Sunday, November 29, 2009

Making Christmas British

If you are an Anglophile, like me, and your dream is to spend a Christmas in London, but you are not quite there yet, why not recreate one or two special things that make you feel like you are there. You are probably doing many things already. You can visit this site for more ideas and information about Christmas traditions in the UK.

Nothing screams England like Charles Dickens at Christmas, and almost no one escapes "A Christmas Carol" in December, whether it's seeing a movie version, (like the one out now), or just reading the book. The new version of "Christmas Carol" isn't my cup of tea, however, I love many of the older versions and will watch at least one.

Send Victorian Christmas cards this year. The Victorian Trading Company has some beautiful cards to buy, or create your own using Victorian papers from the craft store.

Have a Harry & David fruit basket on hand during the holidays. They are expensive, but worth it.

Lights. Go see them in the biggest city near you. Get out of the car and walk, just walk, in the cold air and pretend it's London!

Recipes. Make a plum pudding or trifle, and explore other British recipes at this site. Who doesn't like trifle? Try a mulled wine or mince pie.

Go Christmas caroling with friends and family.

Make Christmas crackers.
Learn how to here.

Visit an old Church of England type-church for Christmas service. (This is one of my English dreams that has not come true yet). Or just listen to the King's College Choir online...pure heaven and very British! You can learn more about the choir from an earlier post here.

Visit a local or relatively close English style pub, if you can find one, nearby. The atmosphere there at Christmas must be extra special.

Stock up on English foods
at your local British goods shoppe. I have to travel 45 minutes to get to mine, but it is worth it to have something special during the holidays.

Take high tea with some friends or host your own.
It doesn't have to be expensive, just have teas available, buy, (or make), scones at your grocery store, and biscuits from the British goods shoppe.

See a "West End" ish ballet or play. If you can find an English-style pantomime, even better!

Listen to the Queen's Christmas Day Speech. (from wikipedia: "The Queen's Christmas Message is a broadcast by Queen Elizabeth II to the Commonwealth at Christmas. The tradition began in 1932 with a radio broadcast by King George V on the BBC Empire Service. Today the broadcast is made on television and radio via various providers." Here is the one from last year.

Celebrate "Boxing Day," (also called St Stephen's Day or Feast of Stephen), on December 26th.
"In England, Boxing Day, celebrated on December 26th, is traditionally a time to give gifts to tradesmen, servants, and friends. It originated in medieval times, when every priest was supposed to empty the alms box of his church and distribute gifts to the poor. Wealthy people indulged in huge Christmas feasts, and when they were finished, packed up the remains of feasts in boxes and gave them out to their servants. It didn't become widely celebrated though until Victorian England." (from For more ways to celebrate Boxing day, go here.


  1. Haha, my mother is an Anglophile (an Elizabethan-era lover, to be exact), so we always had a very British Christmas growing up. We always do pudding, wassail, crackers, and Boxing Day, too! In fact, I've only been recently married, so I requested all her old recipes to make this Christmas, since it isn't Christmas without them. :)

  2. It sounds like you'll be carrying on those traditions in your new life, which is great.

    I love your website and have linked it. Thanks for your comments. :)