Christmas is a magical season that brings family and friends together to share some loved customs and traditions. These traditions have been around for centuries now. In the UK, the main day for Christmas celebration is on Christmas Day. Here are 8 of the best things about Christmas in the UK:
1. Christmas Eve – 24th December
In the UK, this day brings a lot of fun and activities for both children and adult. Across the UK, people usually sing carols and attend midnight church service on that day. Others go out to the pub with their families to enjoy a fun night out. On this day, the young children are very excited in expectation for Santa arrival. They hang their stockings and go to sleep while Santa and his elves deliver their toys in time for Christmas Day morning. Traditionally on Christmas Eve, mince pies, milk, and carrots are left out for Santa and his reindeer before the kids go to bed.
2. Christmas day – 25th December
On this day, the average family gets up just before 8.00am to open presents. Once the unwrapping of the gifts is done, the family sits around the table for breakfast. Studies have shown that about 13 percent of Britons attend church on this day. Afterwards, families start cooking the big Christmas dinner just before noon. Dinner is then served around 3.00pm with the traditional Christmas turkey. After this heavy meal, some family members fall asleep while others entertain themselves with board games and Christmas movies, and the kids play with their new toys.
3. The Queen’s Message
This tradition began when King George V read a speech prepared by Rudyard Kipling. This ritual has been continued by Queen Elizabeth II and it’s usually read out and broadcasted life on Christmas day. The speech is read about the time people across the UK are digesting their Christmas dinner.
4. Boxing Day – 26th December
This day is widely known across the UK as a day to give gifts to servants, tradesmen and friends. It started in the medieval times when priests will distribute gifts to the poor. In Ireland, it is known as ‘feeding the wren’. This day is usually a public holiday in the UK, although some shops and supermarkets open to do massive sales and clearance. Banks and offices remain closed on this day.
5. Christmas Dinner
The traditional Christmas dinner usually begins with a starter of prawns and salmon. The main course is customarily a big turkey. Very few people use goose, while the vegetarian families serve a nut roast. This is typically served with potatoes, vegetables, and stuffing with gravy and bread sauce followed by a Christmas pudding.
6. Christmas Pudding
Traditional Christmas pudding comprises of a rich fruit pudding served with brandy sauce or brandy butter. This originated from the medieval times, and it was served as a spiced porridge enjoyed by the rich and poor. The pudding became a Christmas tradition when it was introduced to the Royal Christmas dinner table by Prince Albert.
7. Christmas Cake
A traditional Christmas cake is usually very rich and dark, and contains dried fruits and nuts such as candied peel, glace cherries and almonds. Sweetened with black treacle, the cake is also covered with thick white icing.
8. Mince Pies
Mince Pies are often known as Christmas pies. The sweet, rich and fruity pies we are now accustomed to became popular early in the twentieth century. It contains a mixture of dried fruits such as raisins, sultanas and candied peel, often moistened with brandy, sherry, and baked in small pastry cases.
Christmas traditions in the United Kingdom are what make the season filled with love, care, sharing and joy. As we celebrate these Christmas traditions, it is important that we show affection and appreciation to those we value and others that played important roles in making our year a success.
Next time on the CareCo blog, we take a look at some of the more bizarre Christmas traditions from around the world!