Christmas traditions in the United Kingdom.

Mince pies, Reindeer, Stockings and Music. Just some of the features of the largest holiday event in the United Kingdom. Here you will learn some of the most common traditions of Christmas in the UK.

Like many countries around the world, Christmas in the UK is centred around Santa Claus AKA Father Christmas, who is based on St Nicholas.

A very wealthy man from the 4th century, Saint Nicholas built a reputation of helping the poor and giving secret gifts to those who needed it, he started to be depicted as Santa Claus long after his death in 16th century Europe. In modern day Santa Claus is synonyms with Coca Cola, there is a common myth that Santa Claus wearing red was a creation of Coca Cola. This is untrue however, Santa Claus is depicted as wearing red as St. Nicholas would frequently wear red bishop robes.

Christmas time in the UK is considered to start on the 1st of December, this is when most families tend to put lights on their house, decorate their Christmas trees and open the first door from their advent calendar.

Germany are considered to have begun the tradition of putting a Christmas tree in your house and decorating it with lights and baubles. Germans began decorating trees in their house in the 16th century, it is widely considered that German protestant reformer Martin Luther popularised decorating a tree when he used to put lighted candles on his tree which he thought would bring the look of twinkling stars into his home.

The advent calendar on the other hand is believed to have originated in the 19th century when religious families would make a line of chalk for every day in December until Christmas Eve. Similarly to Christmas trees, candles played a big part in the origin of advent calendars, as the first advent calendars didn’t feature chocolate like is traditional today, but instead they would have candles behind every door.

Christmas day itself has many traditions, one of which is the opening of Christmas Crackers. Christmas crackers are thought to have been created by sweet maker Tom Smith in the 1800’s. When sitting by his fire, Tom was intrigued by the cracks and sparks coming from the fire. This gave him the idea of his sweets opening with a crack.

Stockings are another Christmas tradition, they are thought to have originated with the 1823 poem by Clement Clarke Moore titled ‘A Visit From Saint Nicholas’. The poem ended with the line “Saint Nick filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk and laying his finder aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose”.

These are just a small puddle in the ocean of traditions Christmas traditions in the UK. Just 18 more sleeps to go!

Posted by:

Jack Pursey
Sales and marketing

About me

I deal with the sales and marketing side of the college. I have a vast range of responsibilities, including preparing student offer letters, assisting with visa applications, and arranging student accommodation. I am also responsible for the College’s social media pages, where I aim to increase the company’s online presence. Outside of work my interests are predominately sports-related, I have played many team sports over the years such as Football, Cricket and Basketball. As well as individual sports such as snowboarding and tennis.

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