Ten Things I Love About Christmas In The UK

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 like being in the UK for Christmas.
harrods at christmas
First of all the weather is christmassy (ok, butt freezing cold, lashings of rain, and  blizzards), but it’s not 80 degrees…  The markets are hopping with sales people trying to entice you to buy their stocking stuffers (c’mon luv… get yer crackers here… two fer a pound).
pubs in england
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 drinking too many snakebites and Marston Pedigrees.

english pubs
Triple Trouble

But there are so many more things that make me miss the UK terribly this time of year, and only a Brit would understand.

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 the UK will have a selection box wrapped under their tree.  I loved opening these chocolate goodies and treats from Cadbury (and I mean the real Cadbury before it was bought by Hershey) in a festive box.  The best part was deciding whether to eat the Curly Wurly or the Wispa first!

2. Christmas Crackers

There’s nothing more fun than pulling your Christmas crackers before tucking into Christmas dinner, to see what crap plastic toy falls out.  It could be a plastic thimble, small card trick, or plastic toy car.  But the best part is reading the bad jokes that are also inside each cracker, then putting the brightly colored paper hat proudly on your head  where it sits for the rest of the day.
families at christmas

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

3. Poking around the Christmas Pudding for Money

christmas dinner UK
No British 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 always fun as a child to dig around the pudding looking for the hidden money.

4. The Queen’s Speech

Each year, the Queen gives a speech at 3pm on Christmas Day.  This has been a British broadcasting tradition for over 80 years, and familes across the UK gather around their televisions to listen to what she has to say.
queens speech christmas day
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 Day with Family

christmas day with famiy
Since we live the other side of the world, we love nothing more than to spend every minute we can with our relatives when we visit home.  It’s like no time has passed, and 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 see the generations of children change over the years, and watch them growing into different phases of life.

6. A Fierce Game of Scrabble

board games with family
We always end Christmas Day with a fierce game of scrabble.  It’s never over until someone storms away and accuses 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 Football Match

vip tickets to manchester united 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 very fortunate to visit Old Trafford and watch our glorious Manchester United play with 75,000 other fans!
manchester united football club

You typically wrap up warm, 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.

8. Visit The UK Landmarks

english telephone boxThere are so many fantastic places to visit in the UK as things are relatively close and easy to drive to.  We always try to visit as many cool places as possible when we are back home!

banksy in bristol
We spent time in Bristol and saw Banksy’s work on some buildings
york cathedral
We visited York Castle to recreate our engagement from 20 years ago!
cheddar gorge
We hiked Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, in the fog and drizzle.

cheddar gorge hike
The British countryside really is spectacular, regardless of the weather, and it’s fun to visit at different times of the year for a completely different experience.

family at stonehendge
We took selfies at Stonehenge

stonehendge with kids

stratford upon avon

9. Fish and Chips

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 the paper soaking up the grease and vinegar as you eat with a wooden fork, is just legendary.
fish and chip shop in england
It’s the first place we head to when we touch down at Heathrow!

10. Flying Back To Los Angeles

british airways
Buuuut after a lovely time in the UK and enjoying all it has to offer, there’s nothing like hopping back onto the plane and taking the 11 hour flight back to La-La land.
flying with kids
And there’s nothing more funny than pulling faces in the immigration photobooth to get back into the country!
funny passport photos
Did I miss anything?  What do you love about the UK at Christmas?
I hope you and your family and friends have the most wonderful time of the year!

About The Author


I’m a travel and health writer, digital and brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two active boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising teenage boys, 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.


  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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