.

While you can purchase some extremely luxurious crackers for your table, the best, and most typically British ones, contain a cheap plastic toy and an even worse joke.

5. Attend Midnight Mass

In among the eating, drinking and present opening the original message of Christmas often falls by the wayside. While you don’t have to be religious to celebrate the day, it is probably worth remembering that, for some, it is a chance to rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ.

Midnight Mass services typically begin at around 11.30pm on Christmas Eve, and are a jubilant celebration for those who attend.

For those who prefer to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas after the sun has risen, there are plenty of late-morning church services on Christmas Day.

6. Watch the Queen’s Christmas Message

The Queen gives a speech every Christmas Day at 3pm, reflecting on the events of the past year. It’s an important part of the day for many households, and families through the ages have gathered to watch it on TV.

Most people put the Queen on in the background while they enjoy a post-lunch snooze or play charades. Somehow, these activities just don’t feel right unless accompanied by Her Majesty’s perfectly formed vowels.

7. Boxing Day

A tradition originating in the UK, Boxing Day falls on 26 December (also St Stephen’s day). The name derives from the giving of Christmas “boxes”, which were traditionally used to collect money for the poor.

Nowadays, Boxing Day in the UK is associated with the huge post-Christmas sales held by retailers. And let’s face it, nothing says “quintessential British Christmas” like getting up at the crack of dawn the morning after Christmas and queuing outside your nearest shopping centre in the hope of landing a bargain.

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

Published: 11 December 2019

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