Christmas, a magical time full of joy and love, is just around the corner…The sweet scent of tangerines and carnations is in the air. Each of us – whether a teacher, translator, or proofreader – can’t wait to jump into warm slippers and start enjoying the Christmas ambience.

In Poland we celebrate Christmas in a special way, cultivating many traditions and customs. We certainly know what Christmas looks like in Polish homes, but have you ever wondered how this special time is celebrated in the UK?

Christmas ornaments

For many people Christmas begins when the Christmas lights appear on the streets. It is exactly the same in Great Britain, where cities and villages are often illuminated by millions of lights right at the beginning of December. Christmas lights pop up on and between buildings or in gardens. The cities are decorated with lights as well, and main streets and squares boast Christmas lights. However, the Christmas tree remains the most important ornament. Every year the question arises when to put up and take down our unique evergreen tree. According to Polish tradition, it is decorated on Christmas Eve and removed on 2nd February (Feast of the Presentation of the Lord). In the UK, it is usually decorated on the first day of Advent, and dismantled on 26th December (“Boxing Day”). Nevertheless, according to tradition many people take it down 12 days later.


Polish Christmas Eve is usually associated with carp, red borscht, pierogi or dried fruit compote. In the home country of Shakespeare it is completely different.

The most popular is stuffed turkey, which can take up to 5 hours to prepare!

As for the most important – puddings; as opposed to our poppy-seed cakes, cheesecakes and gingerbread, the English prefer ‘Christmas Pudding’, which many of us mistakenly identify with regular pudding. Yet, it is a dark cake with nuts, aromatic spices and orange soaked in alcohol. Raisin cupcakes (‘Mince pies’), which are rounded-shape cakes filled with a nuts and raisins filling are another popular delicacy.

Christmas Gifts

In Poland, the time to open gifts under the Christmas tree is after the Christmas Eve dinner. While in the United Kingdom, children spot their gifts in special Christmas socks, which are hung over the fireplace or at the end of their beds.

A time for reflection

Despite the many differences Christmas – both in Poland and the United Kingdom – is a time of rest and reflection.It’s a time to meet close friends and family members. People spend time on chatting and trying out Christmas specialities as this is the quintessence of Christmas.

(translation: M.L. L. K, M.K)

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