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The basics
THE UK: Student Life

Student blog: Christmas in the UK

Alejandra looks back on her first Christmas abroad in the UK. Find out how she celebrated, what her first impressions of the food were like and learn exactly what a “Christmas cracker” is.

Christmas in the UK

The first Christmas away from home is always an episode full of mixed feelings. I had the fortune of spending mine with my host family in the house I was living in. However, the constant flow of food, wine and laughter during the evening couldn’t hide the fact that I was missing my family very much. I missed the presents, hot chocolate at midnight; the cards hanging from the Christmas tree; the overflow of mattresses lying on the sitting room’s floor, topped by my countless number of cousins. I missed Christmas at home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice Christmas in your host country too.


I am going to tell you how crazy English Christmas dinners can be. First of all, for one evening in the whole winter you have people smiling and enjoying a good time despite the cold! Maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but short and grey days in London can make you feel a bit depressed.


Christmas dinner is made up of a variety of dishes that you rarely see together any other time of the year. You have: Turkey with bacon, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, roasted chestnuts, bread sauce stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. You can also have “Pigs 'n blankets”, which are basically cocktail sausages wrapped up in bacon!



For pudding you have a dish that basically takes 2 months to make: the Christmas pudding is a brown pudding with raisins, nuts and cherries. It is similar to fruitcake, except that this pudding is steamed while fruitcake is baked. On top of that, brandy is often poured over the pudding, which is then set a light as it is carried to the table! It is not recommended if you are in a diet or considering quitting alcohol!


Finally you have Christmas crackers. For me it was hilarious to see everyone together, seniors and children wearing paper crowns and pulling crackers! Each cracker contains a puzzle, a joke and the colourful party crown. The gift in a cracker depends on how much you have paid for the cracker; the more you pay the better the quality of gift.



I hope you have a “cracking” Christmas this year. In the four years I have lived in London as an international student, I have never been disappointed. The warmth and friendliness of my host fellows has lived up beyond my expectations!


Read more:

'How Christmas is celebrated around the world'

'How to celebrate Christmas away from home'

Study in the UK


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