10 FAB Things About Christmas In England

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.

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 salespeople trying to entice you to buy their stocking stuffers (c’mon luv… get yer crackers here… two fer a pound).

pubs in england are FAB
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.

english pubs - a great place to chat with old friends
Triple Trouble

There are many other experiences to get that nostalgia flowing, and realize why Christmas in England special, read more.

1. Opening A Selection Box On Christmas Morning

Christmas morning in England
Important to note mum’s tinsel around the TV and the singing lamppost… truly British decorations!

It’s almost guaranteed that most children in England will have a chocolate 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!

2. Christmas Crackers

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 crown on your head (where it sits the remainder of the day.)

families at christmas in England

Christmas with English grandparents
The boys love to spend time with Granny and Poppy

3. Poking Around the Christmas Pudding for Money

No English Christmas dinner is complete without Christmas pudding.

Christmas dinner in Derby, UK
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.

4. The Queen’s Speech

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.

queens speech christmas day in England
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.

5. Christmas in England with Family

Living the other side of the world, we treasure every minute we spend with relatives when we visit England.

christmas day with family in 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.

cousins at Christmas
It’s especially great to watch family members grow into different phases of life.

6. An English Christmas Tradition: A Fierce Game of Scrabble

We love to end Christmas Day with a fierce game of Scrabble.

Scabble and board games with family in England - it's a tradition

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.

 

7. Boxing Day is for Football

The highlight for most football fans are the Boxing Day fixtures on the day after Christmas — Boxing Day!

vip tickets to manchester united game - it doesn't get any better than this

Football 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!

manchester united football club on boxing day

It’s important to wrap up warm when you head to the Old Trafford stadium and watch with pink faces until you cannot feel your hands and feet.

It was an unforgettable day at Old Trafford. And, to our delight, Manchester United won.

8. Take Day Trips to Other English Cities

english telephone box - hello?There are so many fantastic cities to visit in England, and it’s relatively easy to drive around.

Banksy in Bristol
We spent time in Bristol and saw Banksy’s work on some buildings

 

The view of York Cathedral from York Castle
We visited York Castle to recreate our engagement from 20 years ago!
Cheddar Gorge in Somerset after Christmas
We hiked Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, in the fog and drizzle.

cheddar gorge hike
The British countryside is spectacular regardless of the weather, and it’s fun to experience during different seasons for a completely unique experience.

Family at Stonehenge in England
We took selfies at Stonehenge

stonehenge with kids - cold and wet

Stratford upon avon - sweet shop

9. British Fish and Chips Are the Best!

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.

fish and chip shop in england

10. Flying Home After Christmas in England

All good things must come to an end. Sad, but mostly true.

The flight home from England on british airways
After a lovely time in England and enjoying the wonderful traditions of the Christmas season, there’s nothing quite heading home.
flying with kids at Christmas

Did I miss anything?  What do you love about Christmas in England?

Let me know by leaving a comment below and joining me on Instagram and Twitter!

About The Author

Samantha

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.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Marit | 14th Dec 17

    I learned something new about Christmas in the UK now 🙂 The coin in the Christmas pudding is somewhat similar to a tradition we have in Norway. You put an almond in the Christmas porridge and the one that gets it receives a marsipan pig 🐖 .

    • Samantha Kuhr | 15th Dec 17

      Oh wow, that sounds so much fun! I love marzipan! Merry Christmas!

  2. phoenixraay | 15th Dec 17

    Nice, I love to hear about other peoples Christmas traditions 🙂

  3. Mama Munchkin (@globalmunchkins) | 1st Feb 18

    Fantastic!! My daughter randomly speaks with a British accent ever since we came home from a visit a few years ago. She swears that she is going to move there one day, which means I’ll have to follow- ha! But, maybe then I will get a chance to check out the holidays over there with my own eyes 🙂

    • Samantha Kuhr | 1st Feb 18

      Ha – I love that! Lots of great colleges and study abroad programs there, and the perfect location for a mama/daughter trip! XXX

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