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Wednesday 9th of December 2015
Christmas in the UK
Are you heading to the UK for the holidays? Maybe to visit British family or just for a festive change of scenery? If, like Chris Rea you are ‘Driving Home for Christmas’, then you’ll be interested to know that although British Christmas traditions are pretty similar to that of the US, there are some additional things about ‘Chrimbo’ in the UK that might leave you slightly confused.
I’m Dreaming of a Wet Christmas.
It’s widely regarded as a British pastime to complain about the weather, or to just talk about the weather in general. And it’s a weird notion, over in the US we have a really diverse weather system, but the UK doesn’t really see dramatic shifts in the weather, and winter is usually all about the rain. That doesn’t stop the Brits from dreaming of a white Christmas; every year they wait with baited breath for a blanket of white snow to coat the country on Christmas Day, but there’s more likely to be rain than snow, so you don’t need to worry too much. Although you’ll probably need to stock up on the anti-freeze otherwise you won’t be going anywhere in your rental car in a hurry.
Wherever you’re picking up your rental car from, there’s sure to be a Christmas Market nearby. A tradition across the whole of the UK, the Christmas Market consists of lots of German Gluwein, a spiced mulled wine that the country seems to go mad for during the holiday season. Make sure that you’re not the designated driver if you’re getting involved though, as Gluwein can be surprisingly potent.
There are lots of things about Christmas Day that’re different in the UK than in the US. For example: pigs in blankets, Brussels sprouts and crackers. Now that may sounds like a collection of random words squashed together, but in fact they’re three of the most common sightings on a British Christmas Day. You’ll find Brussels sprouts on your Christmas lunch alongside pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon) and you’ll be obliged to pull a Christmas cracker with a family member. There are a whole host of treats inside a Christmas cracker, including a bad joke, a novelty toy and a paper crown – after all, you can’t enjoy Christmas in a Kingdom without a crown!
After lunch, you can relax like royalty in your paper crown, and watch real royalty on the TV. The Queen’s Speech is an annual Christmas tradition in the UK, where Queen Elizabeth II delivers a royal address to the nation, the first of which she made in 1957.
Almost unheard of in the US, the British pantomime is a much loved holiday tradition in the UK and every city in the country is almost guaranteed to have one. The epitome of British eccentricity, the pantomime, or ‘panto’ is a theatre show, generally aimed at younger audiences that involves slapstick comedy, water pistols, pantomime dames (usually male actors dressed as very flamboyantly dressed women) and audience participation. You haven’t experienced a true British Christmas if you haven’t been to the panto – so take advantage of your Easirent rental car and add the panto to your Christmas list.