'Straight out of a Christmas story book': An American's Christmas in the UK

Christmas day in sunny USA before moving to Suffolk, England

Christmas day in sunny USA before moving to Suffolk, England - Credit: Niki Cottrell

As an American living in the UK, almost everything is exciting about experiencing a new culture, especially during Christmas

This year marks my third Christmas in the UK.

Coming from a desert state where I'd rarely see a cloud in the sky and had never owned a proper coat, I'm still adjusting to the reality of winter in England - cold, wet days and sunsets in the afternoon.

Christmas day in a sunny west coast USA before moving to Suffolk, England

Christmas time in Disneyland, California, in the USA, before one day moving to Suffolk, England - Credit: Niki Cottrell


Since my first Christmas here I have loved immersing myself in British traditions from cheesy Christmas cracker jokes to colourful paper crowns.

I love that there are Christmas markets with mulled wine and warm winter spices that fill the air.

It all seems straight out of a Christmas story book that I would read when I was a kid. 

Only recently did I learn about the panto, which sounds wild and fun, and honestly quite confusing.

Nevertheless that's on the top of my 'British things to-do' list. 

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In America, many of us dedicate our December weekends to cosying up with the family watching a go-to stop motion special like Santa Claus is Coming to Town and making homemade cookies for ourselves and our neighbours.

Americans love cosying up with the family watching a go-to stop motion special like Santa Claus is Coming to Town

In America, many of us dedicate our December weekends to cosying up with the family watching a go-to stop motion special like Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Credit: Niki Cottrell

Another American family favourite is the Christmas pickle. 

In England I look forward to the mince pies shared daily and I identify with your country's love for Brussel sprouts.

Here, they're everywhere you go - sprout baubles, in ketchup, in gin. 

I never even heard of Boxing Day before I came to England.

With so many holidays off, you basically have a whole week to kick back and enjoy!

In America we seem to trade all those extra days off for a nation-wide dedication to over-the-top Christmas lights and house decorations, everywhere but the ceiling. 

As many differences as there are in our celebrations, we're all one in the same when it comes to awkward dinner conversations or annual stress cooking before guests arrive.

American and British Christmas time celebrations are similar in quality family time

American and British Christmas time celebrations are similar in quality family time - Credit: Niki Cottrell

One thing I have come to realise spending Christmas away from 'home' is that I'm grateful for the sense of community that Christmas brings, whether in the US with my own family or with the family that I have become a part of here. 
 

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