It’s the most wonderful time of the year…… I love December, and the whole holiday season in general. The stores are festive, Christmas music is pumping, and trees are being trimmed all over the world. However, only a Brit will tell you, there’s nothing quite like spending Christmas in England
First of all the weather is christmassy (translate: freezing cold, lashings of rain, and blizzards), but it’s not 80 degrees like California. The markets are filled with sales people trying to entice you to buy their stocking stuffers (c’mon luv… get yer crackers here… two fer a pound).
And there’s simply nothing more festive than hearing ‘Slade Merry Christmas Everyone’ or Last Christmas when you walk into every pub in the village, or belting out ‘Do they know it’s Christmas,’ with your mates at the end of a night out after drinking too many Marston Pedigrees.
There are many other experiences to get that nostalgia flowing, and realize why Christmas in England special, read more.
It’s almost guaranteed that most children in England will have a selection box wrapped under their tree. I love these chocolate treats from Cadbury (and I mean the real Cadbury before it was bought by Hershey) nestled in a festive box. The best part is deciding whether to eat the Flake or the Crunchie first!
There’s nothing more English than pulling a Christmas cracker to see what plastic toy calls out, before tucking into Christmas dinner. It’s often a plastic thimble or small card trick, but the best part is reading the bad jokes that are also inside each cracker. And it wouldn’t be Christmas in England without proudly wearing the brightly colored paper paper crown on your head (where it sits the remainder of the day.)
No English Christmas dinner is complete without Christmas pudding. Christmas Pudding is traditionally served for dessert and it’s a very dense suet pudding made of dried fruits and nuts. It typically has cream, warm vanilla custard or hot rum sauce poured over the top. My mum would always wrap a pound coin in foil and hide it in the pudding, and it was fun as a child to dig around the pudding looking for the hidden money.
Each year, the Queen (and now King) gives a speech at 3pm on Christmas Day. This has been a British broadcasting tradition for over 80 years, and families across the UK gather around their televisions to listen to this speech.
In 1932, King George V first gave the speech as a radio broadcast. Queen Elizabeth II continues the tradition, and has delivered the speech every year since 1952. Each year she carefully reflects on current issues and concerns, and shares what Christmas means to her, her family, and to many of her listeners.
Living the other side of the world, we treasure every minute we spend with relatives when we visit England. It’s like no time has passed, we open the wine, pour a scotch, open the tin of Roses, and give each other a hard time.
It’s especially great watch family members grow into different phases of life.
We love to end Christmas Day with a fierce game of scrabble. It’s never over until someone storms away accusing the other of cheating (usually Julian), or Aunty Beryl announces that she’s not going to play with people who make up words (Julian again..) or we decide to move to another board game.
The highlight for most football fans are the Boxing Day (December 26th) fixtures. Matches are traditionally played against local rivals or teams within close proximity of each other to avoid supporters having to travel when the train timetables are limited. We were fortunate to visit Old Trafford and watch our glorious Manchester United play with 75,000 other fans!
It’s important to wrap up warm when you head to the stadium, and watch with pink faces until you cannot feel your hands and feet.
It was an unforgettable day at Old Trafford.
There are so many fantastic cities to visit in England, and it’s relatively easy to drive around.
The British countryside is spectacular regardless of the weather, and it’s fun to experience during different seasons for a completely unique experience.
I honestly think British fish and chips are up there as being one of the most delicious culinary experiences in the world. For real. The combo of deep-fried potatoes, battered cod or haddock, lashings of vinegar and salt, and brown paper soaking up the grease and vinegar as you eat with a wooden fork, is just legendary.
After a lovely time in England and enjoying the wonderful traditions of the Christmas season, there’s nothing quite heading home.
I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.