The Magic of Christmas in England

If you’ve ever considered going somewhere different for the holidays, I can vouch that England is a good option! Granted, I go to spend time with my in-laws, rather than as a true tourist, but nonetheless, it’s a great time whether you have relations over there or not.

Here’s are the top reasons:

#1 You might see Santa on a canal. I did! We went punting in Cambridge and came across all kinds of festive characters. Who needs a sleigh when you can use a canoe?


#2 Festive holiday markets. Borough Market in London is no seasonal market. It’s open year-round, as has been for 900 years! It’s my favorite market in London, has an incredible selection of foods, and during the Christmas season, it’s got its extra charm with lights and wreaths.

#3 A pretty snapshot of a Christmas wreath on a door just may be a juicy bit of history. I found this door by the London Globe Theatre. Turns out, it’s the door to the home of Sir Christopher Wren, then architect of the famous St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the home of Catherine of Aragon.


#4 Feasting on Christmas dinner in a cozy country pub. We made a change this year, and rather than the stress and work of a Christmas Day home-cooked feast, we went out to a dinner at a wonderful pub nearby. Classy meals with the option of traditional feasting or unique flavors. I had the fish, not a typical Christmas meal for me, but delicious. If you don’t have friends or family in the UK, you’d probably opt for a pub dinner as well. It’s worth it! Just plan ahead. For nice pubs, you should book your meal a month in advance.


#5 Christmas crackers. Have you heard of these? They’re such a fun tradition that entertains young and old. In each cracker, you get a hat (a paper crown), a paper with a riddle on it, and a prize – often high quality prize. What you do is pick up a cracker, ask someone at the table to pull with you, and you pull the ends until you hear a pop. The goodies inside come gushing out, and the person with the bulk of the cardboard outer layer gets to keep the treats. Rules to Christamas crackers: you must wear the paper crown (as I’m wearing in the photo above), you must read the silly holiday-themed riddle included, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a really cool gift that’s worth keeping (perhaps a keychain, a napkin ring, a mini cheese grater, a pencil and notepad).

#6 It’s green. A thing about Christmas in England, contrary to what many films would have you think, a white Christmas is a rare thing. You’re more likely to get a gray, rainy day. But— the fields stay green! So green!

#7 Fruit cake is good in England. I grew up thinking of fruitcake as the world’s heaviest, least appetizing cake I could imagine with neon green candied cherries. Not true! It is a hefty bit of denseness, but English fruit cake, commonly called Christmas Cake, is much tastier than what I experienced in my youth. Plus, the English style comes with a nice, smooth white frosting, and in some versions (the best version) – a layer of marzipan, too. My mother-in-law, Jane, makes sure to decorate the cake with Santa each year.



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