Christmas in the UK
It’s Christmas time again! A season of loud festivities and a time of year that always seems to come around so quickly. Christmas is of course traditionally a religious celebration to commemorate Jesus’ birthday on Christmas Day. Celebrated on 25th December every year, Christmas in the UK is also a national holiday, and a time of festivities not only for Christians but for everyone to enjoy. You may also see Christmas written as “Xmas”. This is a shorthand version which has its origins in 16th Century Europe and the Greek work for Christ “Xristos”.
Although Christmas takes place in December, on a commercial level it is not surprising to see Father Christmas themed adverts and Christmassy foods in the shops from as early as October onwards. Town centres and shopping centres will “put on the Christmas lights” traditionally from 1st December and keep them on up until early January. Another Christmas tradition that starts from 1st December is that of the Advent Calendar, a fun way to count down the days until Christmas. Children (and still some adults) open one little door each day up until Christmas Eve. Each date and door will have a Christmas surprise hidden behind it (usually Chocolate).
People in the UK like to celebrate Christmas with a Yule tree and extensive colourful decorations. These decorations were originally only supposed to go up on Christmas Eve. Over past generations however, as traditions have evolved and superstitions have faded many people in the UK now put up decorations both inside and outside their homes about a fortnight to a week before Christmas Day. It is advised to take decorations down before the twelfth day of Christmas though. Ever since the reign of Queen Victoria, 5th January has become the final day by which all decorations should be removed so as not to bring bad luck upon the home.
People in the UK generally celebrate Christmas by exchanging cards and presents, getting family and friends together, enjoying traditional Christmas dinner and then relax into the evening with some minced pies and Brandy. Boxing Day in the UK (26th December) is traditionally a day of national sporting events.
Most industries will go back to work after Boxing Day up until the New Years Day national holiday. The education industry however experiences an extended holiday over the Christmas period. Schools, colleges and universities will be closed usually from 1 week before Christmas, until 1 week after New Year. Although this is a great holiday for those who work or study at these centres, this time of year can cause delays and extra difficulties for those who are applying. As University staff are out of office, offers are not processed, CAS numbers are not issued and financial queries are not answered. The Christmas period creates a backlog that can last for some time. For those who have applied or are already holding offers, please remember to remain patient at this time of year.
And finally, if you find yourself under the mistletoe with somebody, don’t forget to kiss, unless you want to embrace bad luck instead.