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How do English people celebrate Christmas?


The Christmas tree is usually decorated at the beginning of December, along with the rest of the house. Twinkly lights and ornaments are the norm. However, some people do decorate their homes and gardens excessively!

Many people get an Advent calendar, You have a different door for each day of December from 1st until the 24th. Behind each door is a small gift – It is the countdown to Christmas Day.

A relatively new tradition is Elf on the Shelf

.This is a small soft Elf that parents will hide every evening and the children of the house have to race around and find it every morning! Sounding very simple, this can be an extremely fun and engaging for the adults - have a look online - there are so many different ideas for where to hide him!

Many radio stations play only Christmas music for the whole of December – Magic Radio is my favourite! Don't forget that listening to music in English is great for your listening skills... The link is here...


A lot of people will go to church at midnight on Christmas Eve – this service is called Midnight Mass and it's a very festive event.

Gifts from Santa, go into a Christmas stocking, which is placed at the bottom of the child’s bed during the night (as if delivered by Santa himself). Often the other gifts are placed under the tree. The children will awake - with huge excitement.... the presents are opened as early as the parents will allow...

Christmas Day morning is the one day of the year where most people start drinking at around 11am – Snowball (Advocaat and lemonade - Good Food have a wonderful receipe) and Bucks Fizz (Champagne / Prosecco with Orange Juice) are two of my favourite drinks to start the day off!

For the children, the Christmas stocking ( the actual presents!) is the highlight!

For adults, sharing food and drinks with family and friends is the vital part! Groups of people will get together for a Christmas lunches, parties, dinners – you name it...

Turkey is the usual meat (tastes a bit like chicken, but is big enough to share with lots of people), with brussel sprouts, roast potatos, parsnips, pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon) gravy, cranberry sauce.

Followed by Christmas pudding and Christmas cake, with brandy butter.

This is followed by biscuits with a selection of cheeses, which are eaten with Port (fortified red wine).

The table is beautifully decorated – complete with crackers... These are very strange items – made from cardboard, with a small strip of explosive in the middle ( which goes bang when two people pull it apart) – inside this item there is a paper crown, a small gift and a joke or phrase, which everyone gets to read. The person who wins the largest part gets the prizes inside.

After lunch, families will get together to play games and watch Christmas films on TV.

During the Christmas period, there are also a lot of Christmas specials of your favourite TV shows.

Our Queen makes a speech at 3pm UK time on Christmas Day – this is a message to the Commonwealth and it watched by millions on television, all around the world.

If there is a group of people – be it in the office or a group of friends – they may do 'Secret Santa'. Everyone buys one present for one person and no one knows who is buying for them.... That way, everyone buys just one present and each person receives a gift.

Mulled wine – This receipe is mine and is guaranteed to taste delicious - Give it a go!!

We would usually drink this during the entire festive period. It is generally paired with delicious mince pies.

If you have any questions, or would like any further information about this festive time, please feel free to drop me a line!


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