Christmas, despite being a ubiquitous holiday, plays out differently as you go from country to country and family to family. What may be normal and absolutely must-do for one person might be completely alien to someone else.
Take the British, for example. It’s an unspoken practice to look at people’s Christmas dinner on Twitter and Instagram and think “goddam I’m glad I’m not a part of that family”. This is one of many weird quirks the British partake in that may not necessarily translate so well across the pond or around the world.
And so here are 10 more bizarre British Christmas food traditions that no one else really understands.
1. Buying a tub of Celebrations
It’s common practice to open a tub of fun-sized branded candies called Celebrations (singing celebrate by Kool and the Gang as you do) and steal all your favorites. This is done to the point where only your least favorites are left (everyone usually leaves the bounty bars) and you, or somebody else, eventually takes pity on them and eats them.
2. Cooking too many Brussels sprouts
It’s an absolute must to buy and cook an entire tray of Brussels sprouts for Christmas, despite the fact that probably only one person at your gathering likes them. It’s great if you’re that person, but mind you don’t stink up the place with your farts.
3. Feeling over the moon you can eat pigs in blankets
Nothing beats the feeling of realizing you can eat pigs in blankets on Christmas day. These mini bacon-wrapped sausages go really well with just about anything savory and are a real crowd pleaser.
What’s funny about these is that people will wait a whole year to eat them, even though you can have them all year-round if you really wanted to. It’s just a small sausage wrapped in bacon, hardly festive.
4. Getting a chocolate advent calendar every year no matter how old you get
Whether you’re seven, 18, 26 or 45, nothing beats getting up in the morning and treating yourself to chocolate every day for a month.
5. Smashing a Terry’s Chocolate Orange to formally ring in the festive season
Terry’s Chocolate Oranges, if you missed out, are orange-flavored chocolates in the shape of a medium sized orange. Common with this tradition is hearing older British generations exclaiming “DON’T TAP IT, WHACK IT!!!” while they break the ball into segments. Don’t be alarmed if someone shouts this randomly, they probably just have one of these.
6. Receiving (or giving) selection boxes
Almost everyone in Britain will receive or give this box of a Cadbury assortments at least three times. No one’s ever annoyed – who would be? It’s a good selection in my opinion.
7. Christmas sandwiches everywhere you look
Several people actively look forward to getting a Christmas sandwich as part of a £3 ($4) meal deal. Some even make a Christmas sandwich list and tick off the sandwiches they’ve had from the respective outlets.
8. Christmas puddings
Like Brussels sprouts, everyone buys a Christmas pudding even though probably nobody likes them. No one’s into them because they’re basically raisins compacted into a dome and given off as a dessert, yet people still buy them. I think it’s because the fire element makes you feel super fancy.
9. Gorging on leftover potatoes
If you visit any British friends or relatives, you’ll often find one of them scrounging for cold leftover roast potatoes on the morning after Christmas because they taste even better the next day.
10. Christmas dinner sandwiches
This is very different to the shop bought Christmas sandwiches despite seeming very similar. What’s so special about this is that you can personally select all the best bits of Christmas and put them into your own personal Christmas miracle. Hot or cold.
Have you heard of these before? Maybe you even do them yourself. Each to their own I say – whatever you need to do to have some sort of Merry Christmas. We all know how annoying some relatives can get.