A Typical British Christmas!

Here at XUK we have many children from countries across the world, and so as it gets nearer to Christmas, celebrated on the 25th of December, we wanted to share with you some British Christmas traditions.

Leading up to Christmas

In the festive excitement leading up to the big day people put up a Christmas tree and decorations. Christmas cards are also sent out to family and friends.

Many people also go to ‘carol services’; a carol service is held at the church and consists of singing songs relating to Christmas (‘carols’) and listening to readings about the Christmas story. Schools also perform ‘nativities’ where you can watch children perform their own version of the Christmas story and the birth of baby Jesus.

Many children also have an ‘advent calendar’. An advent calendar consists of numbered flaps that you open on each day to reveal a picture-symbolising the countdown to Christmas Day. Many also have a chocolate advent calendar that reveals a picture and a chocolate treat.

Christmas Day

Stocking Presents

Many children wake up on Christmas day to find a stocking at the end of their bed which is filled with presents from Father Christmas. Children typically wake up very early-after having little sleep for trying to sneak a peek of the man himself- and will open these presents straight away.

Main Presents

Main presents are put under the Christmas tree and typically are opened either late morning or during the afternoon with all of the family gathered around the tree.

Christmas Lunch

This is a huge part of Christmas day celebrations. Typically many people choose to eat their Christmas meal at noon or early afternoon.

The food consists of roast turkey, roast potatoes and various vegetables. The food choice varies from family to family but key foods include bread sauce, Brussels sprouts (enjoyed by adults; hidden by children) and pigs in blankets. Pigs in blankets are definitely a favourite, they are sausages wrapped in bacon-yum!

For dessert many choose to have ‘Christmas Pudding’. A Christmas pudding is a rich, fruity pudding that is offered doused in flaming brandy. Other festive desserts include Christmas cake, mince pies and yule log.

Turkey Tradition

For many people that eat turkey they will take part in the turkey wishing tradition that involves pulling the wish bone. The wish bone is a bone found in the turkey that is shaped like the letter ‘Y’. One person holds each end and pulls and the person that is left with the larger piece of bone makes a wish.


When people set the table they will normally place a Christmas cracker next to each plate. Two people pull the cracker which releases a loud snap and several items fall out. These include a colourful paper crown, a toy or gift and a joke. The funny thing about the jokes is that they are usually rather unfunny…

Christmas Day Activities

During Christmas Day people choose to do lots of different things. Many choose to watch festive films, some attend church and some go for an afternoon walk. One activity that many people participate in is listening to the Queen’s speech. The first Christmas Broadcast was delivered by George V in 1932, and now The Queen’s speech is broadcast around 3pm and can be seen on the television and heard on the radio. It is her Christmas message to the nation featuring key events that are currently happening or things that have happened during the year.

Christmas Day Tea

In the evening many people have a Christmas tea. The tea typically consists of cold meats such as ham or even leftover turkey, a choice of cheeses, sandwiches, crisps and dips. This is when many people choose to eat some of the traditional desserts such as mince pies and yule log.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day follows Christmas Day, and is traditionally now when many people shop. A lot of the stores open early and have huge discount sales both in-store and online.

If shopping is not your thing, it is also a very important day for sports. A popular sport on Boxing Day is football and there are many games that are held on this day. These are watched while usually eating left-over turkey.

So that’s just a taster into some of the traditions we have in Britain at Christmas. If you are celebrating Christmas we hope that you have a great time and would love to hear how you will be celebrating on our Facebook page!