Saunders 1865 | UK Christmas Traditions vs US Christmas Traditions

UK Christmas Traditions vs US Christmas Traditions

As a team, we have a wealth of different nationalities in the office from British (Welsh and English), to French, Sri Lankan and not forgetting American. As office discussions go, our latest one proved pretty insightful particularly regarding the traditional “Christmas dinner”.What I love about Christmas is the individual family traditions – When do you open presents? Where do you eat dinner – with family or friends? Bread sauce or no bread sauce? The list is endless and this is just in British households.

With the help of our American colleague, Alyssa, here’s a list of ways (which is by no means exhaustive), Brits do the festive season differently to Americans:
Christmas Grub!

This was the topic that started our debate.Every family has their own special additions to the usual turkey, veg and potatoes.It might be; red cabbage, carrot and swede mash or chestnuts.It’s completely up to you. A dead cert are pigs in blankets, more commonly known as cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon.
Bread Sauce

This is Ann’s particular favourite which is a savoury sauce, best served with Turkey. Although you can buy it in a mix or packet, it is definitely one I’d suggest making from scratch.

Click here to access Nigella’s famous recipe
Mince Pies

No Christmas would be complete without Mince Pies and a glass of Mulled Wine. These are small, sweet pies filled with currants and spices. They have a light dusting of sugar and are best served warm. They are perfect with a glass of hot Mulled Wine on a cold winters night.
Christmas Pudding

This is something that is traditionally only served on Christmas Day. It’s a dried fruit pudding which includes; currants, raisins etc. and can be moistened with the juice of citrus fruits or more commonly flambé with brandy!It’s best served with hot custard, cream, or brandy butter.

Click here to access Delia Smith’s Christmas Pudding Recipe
Christmas Cake

Have you spotted the theme yet? This cake also contains dried fruit but unlike the others it’s very rich and quite heavy. Traditionally made months in advance and topped up with alcohol, it’s decorated with an inch of hard icing and a festive message.

Click here to access Delia Smith’s Christmas Cake Recipe
Christmas Crackers

These non-edible treats are truly unique in 3 ways!First, they make a “bang” sound when you pull them with the person next to you. Second, you’re provided with a funky, colourful paper crown to be worn at the dinner table and last but not least, the cheesy treat which awaits you. A plastic ring? A lock & key? A pack of cards?
Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech is a true British tradition established in 1932.It’s the one time of the year that the Queen speaks directly to the Commonwealth nations and provides her year in review.  It’s always broadcast on Christmas day, usually at around 3pm.
Boxing Day

This is a public (bank) holiday on 26 December.It’s commonly a day spent with family and friends, relaxing and eating leftovers.It’s also become popular to hit the Boxing Day sales in search of the bargains.

A Pantomime (Panto) is a traditional theatre performance based on a popular childhood story, for example: Jack the Beanstalk, Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Cinderella etc. It’s a show designed for children or families incorporating singing, dancing, slapstick comedy and audience participation.  The most famous catchphrase is “It’s behind you…”
Exclusive American Traditions

The one thing we don’t tend to have in the UK is Eggnog. This is a true American tradition and one which hasn’t quite caught on here yet. American’s also tend to head to the Cinema/Movies on Christmas day to catch the latest Blockbuster releases.  However, in the UK, cinema’s etc. shut down completely. Instead, families tend to watch Christmas TV specials of their favourite shows including; Downtown Abbey and Doctor Who etc.

Hopefully this has given you an insight into a traditional British Christmas!As previously mentioned, Christmas dinners aren’t set in stone so add remember to add your own unique twist!

Happy Holidays everybody!

Kirsty & all the team at Saunders 1865



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