In the UK (or Great Britain and Northern Ireland), families often celebrate Christmas together, so they can watch each other open their presents!
Most families have a Christmas Tree (or maybe even two!) in their house for Christmas.
The decorating of the tree is usually a family occasion, with everyone helping. Christmas Trees were first popularised the UK by Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.
Prince Albert was German, and thought that it would be good to use one of his ways of celebrating Christmas in England.
Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe are also sometimes used to decorate homes or other buildings.
Most villages, towns and cities are decorated with Christmas lights over Christmas. Often a famous person switches them on. The most famous Christmas lights in the UK are in Oxford Street in London.
Every year they get bigger and better. Thousands of people go to watch the big ‘switch on’ around the beginning of November.
Like a lot of countries, Nativity Plays and Carol Services are also very popular at Christmas time.
The Church that I go to always has a Carols by Candlelight Service where the church is only lit up by candles.
It is a very special service and always makes me feel very Christmassy! Lots of other British churches also have Carols by Candlelight and Christingle services.
The most famous UK Carol service is the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols which is broadcast on Christmas Eve at 3.00pm from the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge.
In the UK, the main Christmas Meal is usually eaten at lunchtime or early afternoon on Christmas Day. It’s normally roast turkey, roast vegetables and ‘all the trimmings’ which means vegetables like carrots & peas, stuffing and sometimes bacon and sausages.
It’s often served with cranberry sauce and bread sauce. Traditionally, and before turkey was available, roast beef or goose was the main Christmas meal. One vegetable that is often at Christmas in the UK are brussel sprouts.
Dessert is often Christmas Pudding. Mince pies and lots of chocolates are often eaten as well!
Trifle is also a popular dessert at Christmas. It’s made in a large bowl and consists of a layer of sponge cake (or sponge fingers) at the bottom of the bowl (which is often soaked in sherry or brandy) then there’s a layer of fruit (normally suspended in a fruit flavored jelly) and it’s topped with a layer of custard and then whipped cream.
In Scotland there’s a variation called ‘Tipsy Laird’ which uses whiskey to soak the sponge and the fruit are raspberries.
The dinner table is decorated with a Christmas Cracker for each person and sometimes flowers and candles.
The UK is also famous for Christmas Cake – some people love it and some people really don’t like it! It’s traditionally a rich fruit cake covered with marzipan and icing – and often top with Christmas themed cake decorations like a spring of holly.