Whether you’ve simply moved to the UK or you’re well-seasoned within the season of goodwill, there are few things quite like experiencing your new house at Christmas in the UK. And, like a lot of its European neighbors, the UK goes all out when the calendar hits December.
However, when residing in another country, it may be difficult to know what to celebrate and where around Christmas. To help you know your window displays from your Widow Twankys, here’s our list of 10 things it’s best to know about celebrating Christmas in the UK.
Christmas in the UK
1. Advent calendars
You know Christmas is around the corner within the UK if you open the first door of your advent calendar. Advent is a word derived from the Latin word ‘adventus’ (that means ‘coming’) and relates to the 4 weeks instantly before Christmas in the UK.
However, nowadays advent typically means advent calendars for both young and old. When buying in the many UK supermarkets, you’ll see loads of chocolate advent calendars which are always popular.
If chocolate isn’t your thing, there are a number of different types of advent calendars, too. From tea and coffee to socks and underwear, it’s an important chance to get creative!
2. Trees and decorations
Instantly everyone is selling Christmas trees – or at least that is how it appears when December comes round within the UK. Buying the right size is always a moment of concern – how high is your ceiling?
Make sure that the pine needles aren’t already falling off if you get it otherwise your vacuum cleaner won’t have a lot of a holiday either.
In days passed by making your own tree decorations was quite common. However, nowadays there’s so much variety of decorations from baubles and tinsel, to fairy lights and lots of more.
Towns across the land even have a giant Christmas tree positioned within the city center – don’t miss the celebrations when they turn on the lights!
3. Christmas fayres
There’s no better way to celebrate Christmas in the UK than by visiting your nearest festive market, typically known as “fayres” utilizing Old English. Large-scale markets are held for weeks throughout the run-up to Christmas in among the UK’s largest cities.
You’ll discover them in city squares they usually often have stalls selling all sorts of gifts, food, drink, and extra. There’s also loads of entertainment, from live music to fairground rides.
However even if you don’t live in a big city that hosts a Christmas market, you’ll still discover loads of festive events wherever you might be. Most cities and villages have Christmas fairs and markets, so check online or within the local press to find more data on the place you can fill up on festive goodies!
Also check out: A student’s guide to living in Cardiff in Uk
4. Santa’s Grotto
Within the run-up to Christmas shopping malls, theme parks and certain large shops have a Santa’s grotto the place parents can take their child to visit Santa Claus – and they get a pre-Christmas gift. Famously each year there’s a Santa’s grotto in Covent Garden, London.
5. Mulled wine and mince pies
For the true style of Christmas in the UK, there are two things you might want to try: mulled wine and mince pies. Yes, when you go to any Christmas celebration, market, show (and so forth.), you’ll probably discover you’re drinking a glass of warm mulled wine and nibbling on a mince pie.
Mulled wine (known as gluhwein) is a warming drink of purple wine and various herbs and spices. It’s delicious and the scent alone will make you think of Christmas!
In the run-up to Christmas and through into the brand new year, many theatres within the UK put on pantomimes. However what are pantomimes? This most British of Christmas traditions are basically productions of traditional tales, corresponding to Jack and the Beanstalk or Cinderella.
Nonetheless, you’ll quickly find out that that’s only half the story.
Pantomimes sometimes feature minor celebrities in the primary roles and are heavily geared in direction of children and families. It’s regular for there to be a dame (a man dressed up as a girl) who’s the clown of the show.
7. Christmas Eve
Unlike a few of their European neighbors, the British prefer to keep things a little manic on Christmas Eve. With many of the celebrating kept till Christmas Day (25th), Christmas Eve is usually a little chaotic in homes and cities up and down the country.
For some, it’s the last chance to purchase items for loved ones – with shops sometimes closing early
For others, it’s keeping the children entertained at home and preparing for Father Christmas’s visit. Children typically put out snacks and a drink for St. Nick and Rudolph, often a mince pie and alcoholic beverage.
Also read: British Etiquette and Culture
8. Turkey and all the trimmings
As soon as Christmas Day has rolled around and the little ones have opened their presents, it’s time to start out occupied with the primary occasion: Christmas dinner. That is the a part of the day when all the household sits down and eats collectively.
Historically, Christmas in the UK dinner was all about the goose, however these days it’s turkey that’s all the rage. However, there’s plenty of scope to create your own Christmas dinner traditions!
Christmas crackers – that includes a silly joke, party hat, and game – are often on the table and pulled between two people throughout the meal. To finish things off, many locals enjoy a Christmas pudding – a (very) rich concoction of dried fruit, nuts, and loads of alcohol.
You’ll probably need a nap afterward.
9. The Queen’s Speech
It wouldn’t be Christmas Day in the UK without the Queen’s speech. The tradition dates back to 1932 when the then king, George V, recorded a broadcast for radio.
Nonetheless, nowadays his granddaughter, Elizabeth II, takes to the tv for the speech that’s proven in the course of the afternoon.
10. Boxing Day leftovers
Often known as St Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas Day is called Boxing Day within the UK. For many it is a day of rest and relaxation. The youngsters can play with all those new toys while the adults put their feet up and ransack the leftover Quality Street chocolates.
However, there are alternatives if you really feel like going out. Certainly, the Boxing Day sales are a good time to grab a bargain out of your favorite high street retailer.
There’s also a full schedule of matches within the English football league if you really feel like braving the elements for the beautiful game.
Check out the official UK Site here.
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