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Top UK Christmas Traditions

12 December 2022

Can you feel it?

With Christmas music appearing and the smells of minced pies wafting around, the festive period is truly on the horizon. But as you prepare your presents and tree this year, take a moment to reflect on your Christmas traditions. Do you really know where they come from?

In this blog, we’re looking at the UK Christmas traditions from the past and present. Some you’ll recognise, but some might seem slightly odd… You never know - you might find a new festive tradition to add to your list!

Ready to boost your holiday cheer? Keep on reading to find out more.

Placing a Coin in the Christmas Pudding

We’re kicking off the list with a tradition that’s not nearly as popular as it once was. That’s right; it’s placing a silver coin in the Christmas pudding.

Christmas pudding is a specific type of fruit pudding that has been enjoyed as far back as the 14th century. Common ingredients include prunes, wines, currants, raisins, spices, and here’s the odd one - a silver coin!

This strange holiday tradition dates back to the court of King Edward II. Back in the day, a dried pea or bean would be placed inside the Christmas cake, and whoever got this slice could be Queen or King for the day.

Celebrating Boxing Day

To Brits, Boxing Day is the time to kick back, relax, and enjoy turkey sandwiches made from Christmas dinner leftovers. But did you know Boxing Day isn’t celebrated worldwide?

This UK tradition doesn’t have a clear origin, but the most prominent theories suspect Boxing Day stems from tradesmen receiving a ‘boxing’ (AKA gift) after Christmas Day. No, this day has nothing to do with boxing matches!

Today, most UK residents use this public holiday to visit relatives after the main Christmas festivities. However, there are always football games on too!

Presents on the 25th of December

All main Christmas celebrations in the UK occur on the 25th of December - Christmas Day. Of course, this includes the giving and receiving of gifts. However, this isn’t actually normal around the world.

Many European countries complete gift-giving on the 24th of December, a day before the main event. Also, some Spanish-speaking countries give gifts the day after Christmas. This leaves the UK and the US in the minority - remember this when you open your stocking on the 25th of this year!

Mince Pies

Mince pies and Christmas go hand in hand. Full stop.

These small pastries filled with dried fruit, currants, and spices are a core UK Christmas tradition. And no, mince pies aren’t served with mincemeat!

This festive UK snack is a tradition still seen throughout the nation today. You’ll see these in Christmas markets, on family tables, and many children leave these historical nibbles out for Father Christmas too! No one goes without here.

Christmas Crackers

Pulling a Christmas cracker is all part of the holiday fun.

If you’ve attended a Christmas lunch, dinner, or party in the United Kingdom, you’ll have witnessed a Christmas cracker pull. These table decorations are pulled by two people, revealing a party hat, a joke, and a small gift. A holiday dinner isn’t complete without them!

These fun decorations received their name from the “cracking” sound when you open them. Did you know? Crackers were first invented in the mid-1800s by a sweet maker named Tom Smith. Smith was inspired by the crackle of firewood and wanted to make a popular Christmas-time gift.

Attending the Pantomime

Want a more dramatic UK Christmas tradition?

Pantomimes, also known as ‘Panto’, is a staple tip for many families across the UK. This is a type of musical comedy show that’s created for a family-friendly audience, and it’s a favourite amongst children.

These shows cover well-known fairy tales and childhood stories, and directors mix in drag and pop culture jokes to make them more modern. Popular choices include Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.

The Royal Speech

For decades families across the nation have embraced the Queen’s Christmas Day speech.

Each year, the late Queen Elizabeth appeared on national television to wish the nation a merry Christmas and a happy new year. 2022 will be the first year the public tunes into a King’s speech, as King Charles keeps the tradition going.

Though short, these speeches are watched by millions and are an essential aspect of Christmas culture across the UK.

The Takeaway

So, have you found any new UK Christmas traditions on this list? Or did you know them all already? Whether you’re strict about tradition or go with the flow, adding new seasonal activities to your holiday plans is always fun.

From the team at Flexispot UK, we wish you a merry Christmas!

We’ll see you in the new year.

Find more Flexisport UK blog content here, or shop the latest ergonomic office deals here.