Learn about Christmas traditions in the UK and build your vocabulary with this visual lesson about Christmas celebrations in the UK.
Hi, I’m Ben from Ifluent English, and this is the English learner's guide to Christmas celebrations in the UK.
Let's start with Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve is on the 24th of December and is the day before Christmas.
Some of the activities people might do on Christmas Eve are; Go Carol singing, Attend a Midnight Mass or Go to a pub…
Carol singing is the singing of traditional Christmas carols, especially by groups going from door to door. Sometimes Carol singers are given money in exchange for spreading Christmas cheer.
Some people will go to church to observe a special Christmas service, sometimes called Midnight mass. This usually takes place between Evening and Midnight.
Going to the Pub
Other people will choose to go to the pub with friends and family, to celebrate Christmas by having a drink.
Christmas Eve is also the night that Santa comes to deliver his presents.
Santa is also known as Father Christmas in the UK.
Children write letters to Santa listing their requests. Santa reads these letters and decides which children have been naughty or nice. On Christmas Eve, Santa will come down the chimney to deliver the presents to the good kids.
Children believe that Santa Claus leaves presents in stockings that are usually hung above the fireplace or by the children’s beds on Christmas Eve. In the UK, it is traditional for children to leave out mince pies and milk for Santa and his Reindeer.
Reindeer help Santa on Christmas Eve by pulling his Sleigh. He has 9 of them, the most famous being Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer.
Santa also has other helpers called Elves. Elves are small people with pointy ears that work in Santa’s workshop making the toys. They also help Santa by looking after his Reindeer. The singular form of the word Elves is Elf.
The next day is Christmas Day
Christmas day is on December 25th.
On Christmas day in the UK, people will exchange gifts called Christmas presents. These presents are usually wrapped in a thin paper called Christmas wrapping. Children will also open the presents left in their stockings by Santa.
Sometime in the afternoon, between 3:30 pm and 6 pm, family and friends will cook and eat a big meal called a Christmas dinner.
A Christmas dinner traditionally, but not always, includes a big cooked Turkey. The Turkey is usually accompanied by various other foods, meats and vegetables such as Chicken, Pork, Roast Potatoes, Stuffing, Brussel sprouts and pigs in blankets. Pigs in blankets are Sausages wrapped in pastry.
Christmas pudding and Mince pies are also consumed on Christmas day.
Christmas pudding is a cake-like Christmas dessert. It is made from various types of dried fruits, among them raisins, figs and prunes as well as eggs and breadcrumbs.
A mince pie is a fruit-based pastry pie, usually made from raisins, sultanas and candied peel.
Christmas crackers are used to decorate the table at Christmas Dinner. Two people will pull a cracker, either during, or after their Christmas meal. Inside each cracker is a banger that will make a small bang when pulled. Crackers usually contain a paper crown hat, a little gift and a joke or motto. The person who gets the bigger half of the cracker when it is pulled gets to keep the contents.
The Queens Christmas message
In the UK, the Queen of England will give a speech on Christmas day which is shown on TV. The Queen typically uses the speech as a chance to reflect on the year and any major events that may have occurred. She may also make a comment on her own personal milestones of the year and express her opinion on Christmas in general.
The day after Christmas day is Boxing Day
Boxing day is on December 26th.
Boxing day is a public holiday in the UK which means most banks and businesses are closed, although a few supermarkets and local shops may stay open. People in the UK usually use this day to relax with friends and family, eat any left-over food from the day before or watch the Boxing day sports on TV, such as Football or Horse Racing.
Various decorations are used throughout December to celebrate Christmas. Most people in the UK start putting up decorations around the begging of December.Some decorations used are Christmas Trees, Christmas Lights and Christmas Cards.
Christmas trees are decorated trees. They are usually decorated using Christmas Baubles, Tinsel, Candy Canes, Christmas lights and a star or angel at the top of the tree. Some families also store their presents under the tree until they are opened on Christmas day.
Christmas Lights are lights used for decoration in preparation for Christmas.
They can be used to decorate Christmas trees, houses and shopping centres. Outdoor Christmas lights are sometimes used to decorate gardens, towns and even city high streets. Some towns and cities will hold an event when their Christmas lights are turned on, that you can go watch with your friends and family. Sometimes a celebrity will turn on the lights in a town or city.
Christmas cards are Christmas themed greeting cards that are given to friends and family. They will usually contain festive messages and good wishes personally written by the sender. Christmas cards can also be used to decorate the mantle pieces in peoples homes.
That's it for this lesson.
Thank you for watching and Merry Christmas!
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