With the holidays come a variety of traditions.
How or what one chooses to celebrate is the result of a variety of reasons, including one’s location and upbringing.
The annual festivities look vastly different in households across the world. And there are some Christmas traditions in the UK that are unheard of and just plain confusing for those in the Unites States.
Here are 8 UK Christmas traditions that would baffle most Americans, along with the verdict of Indy100's Daisy Maldonado.
Putting a silver coin in the Christmas Pudding
Christmas pudding, which is also known as figgy pudding or plum pudding to some, is a holiday dish served in the UK. It's essentially a boiled cake that is made with dried fruit, spaces, and soaked in alcohol that is enjoyed after Christmas dinner.
The interesting detail about this tradition is that a silver coin is typically placed within the pudding as it’s said to bring luck to the person who finds it.
This is Christmas pudding with lots of sultanas, raisin, currants - it usually has a silver coin hidden in it to br… https://t.co/qAp6WSRlnB— EAPCCT (@EAPCCT) 1577087991
Daisy’s verdict: While as a Mexican American my family celebrates something similar on the Three Kings' Day with the Rosca de Reyes, I’ve always found this tradition to be a major nerve-wracking choke hazard.
A silver coin is placed inside a figgy pudding to bring the finder some luck. One year my sister got the coin so I… https://t.co/QqibzkMOQ8— Debbie Smith (@Debbie Smith) 1544099596
Sure, you might have some good luck headed your way if you have the coin, but truly, at what cost?!
@Provident_Loans #win the xmas pudding as chipped my tooth last year on a silver coin my aunt put in it 😪😩— Lisa (@Lisa) 1480351390
What do a silver coin, wishbone, silver thimble and anchor have in common? Any of these could be found inside a traditional Xmas Pudding.— Michelle Krell Kydd (@Michelle Krell Kydd) 1290994900
Watching the Queen’s Speech
Starting out with King George V’s first radio broadcast in 1932 on the BBC’s Empire Service, the royal Christmas message has become an annual spectacle watched by millions every year.
The Queen's Christmas speech topped the 'most-watched' list for Christmas Day. ICYMI, read what she said and take a… https://t.co/iYNO94KREC— The Crown Chronicles (@The Crown Chronicles) 1514312196
The Queen’s Christmas message features Her Majesty discussing current issues as well as tidbits on what Christmas means to her.
Daisy’s verdict: Perhaps it’s because I’m American, but I can’t possibly imagine gathering with my family to watch a speech from any US president on Christmas Day. There’s nothing jolly and fun about that—at least in my opinion.
Imagine falling in love with someone then finding out their family gathers to watch the Queen’s speech at Christmas.— Evan (@Evan) 1606861617
My cousin had to stay in London for Christmas Day and her boyfriend’s family gave her spiced beef and made her watc… https://t.co/w6O9IyEhMe— Holly Carpenter (@Holly Carpenter) 1608974970
Imagine ur Christmas being dead enough to actually watch the Queen’s speech and the entire family not being plaster… https://t.co/IwLtBRUETY— 𝙢𝙖𝙙𝙨 (@𝙢𝙖𝙙𝙨) 1575559930
A holiday limited to the British Commonwealth, Boxing Day is celebrated the day after Christmas Day.
The name historically derives from when the rich used to box up gifts to give to the poor. This was traditionally a day servants were off-duty and would receive a special Christmas box gifted from their masters. They would then go home and give Christmas box to their families.
Though it originated as a holiday to give gifts to the poor, nowadays it is primarily known as a shopping and sporting events day.
They say you learn something new every day and I just learned that Boxing Day is a Canadian/UK thing haha How di… https://t.co/c35x5JAXmZ— Sheri 🇨🇦 (@Sheri 🇨🇦) 1577392017
Daisy’s verdict: So is this basically just Black Friday but in December? I, for one, would love to have this become an American tradition. What is Joe Biden’s plan to make Boxing Day an American holiday?
You go shopping on boxing day, I sleep on boxing day, we are not the same— nonamenofame (@nonamenofame) 1577352795
Pulling Christmas crackers
Another tradition that dates back to Victorian times, Christmas crackers are cardboard tubes wrapped in colorful paper that are pulled apart by two people, make a loud cracking sound and revealing a small toy, riddle or joke, and a tissue-paper crown.
So Americans don’t know what Christmas crackers are..... I hate it here. https://t.co/foG4vTwfoR— Anthony Ogogo (@Anthony Ogogo) 1622240147
After opening the crackers, people will also wear the paper crowns throughout the Christmas meal.
me and my husband telling each other the jokes out the crackers on Christmas Day after spending every single hour o… https://t.co/PErqR5XHCm— lucy (@lucy) 1608574433
Daisy’s verdict: By the looks of the name I thought this was going to be a snack of some sort, so I am pleasantly surprised.
This one sounds particularly fun. It’s short, sweet, and simple—what’s not to like?! I’m motioning to participate in this festivity with my family this upcoming Christmas, and I won’t be taking no for an answer! Plus, it would make such a stellar stocking stuffer!
Going to the pantomime
A Christmas pantomime, which is occasionally referred to as a ‘panto,’ pantomime, which are eccentric musical comedies based on famous fairy tales. British people will watch the performance throughout the holiday season and will bring along the whole family as it is a family-friendly show.
The theater performances involves plenty of slapstick humor and the opportunity for audience participation, making it an engaging watch for all.
Pantos also are known for their hilarious pop cultural references and the actors dressed in drag.
Get your little people ready!!! At 9.30am the @cbeebieshq Christmas in Storyland will be on TV! It was such an abso… https://t.co/Vcxy1VAUbj— YolanDa Brown (@YolanDa Brown) 1607765117
Daisy’s verdict: I love this one! Many Americans I know go and watch a Broadway show on Christmas or even go to the movies. This sounds like a much more festive version and now I have to go to a pantomime.
Brilliant! Oh yes it is!!! #MotherGoose is #Lol-a-minute Christmas cracker family panto; fab sets, costumes, script… https://t.co/nkGvs3YFv7— Graham Walker (@Graham Walker) 1513591220
Every year, UK retailers such as John Lewis, Sainsbury, and Tesco, release their Christmas advertisements. These aren’t your usual typical commercials though as they're typically short films that share a heartwarming story.
John Lewis' ads are probably the most popular of them all. Some people even count down to the day when the adverts are released.
Does anybody remember this Christmas ad? It's from the John Lewis department store in the UK and it was directed b… https://t.co/ypaN6Gp5kr— Down the Inkwell (@Down the Inkwell) 1575050470
Daisy’s verdict: This reminds me of the craze surrounding Super Bowl commercials. I think they’re sweet and enjoy watching them. In the past, some popular UK Christmas commercials have gone viral and they’re usually really lovely. Can’t say I would count down to their release though. But hey, no judgment here.
"Christmas No. 1" single.
The tradition of the British "Christmas No. 1" single has been largely celebrated for over half a century. Beginning all the way back in 1952, the top song on the British singles chart has been a coveted spot every Christmas since. Christmas number ones are singles that are top of the UK Singles Chart in the week in which Christmas Day falls. The songs don’t have to necessarily be Christmas songs but they can be.
Some of the “Christmas No. 1” alumni includes artists such as The Beatles and Ed Sheeran. The most recent Christmas number one single is "Don't Stop Me Eatin'" by LadBaby.
Every Official Christmas Number 1 of the past 10 years - who will join them in the festive hall of fame this year?… https://t.co/ZELub1gNi8— Official Charts (@Official Charts) 1638378026
To celebrate the 70th Christmas Number 1 race in 2021, and the release of The Official Christmas No. 1 Singles Book… https://t.co/wSjTQMZmwG— Official Charts (@Official Charts) 1637928013
As of yet, The Beatles who currently hold the title of most Christmas No. 1s of all time with four.
Daisy’s verdict: TBH this is probably the most confusing tradition. To my understanding, this is basically like the Billboard Hits 100 of the week, except there is particular importance surrounding the week of Christmas. Don’t quite understand why this is so celebrated unless you mix in a good bet with your family on who you think will take the spot.
Brandy and carrots left for Santa
On Christmas Eve, British children will typically leave out mince pies, Brandy for Santa Claus and carrot for the reindeer.
Daddy's best brandy! Mummys chocolate biscuits and nice pies! And carrots for the raindeers. Happy Christmas!! 🎅🎅🎅 http://t.co/RdnK2fRbr2— btcc forever (@btcc forever) 1419447137
@DearNorthPole Merry Christmas! Mince pies, brandy & carrots are waiting : )— Sam Hall (@Sam Hall) 1293222035
Daisy’s verdict: I always loved the innocence that comes with leaving milk and cookies out for Santa to enjoy as a kid. Maybe it’s just me, but leaving out liquor for St. Nick takes away from the childish pure fun of it all. I always took particular joy in serving the milk and cookies by myself, so can’t imagine my parents allowing me to serve brandy!
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