Food & Drink

How to do a proper British Christmas (no matter where you are in the world)

People in countries throughout the world enjoy a Christmas Day similar to the Brits. Christmas decorations, opening presents and eating a hearty dinner are typical ways to celebrate, but there are a few traditions that make the British Christmas Day unique.

So, regardless of where you are in the world, what can you do to British up your festive season? Whether you want to remind yourself of home or inject a bit of the Union Jack into your day, here’s what you can do to enjoy a Proper British Christmas.

Get the kids to write Christmas letters

At Christmas, British kids love sending letters to Santa. This is common in countries including the USA and Australia, but Brits tend to place their letters on the fireplace. Of course, you’ll be the one reading their gift wish list, but writing letters adds a touch of magic to the festive season for young ones.

Leave presents in stockings

Leading up to Christmas, Brits tend to leave wrapped gifts under the tree, which are opened on Christmas Day. But it’s also common to fill stockings with little gifts as surprises. Most people hang their stockings by the fireplace or at the end of their beds and only fill them with presents on Christmas morning, before the kids wake up.

Get some Christmas crackers

The Christmas cracker is essentially a paper tube wrapped in foil and twisted at both ends. Inside the tube are little treasures and usually a cheesy joke with a festive paper crown or two. One person pulls one end of the tube while another person pulls the other. The winner is the person left with the tube in their hand.

Eat a proper British Christmas dinner

Like their American counterparts, the Brits love roast turkey with trimmings such as roast potatoes and vegetables at Christmas. But the British dinner has a few staple ingredients that you might not typically find across the Atlantic. In the UK, a Christmas dinner must feature sprouts, parsnips and Yorkshire puddings filled with gravy. We highly recommend bacon-wrapped sausages, which we know as ‘pigs in blankets’.

Listen to the Royal Christmas Message

Many British families tune into the BBC at 3pm on Christmas Day to listen to the Queen deliver her Royal Christmas Message, a tradition that started with King George V in 1932. You can listen to the Royal Christmas Message from just about anywhere in the world. It’s aired on BBC America in the US. Just remember to bear the time difference in mind.

Sip a Christmas tea

It’s no secret that British people like to drink tea pretty much daily, making it no surprise that an afternoon tea with the family is a Christmas tradition in the UK. Afternoon teas are best enjoyed with cakes and confectionaries. But it’s Christmas – treat yourself to some leftover turkey if it tickles your fancy.

Make the most of Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a nationally recognised bank holiday in the UK. For many of us Brits, it’s the year’s best shopping day. But it’s also the perfect opportunity to have a bubble and squeak breakfast made from the Christmas dinner leftovers. Mix your mash and veg together into a patty and fry until it looks mouth-wateringly golden.