In honor of the passing of Queen Elizabeth, we wanted to give everyone a little insight into how Christmas is celebrated in the UK. We asked our friend Roxy, owner of Taste of Britain, to share some of her personal favorite traditions.
Christmas is a massive deal in the UK. There are so many little elements that truly make it so festive and so special. Just like the holidays here in the States, we go all out decorating our homes. Some families go wild with the lights or evergreen boughs. Some stick to traditional colors, and others go for more whimsy.
Regardless of the decorating choices, you can bet there are always stockings hanging from the mantle and mistletoe hung throughout the home. The tradition of mistletoe dates back to the ancient Druids, who believed it contained mystical powers that bring good luck. We leave our decorations until the “Twelfth Day of Christmas,” the 5th of January.
Every household will also have certain traditional foods. At the Christmas table, the centerpiece will be turkey and stuffing, and dessert is always a Christmas pudding. Before you eat anything, you must pull your Christmas cracker with the person sitting next to you and put your paper crown on your head. We would never dream of eating before we put on our crown! The Crackers, which you can find in our market, always come with a joke or riddle, a small gift and a paper crown.
The Christmas pudding, made with an array of mixed dried fruit, is often lit before eating by pouring Brandy over the top, setting it alight and serving with Brandy butter or custard. So delicious! In days gone by, they would have hidden a coin inside the pudding, and whoever got the coin would have luck for the coming year.
Some of the other “must-haves” in the home would be Mince pies, which date back to the Middle Ages. Dried fruit and spices fill the pies and are served hot or cold throughout Christmas. Every home will also have a tin or two of Christmas Chocolates and a large tin of chocolate, lemon and cream-filled biscuits/cookies.
Markets and festivities abound all season. Outdoors, the streets are filled with vendors roasting chestnuts and carolers crooning old favorites. This Christmas, families will gather to watch the new King George III give the beloved Christmas day speech. It will be a bit emotional, as most of us have only ever known her Majesty to do this. The Christmas Day speech was started in 1932 by George the V, who gave the address via radio and is an iconic moment shared by all.
If you’re feeling particularly festive and long to bring some great British traditions into your home for the holidays, please stop by and let us help you pick out something perfect!
73 S Peachtree St, Norcross, GA 30071