13 Dec What’s it like to spend Christmas in England?
During the Christmas season it’s almost always cold, wet and foggy in England. Despite the weather, families decorate their houses, they appreciate festive music, Christmas trees are found in every home and evergreen branches hang on doors. Christmas events spread out across the country, with one of the most popular events being Winter Wonderland in London. People go ice skating, attend shows and huge Christmas markets.
There are so many things that make Christmas in England a unique experience, here are just a few of them:
People start their Christmas festivities in October
Lights outside houses, random Christmas gifts appearing in stores, songs on the radio. You might think that Christmas would start in December but oh ho ho are you wrong, Christmas dusts itself off early in England for October.
Mulled Wine: The most popular Christmas drink in England
I was absolutely amazed the first time I tried mulled wine at a Christmas market. It’s a really enjoyable drink when you’re in chilly weather full of fabulous Christmas spices such as cinnamon, cloves, orange and sugar. It’s really something you can’t miss out and for people who don’t drink, you can easily get a non-alcoholic version that tastes just as good!
Traditional Christmas dinner
No traditional English Christmas dinner is complete without roast turkey, roast potato, cranberry sauce, stuffing, sausages wrapped in bacon, Yorkshire puddings, brussel sprouts and hot gravy. There’s even more ingredients than those listed, but every family has their preferences.
Why is it that the English prefer Turkey at Christmas though? It does seem odd that they eat so much of one type of meat! Well, originally it was traditional to eat Goose at Christmas in England however in the 16th century turkeys arrived in England, imported by the Spanish. Turkeys took over the Christmas dinner in the royal’s home and eventually filtered down to regular families. Up until the 1950’s Turkey was considered a luxury food and was extremely expensive to buy!
Dreaming of a white Christmas in England?
In England it’s basically guaranteed to snow at least somewhere during Christmas time. What’s strange however, is the fact that there have only been seven “White Christmas'” in England in all the of 20th century. A White Christmas is simply when snow falls on Christmas day itself, the 25th of December.
Christmas crackers are very popular
A Christmas cracker is a cardboard paper tube, wrapped in brightly coloured paper and twisted at both ends. Everyone holds their own cracker in their right hand and pulls their neighbour’s cracker with their free left hand. Inside the cracker there is a paper crown made from tissue paper, a motto or joke on a slip of paper and a little gift.
Father Christmas / Santa Claus Himself
Children in England believe that Father Christmas leaves presents in stockings which are normally hung up above the fireplace or on the ends of the children’s bed on Christmas Eve. Of course presents are also wrapped up in boxes and left under the Christmas tree. Children will sometimes leave out mince pies for Santa to eat when he visits them, often they’ll leave carrots and milk for Santa’s reindeer too!