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The Great British Christmas

Updated on December 4, 2015
Lyra Wildwood profile image

Lyra Wildwood is a freelance content writer for various publications websites. In her spare time she enjoys country life and writing poetry.


In Britain, Christmas is one of the leading celebrations of the year. For many, it is a religious observation, but for others, it is the perfect excuse to participate in some merrymaking, some booze-ups, and some general misbehavior. Oh yes, the Brits will find any excuse in the book to be kids at Christmas.

So, why do we put ourselves through the frantic planning that comes at this time of year? Is it the religious meaning that has us all gathered around the tree, opening useless gifts and spending far too much money? Or is it the memories and traditions of our childhoods, that golden nostalgia, that beams us all back into the good olds days of yesteryear?

By researching various tabloids, I have compiled a list of Christmas traditions enjoyed by the masses for years. Some may give you a cold sweat whilst others might bring back some fond memories.

So, why not grab yourself some mulled wine and see how many you can relate to.

Let the festivities begin...

  1. The Christmas Eve dash for things often forgotten, such as the orange and lemon segments, the Cranberry sauce, Cello-tape, wrapping paper, or a Christmas gift for a forgotten uncle.
  2. Christmas pantomimes, where we are usually found shouting ‘oh no it isn't’, 'oh yes it is' and 'it’s behind you!’
  3. Our houses usually have Christmas decorations vomited onto the outside of them.
  4. We set out the traditional Nativity set with the customary three-legged camel and headless cows.
  5. We buy a Christmas tree. Be it big or small, real or plastic, it shall have tinsel, Christmas crackers, chocolates, a fairy, angel or a star (decision dependant on who wears the trousers in the home).
  6. Replacing Christmas tree bulbs and removing the odd adventurous cat from inside the tree.
  7. Getting the kids to tick off toys from a Christmas catalogue.
  8. The customary cheeky drinks at a Christmas Eve party or local pub, where one turns into more than a few pints, and a kebab on the walk home.
  9. On Christmas Eve, we gather the kiddies to watch The Snowman.
  10. Who needs children when we all become children at Christmas? Age limits go out of the window and we are often found playing board games, lego and Twister.
  11. Snuggling up and reading ‘The Night Before Christmas’.
  12. Listening to the Festival of 9 Lessons and Carols from Kings College Cambridge whilst wrapping presents or basting the turkey, accompanied by a large glass of mulled wine.
  13. The obligatory opening of one gift on Christmas Eve.


The frenzy continues...

  1. Snacking on cheese with biscuits and Christmas cake because diets officially end on Christmas Eve.
  2. Knocking back a glass or two of Mulled wine, to help get you through the gift wrapping.
  3. No matter how much you plan, you know you'll be up wrapping gifts until at least midnight.
  4. Tracking Santa's sleigh online whilst watching the children overcome with sheer excitement.
  5. Suggesting that Santa loves beer, in a sly effort to consume something you enjoy this year.
  6. Assembling Christmas toys whilst intoxicated and then realising the next morning that the labels are all wonky.
  7. Running out of gift tags and cello tape... Every year!
  8. Filling the kid’s stockings up with gifts, but unknowingly transforming each one into the loudest, crinkliest things on planet earth, with an average output of at least 1000 decibels which increases in volume the nearer you get to your child's bed.
  9. Sneaking about like a burglar and accidently treading on something noisy, freezing on the spot, and carefully leaving the room without screaming expletives. Dropping or kicking something on the way out is also expected.
  10. Carefully placing presents under the Christmas tree to create an illusion that there is double the presents compared to last year.
  11. The customary hangover on Christmas morning.
  12. Children tearing your bedroom door open at 3 am to tell you 'he's' been.
  13. The parade of the ridiculous Christmas jumper and if you're really cool, a pair of matching festive socks.


The anticipation sets in...

  1. Mum making you wait outside the living room door until you’re at a ‘wee yourself a little bit’ level of excitement.
  2. Cooking up a huge Christmas breakfast fit for a king, with the customary black pudding or if you’re feeling rather posh; smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, accompanied by Bucks Fizz or any alcoholic drink (because it’s Christmas).
  3. The highlights of the morning of which is laughing to ‘almost peeing yourself’ point when the dog or cat goes crazy in the used up wrapping paper, left on the floor.
  4. The only vitamins you get at Christmas, are from the tangerine left in the bottom of your Christmas stocking.
  5. The look of sheer suspense on Dad’s face when he finds out what ‘Mum and Dad’ got the kids for Christmas.
  6. Listening to a Christmas CD whilst cooking up a feast and drinking copious amounts of wine (because it’s Christmas).
  7. Eating the roast turkey (or whatever your preferred beast) dinner with all the trimmings, followed by an air of grievances and the odd feat of strength.
  8. Doing the obligatory drum roll for the arrival of the flaming Christmas pudding.
  9. It wouldn’t be Christmas without brussels sprouts and the side effects of eating them.
  10. A true Brit is a king at Christmas with a paper crown to prove it.
  11. Christmas Stockings with the traditional tangerine placed at the bottom of it.

The Christmas endurance test...

  1. Pulling a Christmas cracker and reading lame jokes at the dinner table.
  2. The predictable ‘Christmas is ruined!’ meltdown, at frequent intervals throughout the day.
  3. Bingeing on excess food until your waist explodes or worse, until you suffer angina as a result of your greediness.
  4. Watching one version or another of the movie 'A Christmas Carol'.
  5. Knowing that Dad will receive a pair of socks this year.
  6. Getting blind drunk and falling out with at least one relative (because it’s Christmas).
  7. The feeling that Christmas Day has become an endurance test for the brave.
  8. Sleeping through The Queen’s speech and eagerly awaiting the Dr Who special on the BBC.
  9. Playing board games where relation A & B form a cheating alliance against relation B & C, and vice versa.
  10. Remembering old time terrestrial television, in the days when you knew almost everyone in Britain was watching exactly the same thing.
  11. Eating a tin of sweets and being secretly determined to eat all of the best ones, before offering the tin around the rest of the room.
  12. Mowing the turkey curry buffets on Boxing Day, or the legendary turkey and gravy sandwiches.
  13. Passing off re-wrapped, unwanted Christmas gifts at family gatherings.
  14. The joys of Christmas substance abuse and the legendary New Year’s resolution to be healthy.
  15. Repeating all of the above on New Years day.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to comment at the end of this article, with your favourite Christmas tradition.

Wishing you a Happy Christmas!

© 2015 Lyra Wildwood

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