Friday, 20 December 2013

CHRISTMAS: Those UK - US Differences.


You might not think it but there's actually a fair few differences when it comes to celebrating Christmas between the UK and the US. Whereas the US is more for sticking up your tree and decorating your home in November for the festive season, there's big differences in the little things that you come to associate with Christmas in the UK. So I thought I'd share a few, things that even with this being my third Christmas in the US I'm still getting use to, it's mostly the things that don't appear over this side of the pond;

Christmas Crackers

Central to the British Christmas, crackers have never really made it over the ocean (although I hear you can occasionally find them). Why is beyond me, why wouldn't you want to wear a silly paper hat and read a crazily cheesy joke over your sprouts?!

Mince Pies

Mince meat for such pies is oddly different in the US alone - often coming in a box that's hard as a rock when you can find it for $7 a jar. Recipes upon the reverse of said jars are always for actual mince pies - yes a pie sized mince pie. In the US it's more about the Christmas cookie, in fact everything is about the cookie, year around.

Christmas Cake and Christmas Pudding

Both are somewhat a little old fashioned in the UK, both are pretty much vacant from the US Christmas scene especially the Christmas Pudding. A lot of my vintage cookbooks do have recipes for Christmas Cakes but this is certainly missing from more contemporary book yet along supermarket selves. 

Tins of Sweets 

Walk into any supermarket in the UK and you'd be greeted with mountains of Quality Street tins, not so here. Quality Streets are non existent but so are similar kinds of sweets, or even tins of sweets. Your're lucky if you still find a bag of Twizzlers from Halloween.


Aside from your spiced and hard cider, Eggnog is a big drink of choice around the Christmas season. Admittedly it's not only I like, I tried it for the first time last year and really didn't like - one I happy give a miss. 

Boxing Day

That special day of eating the Christmas leftovers or of visiting the other side of the family otheriwse known as Boxing Day in the UK and Canada just doesn't exisit in the US. December 26th to many is straight back to the work grind and Christmas is done and over for the year. While there are post Christmas sales, there's nothing compared to the Boxing Day sales you'd find in the UK. It's certainly a way of getting over Christmas, a little too quickly for my liking.

What would you miss about your countries traditions at Christmas time?


  1. I think I would miss British traditions, especially the food related ones (sad as that makes me!)

    1. Not at all - the food is one of the bit parts that makes it Christmas for me!

  2. no boxing day sucks! as does no chocolate tins. what is christmas without a fight over the celebrations? have a good hol over there :)

  3. Lots of the stores around here (like Target, Walmart, and Marshall's) have candy in tins. The tins are cute and often include holiday candy you can't easily find the rest of the year. Oh yeah, and I'm adding Target to the list of places I mentioned to you on Twitter that carry crackers. Expensive option for sure, but at least they have them I guess.

  4. As someone who had the opposite experience (American living in the UK for a while) I would agree and say all of these things are true, hah. My boyfriend's mother once hunted down some crackers for Christmas, but they were SO OLD that the little papers inside had jokes about the turn of the millenium (!?!) Also, Quality Street tins are awesome. Even if you don't like sweets the tins themselves are a great size for keeping your crap in, haha.

  5. I would feel really weird without a boxing day! I look forward to it almost as much as Christmas Day itself - it;s important to have that wind down time, to enjoy all your new gifts, see other family members/friends and munch on leftovers!

  6. No Christmas pudding or boxing day, my whole system has been thrown into a little panic thinking about it! I hope you manage to access our traditional favourites this year, merry Christmas.

  7. This was fun to read although I can't believe the US don't have tins of sweets!? xxx

  8. I moved from England to El Salvador a few years ago and there's none of that stuff here either. It's celebrated so differently but it's just not the same without pulling crackers and having those lame jokes, someone always cheating by holding on to the middle part with their thumb to win. Those paper hats are in pictures of every Christmas I've had growing up.

  9. Wow - the US Christmas seems pretty different! I bet the decorations are more elaborate though, surely? Having no Boxing Day is mad, Boxing Day is the day for relaxing after the excitement of Christmas Day (as well as the stress for some!) x

  10. Golly that is quite different - I can't imagine not having a Boxing Day! I have had so many useful little things from crackers over the years that I'd actually miss them!!

  11. Oh wow - I don't know how you cope without the tin of sweeties haha! And I suppose at a family dinner crackers would be a miss too.
    So weird to think how differently the day is celebrated all over the world.