Five Fantastic English Christmas Traditions We Yanks Should Adopt

Five Fantastic English Christmas Traditions We Yanks Should Adopt

Stir It Up Sunday: Celebrated on the Sunday before Advent, the terms is drawn from the opening words from the day in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer of 1549. “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Many recipes for English Christmas puddings (desserts, often baked) call for the mix to be fixed and then rest for several weeks before being served; ladies and their cooks would therefore prepare their hearts – and their meals – for the Advent and Christmas season.  Wouldn’t hurt me to do a little baking, and heart preparation, in advance.

Christmas Crackers are not vehicles for tidbits of the Christmas Cheese ball!  Instead, they are snappy little rolls that ‘crack’ when two people tug them apart like a wishbone… and find a delightful surprise inside.  Wrapped in Christmas paper, they are a festive way to convey a tiny gift of any kind; traditionally they included a joke and a paper crown and who can’t use more laughter and bling?  Today, crackers may also include a love note, a tube of lip gloss, some cuff links, an engagement ring, or anything you can imagine!

Christingle: Christingles remind me of the traditional orange with cloves pomander commonly seen in the US, but since their adaptation by the Church of England in 1968 they also have spiritual significance.  The orange represents the word, the red ribbon ’round it the blood of Christ, the four sticks stuck in the sides with dried fruit or candy for the four “corners” of the earth and the candle, Christ, the light of the word.
 
Boxing Day: A holiday that likely began in the middle ages, it was traditionally a day for employers to present a gift to their employees, they presented a “box” filled with gift or money the day after Christmas.  At my house, it’s the day for boxing up the gifts and recycling the wrappings.  Best of all – it’s another legal holiday and therefore one more day off from work.  What’s not to celebrate?

{ Main photo used by purchased permission of IStock Photo }

{ Christmas crackers photo credit: By en:User:Cgros841 (Image:ChristmasCrackers.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3340811}

{ Christingle photo credit: By Timmywimmy at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1542946}

{ Photo credit for wrapped gift: Kari Shea @ Unsplash, https://unsplash.com/search/presents?photo=CqKNkmNNLnI }

12 Comments On This Topic
  1. amyc
    on Dec 7th at 7:48 am

    My favorite Christmas tradition is having my family come over for dinner on Christmas Eve.
    Thanks for the great post!
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  2. Joanna
    on Dec 9th at 11:04 am

    My family is from Holland, so a great Christmas tradition is the making of Ollenbollen. My Opa would make them each year and now that he has passed, my stepfather has taken up that tradition. We all laugh at the little jokes we have about the treats but it just wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

  3. Kathleen Kelly
    on Dec 10th at 9:52 am

    Since my four children live in different parts of the United States, they don’t always get to come home for Christmas so it is a treat when they are all home at the same time. That time was last year. This year they will not all be home. Sad for me but that is ok. With today’s technology, they are a phone call or skype away!! Love reading your blog, I always learn something new!!! Happy Holidays Sandra!!!

  4. Britt
    on Dec 10th at 9:55 am

    I love the tradition of being together. My favorite part about holidays is the fun time we spend together. We play with puzzles, eat yummy snacks, chat about whatever, bake deliciousness and hang out together. That is my favorite thing of all!

  5. Merrie
    on Dec 10th at 9:58 am

    Because my little family has always lived at 200 miles from my husband’s and my families, so our annual Christmas drive “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house” was filled with of Christmas caroling and light looking for hours! Since our recent move further away, we’ll be flying there – I sure hope the other passengers enjoy our singing. “We wish you a merry Christmas…”

  6. Colleen Turner
    on Dec 10th at 10:06 am

    Oh my gosh, we used to get Christmas Crackers all the time when I was growing up. We used to have the best time popping them and lunging for the goodies :).

    My favorite Christmas tradition is baking cookies with my family. I usually get together with my cousin and bake cut out, frosted cookies with her a few weeks before Christmas. And on Christmas Eve my son and I bake cookies for Santa :).

    Merry Christmas Sandra!

  7. Barb Salzer
    on Dec 10th at 10:37 am

    Each year we do ADOREnaments, where a different name of God is highlighted each day for 12 days. I buy family presents for us to open each night after we do the reading.

  8. Kerry
    on Dec 10th at 1:07 pm

    My mum always makes the plum pudding 6 weeks before Christmas, putting silver coins in the mix. The pudding mix is then wrapped in linen and hung up on a door knob and left until Christmas Day..

  9. Rebecca P
    on Dec 10th at 1:26 pm

    My family loves traditions and we create new ones all the time. Two that come to mind is:
    My mom aways would put an orange in the bottom of our stocking. We have these awesome stockings that my mom made when we were little.
    We could open our stockings first.

    When i was little we would give oranges to friends and play handbells for them.

  10. Natalie
    on Dec 10th at 8:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I liked the Boxing Day the best out the suggestions.

  11. Debrah Nash
    on Dec 11th at 11:18 am

    Our tradition has always been to have the Christmas Eve service with Communion. For our family this is so important so we can remember the sacrifice of the Father and the reason that Jesus came to us. We would then go out Christmas light looking, laughing and stopping at our local Git -n- Go for drinks and snacks. Lastly, we would go home and open our gifts and thank the Lord once again for the gift of His life for us. Now that our family has grown and we are all scattered through the U.S. and overseas the memories live in our hearts.

  12. sandrabyrd
    on Jan 10th at 9:43 am

    Thank you all for commenting – Colleen, Random.org drew your number as the winner. I’ll be emailing you soon. Happy New Year everyone!