It really is the most wonderful time of the year! There are so many things about Christmas which bring festive cheer and a sense of warmth – from bright lights, to nativity plays and carol concerts.
But how much do you know about some of our greatest traditions?
These are our 5 favourite ones, and a little history about these weird and wonderful British Christmas traditions.
We are all familiar with the name Boxing Day for the 26th December – but did you know it is not actually recognised in many other parts of the world?
So what is Boxing Day? Nothing to do with the sport of boxing – but the idea is about boxing up gifts to give to those less fortunate than you.
It stems from a time where Lords and Ladies would give their servants a box of gifts, plus the day off to spend time with their families. That sentiment has stuck – Boxing Day is a public holiday and most of us go visit our loved ones.
Silver Coin in the Christmas Pud
Did you find the 20p in your Christmas Pudding? Luck you!
This is another age-old tradition – likely to go back to King Edward II’s reign. Finding a dried pea in your portion of the pudding would mean you got to be crowned King or Queen for the day.
This has evolved from a sixpence to a silver coin today.
Pulling Christmas Crackers
Festive tables are often decorated with Christmas Crackers. These little paper parcels are pulled apart with a snap to reveal a joke, party hat and a small gift. Can it be a Christmas dinner without them?!
It is likely they originated in the mid-19th Centaury where sweets were sold in little packages with a riddle around Christmas time.
They didn’t sell well at first so the sweet maker Tom Smith added the snap. The cracker tradition was born.
A Christmas Panto
Have you tried to describe a panto to a foreigner? They do sound rather daft – but such a heart warming British tradition.
A Christmas Pantomime is a a musical performance based on popular fairy tales, and mixed up with current cultural moments.
Jokes, high jinks and a little bit of ‘it’s behind you’! Brits have been going to panto around Christmas time for centuries and the fun and frolics set the tone for the festive season.
The Royal Christmas Speech
The sovereign’s message is on the timetable for many of us at 3pm on Christmas Day. This makes it one of the most viewed shows of the year.
The first Christmas message was from King George V in 1932.
That version was by radio of course, with Queen Elizabeth II doing the first televised version in 1957. The message typically sums up the year and offers words of encouragement for the year to come.
It has been delivered every year, except 1969 – the year the Royal Family released a documentary instead.
Most of us are familiar with the Queen’s speech. This year will be the start of a new tradition for many of us as we hear a King’s Christmas speech for the first time.
What traditions do you have Christmas? Whatever you like to do to make your day special – everyone at Shurgard would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.