Despite the day being done and dusted, the Christmas spirit is still well and truly alive. While the presents have been opened and the chocolates (only slightly) delved into, there’s still plenty of turkey left over in every household, even at Sandringham, and the Christmas television continues all the way through until New Year. We’ve seen articles over the past week all about being with (and dealing with) the in-laws like a Duchess, and how Christmas Eve works in the Royal Family but what about those very British traditions which Kate will have grown up with? Well, look no further…
While the Royals open their presents on Christmas Eve, the British (..men, mostly) are still out scouring the shelves for the last few present and some are probably only just beginning their shopping, having once again told themselves they would have everything bought in November. Once everything is wrapped and under the tree, one of the busiest nights in the British alcohol-consumption calendar commences in pubs around the country to welcome in Christmas so we all wake up with well deserved hangovers in the morning.
Talking of Christmas morning, we British serve up breakfasts of smoked salmon or eggs benedict or sausage sandwiches – anything that we wouldn’t have on a normal day..as well as stuffing our faces with chocolates. Some families open both stocking and tree presents when they wake up, whereas others open presents from their stockings first thing, and wait until after lunch or the Queen’s speech to open the presents from under the tree. Christmas dinner is usually eaten between 1pm and 3pm and is traditionally based around turkey with roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, sausages, stuffing and seasonal vegetables. Pudding can be trifle or cheesecake, Yule Log, or Christmas pudding, and at 3pm precisely, it’s time to sit around the television for the Queen’s annual Christmas message.
Christmas evenings revolve around the television and all the Christmas special episodes. Somebody (most years) dies in Eastenders, they bring back an old classic for a one off episode, the obligatory Doctor Who special etc. While the TV rating battle is going on, the evening meal is usually tea and cakes, turkey sandwiches, sausage rolls, crisps – something light and not too filling with puddings left over from lunch.
Boxing Day is the day after Christmas and it’s a lot like Christmas but without the presents. It’s usually the same lunch and the same dinner, but you can actually leave the house and go out this time to the Boxing Day sales – think of it like Black Friday. Queues of people stand outside shops waiting for them to open to get the best of the sales although, many of these people are just tourists and the British these days are much more likely to shop online from the comfort of the settee while they rest of their food-coma. Another tradition is the Boxing Day hunts; fox hunting is actually now illegal in the UK but every year on 26th December, the horses and dogs come out across the country and engage in some legal versions of hunting amongst the large crowds that gather.
New Year’s Eve is probably the busiest night in the British drinking calendar. Up in Scotland where Kate went to university, Hogmanay is a huge deal. The celebration of the New Year starts in pubs up and down the country, or at somebody’s house for ‘prinks’ or pre-drinks before everybody makes their way out on the town into the nightclubs to welcome in the New Year to Auld Lang Syne once again!