15 December 2011

Christmas, English Style

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

As my daughter will remind you in her daily countdown,
Christmas is only 10 days away!

I believe today is '10 Lords A-Leaping' Day :)

Christmas in England is very similar to the US
with Christmas trees, stockings, carolers, and Christmas cards
{ generic ones only - a photocard of your family is considered self-absorbed }

Outdoor decorations are kept to a minimum with just a few 'fairy lights', if anything at all

Children leave mince pies and milk for Santa, instead of cookies

Mince pies filled with fruit, spices, and sugary syrup

Hot alcoholic drinks are in great variety
I just tried my first not-so-favorite Hot Toddy today
{ whiskey, honey, spices, hot water }

But thumbs up on the warm Mulled Wine :)

Absolutely no eggnog to be found - that's American { & Canadian }

Traditional Christmas dinners will include turkey, stuffing & Christmas pudding in England

Christmas Crackers are pulled open between two people
with little surprises falling out
- a paper crown, trinket, or something written on a piece of paper -

Christmas trees are placed in flagpole holders on the village high streets

There are some outdoor skating rinks in winter
Below, Henry VIII's Hampton Court serves as a beautiful background with an Ice Marshal (?!) on hand

Nature provides some of the quintessential Christmas decor,
such as holly

and parasitic mistletoe in the trees
{ original idea for Christmas ornaments? }

As they say in England,
Happy Christmas!
to you this holiday season

May it be cheery and bright :)

all photos by me


Robynne's Nest said...

Laura, I really dig the mulled wine thing here, and am trying to work out how I can continue this tradition when we return to Oz and temps at christmas are possibly in the high 30's! However, they can keep their hot toddy!! Have a great weekend. Robx

Ola said...

Very interesting to see how in other countries Christmas is celebrated!

Robyn said...

Ah-Christmas! But-Merry Christmas-not so happy.Did we not decide that before...

Maxabella said...

I spent four christmases in England and loved them so much. It's a wonderful time of year. x

A Brit in Tennessee said...

I still keep the English Christmas traditions alive and well, the Mince Pies, Plum Pudding and custard, Trifle, and don' forget the Sausage Rolls !
My grandchildren can't wait to pull the Christmas crackers and see what prizes they get, and everyone is more than willing to wear the paper hats, a must at the dinner table :)
A lovely post, it's a magical time indeed.

topchelseagirl said...

I've never tried eggnog, the name is a bit off putting. Yes those family photo cards Americans send have always seemed a bit odd to us. Love your holly photo.

Sunray Gardens said...

Interesting about the Christmas crackers and the little pies.
Cher Sunray Gardens

Pom Pom said...

Putting the trees in the flag pole holders is brilliant!
Funny about the photograph cards! We've already received so many!
Thank you for sharing. Reading your quips is fun!

Razmataz said...

Do you live near Hampton Court?

Marilyn said...

Interesting mistletoe picture. I knew it grew in trees, but does it always look like a round ball up there?

Sallyford said...

Hello Again! I'm actually embracing the American art of sending photo cards- back to my folks in Britain this year, lol. We also took the boys on a Christmas tree hunt (photos on my last post) which is a great American Tradition we want to continue. I never thought about the Christmas card difference until you pointed it out =) I notice there is no 'Boxing day' here either. Also we don't do a Christmas letter either. Is this just in books or do Americans still do this? I think it's a great idea. 'Happy Holidays' Sally xxx

ann said...

We Yanks do tend to go overboard don't we? I love driving around looking at all of the Christmas lights on homes. What do your children miss? Are they easily embracing the new traditions? Merry Christmas to you, as well.

chris said...

How fun to see holly and mistletoe in their proper element! Lovely photos and Happy Christmas to you.

TexWisGirl said...

we have plenty of mistletoe in the trees here, too. the trees in the flagpole holders is very different! :)

I Dream Of said...

Happy Christmas to you! I'd love to experience a London Christmas - or at least come just before to do my Christmas shopping. Save me some mulled wine, please!

Country Nanny said...

I'd like to spend a Christmas in England or in the USA. I think the traditions of both these countries have something special.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Mulled wine and ice-skating at Hampton Court sounds lovely to me. :)

Jennifer said...

Christmas in England sounds lovely! The differences in tradition are very interesting. (Personally, I think the holiday can be a bit too overdone on this side of the pond.) Wonderful photos, as always. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas!!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

@ Robyn - I know, go figure :)

@ Razmataz - we don't live near there, but isn't it lovely?!

@ Marilyn - not always perfectly round, but definitely a 'mass'

@ Sallyford - nope, no Boxing Day in the US. Christmas letters are still written by those with motivation and time ;)

@ Ann - my kids miss SNOW!!

wayside wanderer said...

Oh, love mulled wine and would prefer that over eggnog any day. Tons of mistletoe here, too. TONS. I need to go stamp my self absorbed photo Christmas cards and get them in the mail today. (That made me laugh.)

barefoot mama said...

I love how different things can be and still have the same warm feeling:)

um...Hot alcoholic drinks are in great variety..sign me up!! and eggnog is nasty anyhow..haha! ~B

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Just for the record, we send photocards to our American friends & family each year. We love receiving them too :)

loveandlilac said...

Can I mention that other uniquely British Christmas event - Panto! The leading man is played by a woman and the Pantomime dame is played by a man (oh no he isn't, oh yes he is etc).

lisaroyhandbags said...

Ah yes, the mince pies! I loved that about Ireland too. It's so unfestive here in Dubai - no snow, no carollers, no Christmas music on the radio, no Christmas lights, no Santas at the malls, no toy commercials. Gosh, I could blink and miss the whole thing!

Barbara said...

mince pies instead of cookies...well that's something!

Floss said...

A lovely description! To me, there are quite a lot of outdoor lights in the UK these days. Have you visited a council estate yet? Anyway, I'm spending my time here in France trying to describe an English Christmas to my pupils/adult trainees. The differences I highlight are not the same ones you pick out: Christmas cards hardly exist in France at all, and it's perfectly acceptable to travel to or from your holidays or family on Dec 25th - the day itself isn't as important as the season. And the biggest difference is: no religion. No baby Jesus, no carols. I think that's why French adults are quite disinterested in Christmas - it's mainly a children's present-fest. Thanks for your lovely glimpse of an English Christmas - have a great one!

you should be out on a meadow said...

don't you love christmas crackers?
i didn't grow up with them so they always seem like such a treat.
but you can find them in the states.
apparently it is a tradition in a lot of families.
(just not mine. sniff sniff until now that is)
i'm still thinking of your finland trip last year.
how will silly old mall santas ever compare.

Joyce said...

We loved Christmas in England...we skated at Somerset House and Kew too, both so beautiful this time of year. Happy Christmas to you and yours!

Erin S. said...

I love English Christmases. I think Europeans in general just do Christmas better than we materialistic Americans. Please go to a candlelight carol service for me (pretty please....). Didn't you do a post on one last year? That's one of the things I can't recreate Stateside. I loved your picture of the holly, too.

Jen said...

Everything looks so beautiful, warm, inviting, and delicious. So glad you are enjoying the season. Happy Christmas to you!

camp and cottage living said...

Thank you for bringing us a little touch of Merry Ol' England. I sure have never see trees hung from flag poles before! So neat.
Oh, and I loved your cake holder with the adorable heels!
Seasons Blessings to you-Kimberly

Hines-Sight said...

Love this. Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

It is funny that Santa has different preferences for sweets depending on the country he visits on Christmas Eve. I guess endless plates of cookies would be tiresome! The trees hanging in the flagpoles look bizarre to me. Happy Christmas to you!

Zosia said...

Thank you for the beautiful summary of the Christmas customs and great photos. I especially like the photo with the mince pies on the cake stand with the shoe.

Pat said...

Great photos. My British colleagues brought mince pies to the staff meeting, but I prefer milk and cookies!

Iota said...

Milk and mince pies? Father Christmas in our house gets whisky! (And have you noticed how he's Father Christmas in England, Santa Claus in Scotland, and just Santa in the US?)

ms.composure said...

LOVING these pics!! and that stand in the first pic is 2 cute!!



Amy W. said...

Have been viewing your blog for a hand-ful or so of months!!
Always so delightful to drop in on you, your picture are beautiful and I always learn something about the part of the world you live in that I otherwise wouldn't have known about!
Wishing you a Merry Christmas Celebration.....and a Wonderful Up-Coming
New Year too!!!

Amy W. said...

Oops!! Excuse Me!! Typo-error!!! In the previous post.....I meant to say "Your 'pictures' are beautiful"!!!

Celestial Charms said...

I love many English Christmas traditions, especially the Christmas crackers, which my family has now adopted here in Texas. I never noticed the small Christmas trees on the flag poles on my previous visits to the U.K., but that is very interesting. Funny about the "Happy Christmas" greeting, because when I was younger I always thought that "Merry Christmas" was something brought over to the States with the Pilgrims. It seems like such a British saying...who knew! ;)
Anyway, wishing you and your family a very Merry and Happy Christmas!

CHRIS said...

Peace and happiness to you this Christmas Season from where the the turkey will roast on a 35+ degree day. xx

Meera @ firstsense said...

Have a wonderful, joyful Christmas and New Year!!

Meera xx

Robynne's Nest said...

Merry Christmas Laura, gosh where did December go...I can't even get near my blog to update...hopefully tomorrow! I look forward to your very entertaining posts in 2012! Robx

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Happiest of Christmas' to you and your family Laura. So fun to read the differences between the U.S. and the U.K. I ended up spending the Christmas holiday home in the Seattle area, so missed out entirely on what Christmas is like in Scotland. I hated to miss what it would be like but went back to the U.S. in Nov. to apply for my visa so I can stay for a min. of 2 years and work. On the 26th I'll be back in the U.K. and back to reality.

I hope your holidays are wonderful and Happy New Year!

Cheers ~ Deb

Desire Empire said...

Your shots are lovely. I've only ever had one white Christmas in Austria, when I worked in At Anton.

I'm having a great giveaway over the hoidays. The prize is a coastal style interiors book. If you have time I'd love it if you would pop over and join in.
Carolyn xx