1. Going to pantomimes.
Why it’s great: Christmas pantomimes involve terrible jokes, shouting, men in drag, and occasionally getting to throw things at the stage.
2. Obscure celebrities turning up to switch on the town Christmas lights.
Why it’s great: The more obscure the reality show, the better. Some of the fancy streets in London might get a legit celebrity for the occasion, but these are far less thrilling than someone who didn’t win The X Factor turning on the Stevenage lights.
3. Eating exclusively mince pies for the entire month of December.
Why it’s great: They’re genuinely awful the first five times you try them as a kid but once you get used to them they taste like Christmas.
4. Leaving booze out for Father Christmas.
Why it’s great: While American kids might leave out milk and cookies for Santa we leave out some sort of booze and a mince pie, so he can drink and…fly? And a carrot for Rudolph of course.
5. Having Christmas crackers.
Why it’s great: Christmas crackers contain a small amount of gunpowder, toys, paper hats, and jokes. All of the jokes are genuinely terrible and everyone has to read them out and groan at how bad they are.
6. Wearing paper hats to eat Christmas dinner.
Why it’s great: Because everyone looks universally silly.
7. Having Quality Street, Roses, and other barrel-sized tins of chocolates in your house.
Why it’s great: At Christmas in the UK it is traditional to have large tins of sweets in your house that you never really buy, but sort of “acquire”. Every family has one sweet that they hate and try to give away to guests for the duration of the Christmas period (looking at you, orange cream).
8. Smashing, then eating Terry’s Chocolate Oranges.
Why it’s great: Oranges. But they’re made of chocolate. GLORIOUS.
9. Displaying Twiglets in bowls around your house at parties.
Why it’s great: Seemingly present at every Christmas party in the UK, they taste a bit like Marmite and are weirdly addictive.
10. Serving the turkey with PROPER pigs in blankets.
Why it’s great: Not those tiny American pastry things with a sausage in the middle, but sausages wrapped in delicious, delicious bacon. America, bring these to your Christmas dinners we promise they will change your lives.
11. Eating Yorkshire puddings.
Why it’s great: Not ~everyone~ in the UK has these with their Christmas dinner because they’re traditionally served with beef, but quite frankly they SHOULD. The fluffy batter makes an excellent gravy holder and they improve basically all meals.
12. Having bread sauce.
Why it’s great: Bread sauce is basically a creamy sauce made of breadcrumbs. It makes no sense and looks a bit vomity but it’s surprisingly delicious.
13. Setting fire to a Christmas pudding.
Why it’s great: Like most things at British Christmas the plum pudding contains loads of booze. It is traditionally doused in brandy and set on fire. And then served with more brandy.
14. Eating sugary alcoholic butter with all your desserts.
Why it’s great: Brandy butter is a gift from the heavens and America should definitely adopt it. You can put it on Christmas pudding, or mince pies, or just eat it out of the tub with a spoon like a heathen.
15. Pouring brandy sauce over everything.
Why it’s great: Another alternative Christmas pudding topping. It’s loads of cream mixed with Cognac and it is verrryyy good.
16. Making, and not really liking, a Christmas cake.
Why it’s great: Christmas cake is a special fruit cake with a ton of marzipan and icing on top. It has to be prepared ages in advance, and of course, it’s soaked in booze.
17. Watching the EastEnders Christmas Day episode as a family.
Why it’s great: EastEnders is an important British TV institution and the Christmas Day episode is where we find out who died/did the murder/cheated on their wife. It’s generally all very dramatic and tragic, but it brings people together.
18. Drinking shitloads of ridiculous booze.
Why it’s great: While America might have eggnog, we do sherry, port, brandy, sloe gin, Cointreau, and other spirits that will have you falling asleep in front of the TV after two glasses.
19. Going on a bracing Christmas Day walk.
Why it’s great: At a certain point on Christmas Day in most British households someone will decide that everyone has been inside too long, so you will don your new gloves and hats and take a bracing stroll to the local park (or the countryside, if you happen to live there). It is also tradition for children to complain about this every year.
20. Boxing Day.
Why it’s great: Boxing Day is Christmas part two, and it’s a public holiday like Christmas Day, so almost everyone gets at least a four-day holiday. You can either spend it at the Boxing Day sales (the equivalent of Black Friday) or sitting at home nursing your hangover and chain-eating Lindor chocolates.
21. Spending a whole week off work.
Why it’s great: A lot of workplaces in the UK totally shut over the Christmas period and don’t properly open again until after New Year (except retail, doctors, pubs, etc. sadly). It gives everyone time to sit in their parents’ houses with the heating up too high and get annoyed with their relatives, then rush back to their own houses to actually relax. It’s great.