December 17th – Christmas in the UK

Today’s Blogmas prompt, from Sandra, asks us to share traditions and pictures from our home countries.

Here goes!


Many things make up a typical, traditional, British Christmas:

1. A visit to see Santa. Perhaps he’d come in to school or we’d have to go to him in a Department Store but Christmas wouldn’t have been Christmas, as a child, without the visit to see Santa regardless of whether or not you were scared to death of him! “The Impostor! How DARE he?” I always used to think, between screams, as I squirmed my way out of sitting on his knee!

2. Christmas crackers. Amazing just how much fun can be had from a bit of paper, a banger, a cheesy (usually rubbish) joke, a generally useless little toy and a paper hat! [Expect a ‘Banger-less’ DIY cracker tutorial – coming in the next few days – for those Brits abroad with no cracker supply and those readers who fancy seeing what all the fuss is about!].

3. Christmas pantomime [A play loosely based on a fairy tale including topical dialogue (more information here)]. Men dressed up as buxom ladies, racy Buttons, innuendoes galore, two hours of non-stop laughter: a little slice of Britain on stage! My littles still talk about the one we saw together last year: it made a big impression on them! [There’s nothing quite so fun as Panto! “Oh no there isn’t! Oh yes there is!”… it!!].

4. Mulled wine. Red wine with lots of spices. Heated up. Delicious. Warms your cockles if nothing else will! As Jamie Oliver says in his recipe here: “Christmas in a glass”.

5. The Nativity Play. Obligatory for all school children. The highlight of the Christmas season for all Mamas.

6. Christmas coal. Beware any naughty British children: you might get nothing but coal in your stocking!

7. Christmas pudding. Has already featured heavily in my Blogmas posts but it’s such a stalwart of any British Christmas, I couldn’t not mention it!

8. The turning on of the Oxford Street Christmas lights and the tree in Trafalgar Square. Christmas doesn’t officially begin until both have happened.

9. The letter to Santa. Every child has to write their letter to Santa. My brothers used to pore over the Argos catalogue for weeks, honing and perfecting their lists! Had to laugh at some of the ones highlighted here! (Do click through if you have time: it’s so heart warming!).

10. The Queens Speech. We aren’t a very Royalist family but we always make sure we listen to the Queen on Christmas Day.

And I’m sure there are many, many more traditions that I’ve missed… putting stockings at the end of the bed so Santa can fill them with presents (offering a tantalising hope to children Britain-wide that they might get to see Santa!); kissing under the mistletoe (the stuff of dreams for teenage girls! Sales of mistletoe used to sky rocket in our village fruit shop as the sixth form Christmas party loomed!); first footing on New Years (not Christmassy, but of the Christmas period); carol singing; lantern parades (a relatively recent tradition but one that seems to have caught on across Britain)….phew! I’m sure there are many, many more!

Can’t wait to read all about the traditions from all my lovely Blogmas buddies!


12 thoughts on “December 17th – Christmas in the UK

  1. Chelsea says:

    Christmas in the UK, sounds quite spectacular! The pantomine show would be hilarious, I’m highly intrigued by this Christmas pudding, and I bet the lights in the square are amazing. Hoping your still getting to do a few things on your list this year!


  2. Barbara says:

    Love all the wonderful traditions Britain-style…and so many we also have in the US! Haven’t written mine yet; but maybe after a bit of breakfast?! Big afternoon/evening with 2 or 3 of the grandkids! Back later…thanks for sharing!


  3. Carrie Ann says:

    Sounds like so much fun!! Oh how I would love to hear you read this in a British accent!! My daughter and I love to hear a British accent. 🙂


  4. I just love this! I’m thinking now that my visit to England one day will now need to be at Christmas time. ;0)


    • iwillbloom says:

      Hia…..oh yes. you definitely should experience England at Christmas…..but also in summer….and spring…and autumn!…’re just going to have to make multiple trips 😉


  5. Ashley says:

    I love this. Makes me miss our time in Edinburgh. What traditions have you kept?


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