11 Forgotten British Christmas Traditions We Should Bring Back

Sure, we like the Royal Christmas Message, but wouldn't Christmas be better if we brought these traditions back?

Desiree Van
Created by Desiree Van
On Dec 7, 2015

Ghost Stories

Imagine your family gathered around a blazing fire on Christmas Eve and one member starts to tell a bloodcurdling tale of murder and monsters. This simple act of creating spectral chills on Christmas Eve would bring the family together.


House Wassaling and...

House Wassaling, or caroling, lies in the English tradition where wealthy people of the community gave treats to the carolers on Christmas Eve such as 'figgy puddings', beer or wine. Free treats? What's not to love?


...Orchid Wassaling

In the cider-producing West of England, wassailing also refers to drinking, singing, and to singing the health of trees in the hope of scaring away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest. Sounds like a great night to us!


12 Days of Mince Pies

A middle age custom - if you eat a mince pie every day from Christmas to Twelfth Night (6th January) you will have happiness for the next 12 months. As if we need an excuse to eat more mince pies!


The Kissing Bough

Kissing under mistletoe is now all that remains of the customary “holy bough”, a ball woven from ash, willow or hazel twigs with a figure of the Christchild in the centre. As with most things, this simple object was gradually embellished, and ribbons, candles, fruits, and nuts were hung - neighbours vied with one another for the best-decorated bough.


The Ashen Faggot

The Ashen Faggot is an old English Christmas tradition from Devon and Somerset. A faggot is simply a bundle of sticks, bound with nine green lengths of ash bands or 'beams'. On Christmas Eve, the faggot must be burnt in a hearth while people who are watching sing songs, dance, and drink.


Epiphany Eve

The eve of Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, was the traditional end of the festive season, and even as recently as the Victorian period was a time for one last party.


Smoking Bishops (and other festive drinks)

In Victorian times they drank smoking bishop: a steaming mug of oranges, cloves, port and red wine. Other traditional Christmas drinks include egg-hot from Devon: a mixture of egg yolks, cider and spices, a similar brandy and egg concoction from the Shetland Isles called whipcoll, and Yorkshire lambs’ wool: a mix of ale, apples, sugar and cream. Cheers!



This is the tradition of performing folk plays on the streets over the Christmas period. The plays are usuall based loosely on the legend of St. George and the dragon, and involve bright colours and elaborate costumes.


A Yorkshire Pie

Dating from the early 18th century, the Yorkshire pie is one serious Christmas dish. The pie is filled with a whole goose, a turkey, a fowl, a partridge, a pidgeon, a hare, game, and any extra wild fowl one can get their hands on.

Just. Wow.


Figgy Pudding

Figgy Pudding is a paler coloured Christmas Pudding that dates back to 16th century England. It's the marmite of puddings - you'll either love it or hate it, but you'll never know until you try it!

"Now bring us some figgy pudding!!"

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