Planning A Visit To The UK This Christmas?
Published: Tuesday 13th Dec 2016
Written by: The Grace Darling Holidays Team
Christmas has been celebrated in the UK for over 1000 years. Christmas can be a magical experience, and what makes it so special is the raft of wonderful and quirky traditions. From counting down to the big day by using advent calendars and sending Christmas cards, to listening to Christmas music and eating delicious food, the festive season really is an exciting time of the year.
Beautifully decorated and lit trees are a great symbol of Christmas. Lights are used to brighten the streets and people’s homes more than at any other time of the year.
Christmas stockings are such a traditional part of a British Christmas, that it is hard to work out where the custom originated. Christmas stockings come in all different shapes and sizes, from luxury whimsical stocking that are a gift in themselves to beautifully decorated felt stockings that the children love.
Festivals and food have always lived side by side so there is no surprise that there is a multitude of traditional Christmas foods that are enjoyed during the festive season. Traditional Christmas foods in the UK include mince pies, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, chocolate yule log and roast turkey will all the trimmings.
Spending Christmas in the UK
Whether coming to the UK to spend Christmas with family and/or friends or for a Christmas break, there tends to be a routine to proceedings you should be familiar with. Although the British often dream of a white Christmas, they rarely get one. It is chilly in December though and it will most probably be wet. So, it makes sense to stay indoors in front of a cosy lit fire (Grace Darling Holiday cottages have many cottages with open log fires) and enjoy the food and company.
Christmas Eve is a work day for most people but companies tend to close earlier than normal. Shops are still open and will be extremely busy with last-minute shoppers, but gradually the day winds down and the festivities begin.
Compared to the hectic month of December, Christmas Eve evening is usually quiet. The local churches hold carol services or show a nativity play performed by the towns children and many churches will celebrate midnight mass.
Christmas Day and Boxing Day are public holidays and most people don’t go to work. The children get up early, checking if Father Christmas has been. The turkey will go in the oven soon after breakfast and the kitchen then turns into a busy place with potatoes and sprouts to peel, sausages to cook, gravy to make and the Christmas Pudding to steam.
After all these preparations, dinner is served and usually lasts a while. Following lunch families normally congregate around the TV to watch the Queens speech and the rest of the afternoon is then usually spent dosing on the sofa or watching Christmas movies.
On Boxing day people are usually on the move visiting each other. The ‘serious’ bit of Christmas is over and its tie to have fun. The kids are on school holidays until the New Year, but people usually return to work on December 27th.
Hectic and quiet, commercial and contemplative, traditional and modern – Christmas in the UK is a wonderful time.