image: title

Project Britain

British Christmas Traditions
by Mandy Barrow

Follow me on Twitter
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sept | Oct | Nov | Dec
Project Britain
A British Christmas
Online Advent Calendar
Advent Calendars
Boxing Day
Christmas - intro
Christmas Cards
Christmas Carols
Christmas Crackers
Christmas Day
Christmas Dinner
Christmas Eve
Christmas Facts
Christmas Jokes
Christmas Plant
Christmas Pudding
Christmas Tea
Christmas Trees
Xmas Decorations
Father Christmas
Meaning of Christmas
Mince Pies
Mummers Plays
Santa Claus
Stir Up Sunday
Teaching Resources
Twelfth Night
Twelfth Day
Twelve Days of Christmas
Yule Log

This site uses cookies. See our Cookie Policy for information

Introduction to a British Christmas
(English Christmas, Scottish Christmas, Welsh Christmas)

Woodlands Junior School is in the south-east corner of England

'Jesus is the Reason for the Season',
it is HIStory!

Christmas is the time when Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus.

image: Christmas Day
Christmas in an English home

Why do we celebrate Christmas?

Every year in December we celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ. That is why we call this time of year 'Christmas' - we celebrate the 'Mass', or church service, for Christ. © copyright of

Where does the word Christmas come from?

The word Christmas (or Christ's Mass) comes from the Old English name 'Cristes Maesse' - Christ's Mass - and is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The first recorded observance occurred in Rome in AD360, but it wasn't until AD440 that the Christian Church fixed a celebration date of 25 December. © copyright of

How is Christmas Celebrated in Britain?

Christmas is a truly magical season, bringing families and friends together to share the much loved customs and traditions which have been around for centuries. Most people are on holiday in the UK and stay at home with their family on Christmas day, the main day for Christmas celebrations in Britain. © copyright of

What day is the main Christmas celebration in Britain?

Christmas is celebrated on the 25th December, with a Christmas dinner at midday for the whole family. © copyright of

How do the British prepare for Christmas?

During the weeks before Christmas Day, we send cards, watch nativity plays and go to carol services. We put up Christmas decorations in our homes and churches.

You can read more about our Christmas customs and traditions by selecting a link on the left of this page.

History of British Christmas Customs and Traditions

Many of our Christmas customs began long before Jesus was born. They came from earlier festivals which had nothing to do with the Christian church. Long time ago people had mid-winter festivals when the days were shortest and the sunlight weakest. They believed that their ceremonies would give the sun back its power. The Romans, for example, held the festival of Saturnalia around 25 December. They decorated their homes with evergreens to remind them of Saturn, their harvest god, to return the following spring.

Some of these customs and traditions were adopted by early Christians as part of their celebrations of Jesus' birthday.

In Victorian times some new ideas such as Father Christmas, Christmas cards and crackers were added to the celebrations.

Click on a link on the left to begin exploring our Christmas pages.

Click here to read the Christmas Story (The story of Jesus' birth)

back to the topLearn about England and the other countries in Britain
from the children who live in there

email© Copyright - please read
All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the Mandy Barrow.

Follow projectbritain on Twitter | :Follow Mandy Barrow on Twitter

Facts and information about LondonBritish Royal FamilyVirtual Tour of the Thames

Special facts and information about each month of the yearInformation on Britain and the UK for Kids of all agesBritish History

© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2013

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.