7 Ways to Have a Merry British Christmas

Here at Buckswood Overseas Summer School (BOSS), we are often being made aware of “very British things” by our partners, by our students and by our students’ parents. These “things” are things which usually, us British people aren’t aware of as to us, they are just normal. Things such as always saying “sorry”, even to objects that we may bump into; loving to queue; always talking about the weather and always insisting that other people go through a door before us. There are more, but being British we aren’t necessarily aware of them all. (If you are, please let us know in the comments below!)


British quirks intrigue our students constantly and while we understand that Christmas isn’t necessarily a thing in all of the countries where our students come from, we thought it might be interesting to share some British Christmas traditions that we have here in the UK. Things that many families will be doing this Christmas and things that you might be able to do with your own family to inject a bit of “Britishness” into your own holiday this year.


So without further ado, here are our 7 ways to have a merry British Christmas this year:


1. Tell bad jokes


On the British dinner table at Christmas, you will always find something called a “cracker”. A cracker is something that is tube shaped, usually made from paper, containing three things, a Christmas hat made from paper (that usually tears when you put it on your head, or maybe that’s because I have a big head), a thing such as a magic trick or a set of small screw drivers and our personal favourite – very bad jokes. These are jokes which are so bad that we actually love them. Jokes such as:


Q. Why did Santa go to the doctor?

A. Because of his bad "elf"!


Q. What goes Ho Ho Whoosh, Ho Ho Whoosh?

A. Santa going through a revolving door!


The list of Christmas cracker jokes goes on. And on. And on. And if you feel like injecting a bit of Britishness into your Christmas, why not tell some bad jokes. There is a website full of them here. Enjoy!

2. Bake mince pies


Is there anything more Christmassy than the smell and taste of warm mince pies? A mince pie is a sweet pie of English origin, filled with a mixture of dried fruits and spices called “mincemeat”. Traditionally served during the Christmas season in much of the English-speaking world, mince pies are a must for your merry British Christmas. They hold the very essence of Christmas in their delicious pastry crusts and nothing can beat one, warm from the oven with a nice cup of tea!


Bake your own mince pies using the fantastic recipe that you can find here.


3. Walk in a forest


Pop your mince pies into a bag with a nice flask of warm tea and head off into a forest. Here in the UK, forests at this time of year are beautiful and paint quite the Christmas scene. Yes, it might be cold and muddy but as we say here at BOSS, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes,” so wrap up warm and make sure you’ve got a good pair of boots on your feet.


Take a pair of scissors and look out for Christmassy plants and trees such as holly, berries, ivy, conifer, pine cones and of course Christmas trees, all things that you can use to make your Christmas wreath!

4. Make a Christmas wreath


Use the holly, berries, ivy, conifer and pine cones and flex your creative muscles to make your own Christmas wreath. Christmas wreaths are something that you will typically see hanging on the front door of many British homes. They are an easy way to bring a little festive magic into your home and don’t only need to be hung on your door. They can also be hung in the hallway, or used as a centrepiece on your dinner table.


You may be wondering how to make a Christmas wreath but never fear, you can find the instructions here.


5. Cook a traditional Christmas dinner


British food is always a much debated subject within BOSS circles and the Christmas dinner may possibly be added to that list of, “What? Do you really eat that in the UK?” The roast dinner is a staple dish on any British menu and when it’s served on our menu in the Buckswood dining room, the response and reactions amongst our international students and British staff couldn’t be more opposite. Our British staff literally jumping up and down and punching the air with delight at the mere sight of gravy while the majority of our international students stare into space as if searching for the meaning of life.


A traditional British Christmas dinner is a variation of the traditional British roast dinner with the main differences being the turkey, the stuffing and the cranberry sauce so grab a pen and paper and make your shopping list now. You will need:


  • A turkey (or we can recommend Tofurky if you don’t eat meat)

  • Potatoes

  • Stuffing (a dressing made of herbs that you stuff into the turkey)

  • Yorkshire puddings

  • Gravy

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Cranberry sauce

6. Watch the Queen’s Speech


Once you have finished your Christmas dinner, put your feet up in from of the TV and watch the Queen’s Speech. Usually broadcast on the BBC at around 15:00 (UK time), the Queen’s Speech, or the Queen’s Christmas Message in which Queen Elizabeth II talks about the year that has been and the year ahead. The tradition began in 1932 and has taken place every year since.


7. Spend time with your family


At the end of the day, Christmas is all about spending time with family. Without family, who are you going to tell your bad jokes to? Who are you going to bake mince pies for? Who are you going to walk in a forest with? Who can admire your Christmas wreath? Who will you share your Christmas dinner with and who would you watch the Queen’s speech with?


We hope that you have enjoyed reading our 7 ways to have a merry British Christmas and will at least give a few of our suggestions a try. If you do, we’d love to know all about it so please do share your experiences in the comments section below.


Are you a parent still wondering what to get your kids for Christmas? Well we have some Christmas gift ideas and one of them is to give the gift of BOSS this Christmas and not only will your child benefit from improving their English, they will also grow in confidence, improve their social skills, broaden their minds, become more independent, experience life in the UK, learn the value of hard work, learn how to work in a team, make new friends and of course, they will have a lot of fun. The gift of BOSS is certainly one of the more unique Christmas gifts and more than your standard Christmas gift ideas.


It is still not too late to save money this Christmas by taking advantage of our early bird discount (valid until Friday 18th December) and rest assured, the best Christmas gift that you could give (in our opinion!) is completely risk free with our 100% money back guarantee.



If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the information in this article, please do let us know.

BOSS is a British Council accredited language school for students aged 8 to 17 from across the globe. To find out more, please visit www.buckswoodsummerschool.com or contact us here.


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