Christmas traditions in UK

Upravené: sobota, 22. október 2011


  • Children hang up stockings before they go to bed, hoping that Father Christmas will come down the chimney and fill them with gifts. They hang up stockings because Father Christmas once dropped some gold coins whilst coming down the chimney and they would have been lost in the ash if they hadn't landed in a stocking which had been hung up to dry.
  • Christmas Day (25 December) and Boxing Day (December 26) are traditionally days when families spend time together at home 


  • Evergreen plants are used as Christmas decorations - the most popular ones being holly and ivy. These used to be thought of as magical and were hung up to protect against evil spirits and to encourage Spring to come. Christians used these plants in their customs to remind people that the prickles on the holly were like the crown of thorns that Jesus wore when he died
  • Welcome wreaths - a welcome wreath of evergreens is often placed on front doors and dates back to the Roman times when a garland of leaves signified good luck . These are usually decorated with red ribbons
  • ikon2.jpgMistletoe is a plant that grows on the branches of trees. Victorians bound the mistletoe to a frame to make a "kissing ring." Each time a gentleman caught a lady under the mistletoe, he was allowed to claim a kiss. When the branches were bare, the kissing had to stop!
  • It is still customary to kiss someone under the mistletoe, which is hung in entrances to houses.


  • Christmas (and New Year) cards are given at Christmas time


  • Evergreen fir trees are usually decorated with electric lights (as symbols of eternal life and hope) and decorations, often collected by families over a number of years and made by children at school. A star or fairy is usually put on the top.


  • Christmas presents are put under the Christmas tree and opened on Christmas Day, as are the presents which Father Christmas leaves in the stockings.


  • ikon6.jpgFrom 1870 children have hung up Christmas stockings at the ends of their beds or along the mantelpiece
  • The stockings (or sacks) are filled during the night by Father Christmas whilst the children are asleep, ready for Christmas Day
  • Children write letters to Father Christmas to let him know what they want. Usually they "post" these letters a few weeks before Christmas Day by leaving them in the fireplace for Father Christmas to collect


  • The tradition of Father Christmas began in the Netherlands with the custom of celebrating St Nicholas' Day and St Nicholas' Eve, when gifts were given to children and the British took over the tradition as part of their own Christmas Eve celebrations
  • St Nicholas (the Dutch 'Sinterklaas') became Santa Claus/Father Christmas - the jolly man dressed in red with a white beard 
  • Santa has flying reindeer and a sleigh and travels all the way from Reindeerland in the Frozen North  
  • He has to climb down chimneys to bring children toys
  • So that Santa is kept well fed, children leave him mince pies and something to drink (hopefully a good glass of scotch). Children also leave carrots or apples for the reindeer


  • It is traditional to have turkey with stuffing, sprouts, carrots, peas, and bacon/sausages for Christmas dinner, and Christmas plum pudding and/or mince pies with rum butter for desert
  • The Christmas pudding has brandy poured over it and is lit. The flaming pudding is brought to the dinner table. A coin is often placed in the pudding - bringing "good luck" to the person who finds it .


  • A London sweet maker, Thomas Smith, invented Christmas crackers in 1846 and the idea of theseikon8.jpg crackers were taken from the French bonbons - sweets wrapped in twisted pieces of coloured paper  
  • Thomas Smith added love notes to the bonbons and then had the idea of making the sweets go bang
  • Paper hats and small toys were also added to the crackers
  • Christmas crackers are usually pulled around the dinner table before the meal starts


  • A popular game for families to play at Christmas time is charades
  • In charades, players have to act out words (usually the names of films, books, or song) in mime
  • The other players who are watching the mime have to guess what the charade is
  • Whoever guesses the charade first has to perform the next charade


  • ikon9.jpgPantomimes (usually shortened to "pantos") are traditional Christmas plays put on in theatres for children to watch
  • Most pantos are based on popular children's stories such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Mother Goose, Aladdin
  • In pantos, ugly women are always played by men, and handsome young men are always played by pretty young women!
  • It is traditional for the audience to join in with the panto - cheering the hero or heroine and hissing at the villains


  • Carols (French 'noel') are popular religious songs usually sung at Christmas and are sung to remember the singing of the angels who sang 'Gloria in Excelsis Deo' in heaven to give thanks for Christ's birth
  • Since Victorian days, singers and musicians have visited houses at Christmas time. The Carollers sing carols and collect money, which is usually given to charity. The Carollers are normally given drinks made of warm ale, apples, and spices - if they're lucky!


ikon10.jpgMerry Christmas and a Happy New Year!