While there’s a rather large part of me that would kill to be sunning myself on a beach in Australia, there’s something special about Christmas in England that can’t be recreated anywhere else. Here’s 10 things you’ll notice about Christmas in England as Brits embrace the holiday season with a unique combination of grumpy cynicism and festive cheer.
1. Christmas shopping
From approximately mid-October, we start to stress about buying the perfect gifts for our loved ones. But somehow, shopping trips end up vastly unproductive until mid-December where frantic panic buying commences. Except for that one friend who pipes up chirpily, “I got all my presents in the sales last year so I’m all finished”. Cue threatening glares from everybody else in the room.
2. In fact, shops in general
Beware: grave danger awaits at any retail outlets in December. Aisles blocked by prams, death by overheating in your coat, hat, scarf and gloves, the battle to the death for a parking space. Thank God for online shopping.
3. Christmas films
They’re inescapable and we love it. ITV are showing Love Actually three times this week and let’s be honest, we will happily sit through them all. Other personal favourites include The Holiday, The Muppets Christmas Carol and….Die Hard. Yes, it’s a Christmas film.
4. TV overload
Normal scheduling goes completely out of the window as Christmas specials dominate. Want to watch films back to back for the entire week of Christmas? It’s completely possible. Even if you haven’t watched an episode of Dr Who or Eastenders all year, the Christmas Day specials suddenly become essential viewing.
5. The Queen
3pm, Christmas Day. There’s nothing more British than the Queen’s Speech.
6. High spirits like never before
Most commonly heard phrase during Christmas in England? “Oh go on, it’s Christmas.” Offices everywhere are decked out in tatty pieces of tinsel, we drive our colleagues and family crazy with Shakin’ Stevens on repeat and a tipple before midday has never been more socially acceptable. We Brits know how to party when we’re cracking out the Baileys with a breakfast of chocolate coins.
7. All the food
Along the same vein as number 6, the entire nation comes over with the munchies over Christmas. And there’s so many options, available for a limited time only, that it’s completely acceptable to enjoy a turkey sandwich, mince pie, slice of Yule log and assorted Mr Kipling favourites all in one sitting.
We’re a stylish nation that falls into two categories: those who point blank refuse to don a paper hat and those who rock the crown from the moment of pulling the cracker until bedtime. I fall into the latter. Don’t judge me.
9. Christmas cards
Why do we do this? It’s stressful from start to finish. Then we feel pressured to display our cards until mid-January when they start falling from the walls and we can chuck the whole lot in the bin.
10. Pigs in Blanket
Truly the best thing about Christmas in England? I’ll take an entire plate please.
How British is your Christmas? Buzzfeed put together this great quiz to help you find out!