Even though it has been a long time since Christmas, I still want to share with you all the British Christmas traditions introduced to me by my uncles. This year I decided to celebrate Christmas in London and experience what it actually feels like to celebrate Christmas. Because my family does not celebrate most holidays, up until now, I only had a vague idea of what people do during Christmas: opening presents under the tree. Although I still cannot tell you the true meaning of Christmas and how Americans celebrate Christmas, I can share with you how my uncles celebrate Christmas the British way.
Instead of having a big meal on Christmas eve like in the US, British families gather for lunch on the day of Christmas. Here is a close up of my meal:
Main Dish: Roast Turkey with stuffing and gravy + Cranberry Sauce
People used to eat geese, pheasants, and boar for Christmas, but not until this last half decade has turkey became the mainstream meat. The first English king to enjoy turkey was Henry VIII in the 16th century. However, Edward VII made eating turkey fashionable at Christmas. It seems like most holidays with large family gatherings always need turkeys on the table.
Second dish: pigs in blankets
Pigs in blankets is a traditional British dish with bacon wrapped around sausage and is very popular side dish.
third dish: roast potatoes
I think potato is a common theme among British dishes. The side dish always has some form of potato: mashed potato, roast potato, chips…
fourth dish: Brussels sprouts with chestnut
Although most people don’t like Brussels sprouts, it’s still widely eaten on Christmas. I tried to research on why this is the case, and it might just be that the harvest season of Brussels sprouts is right around Christmas.
fifth dish: Parsnips and Carrots
These are some extra vegetable dishes to go along with the heavy meat dishes.
Dessert: Christmas pudding, minced pie, christmas cake, chocolate candies
If you have a sweet tooth, there are lots of desserts to satisfy you with. I think that most of the desserts taste very similar because they are all made of dried fruits. They are also loaded with sugar. However, many of these desserts used to be savory as fruits and spices were added to preserve beef and mutton.
drink: Mulled wine
The Gluhwein is the German equivalent of mulled wine in Britain. Mulled wine is served heated and very popular as I have seen it in all Christmas markets I have been to.
Tradition 1: Christmas crackers
Two people pull on either side of the cracker, and it contains a small toy, paper hat, and a joke. We all read our terrible jokes and laugh at how stupid they all are.
tradition 2: wear the paper hats from the christmas crackers
Just for fun… I don’t understand this part.
tradition 3: gather around the tv and watch the royal christmas message
At 3:00 PM on Christmas day, a broadcast of Queen Elizabeth goes live. She talked about the major events that happened during 2017 and her milestones.