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    5 UK Christmas Traditions That I, An American, Love, And 4 That I Find Confusing

    Happy Christmas > Merry Christmas.

    Hello! I'm Isabel, I'm American, and for the past six years, I've lived in London. And while I've gotten used to the rain, the constant queuing, and people saying "sorry" instead of "up yours," there are still a whole lot of things that confuse me about the UK — mainly, Christmas. You guys celebrate December 25 way differently across the pond, and while some of your traditions are totally awesome....others I just don't get.

    James Lamon

    1. First of all, Christmas crackers are a pure delight and I don't understand why we don't have them in the US.

    Getty Images

    The paper crowns, the bad jokes, the weird toys but also sometimes a sewing kit: I'm in love with this tradition. Christmas crackers make dinner way more fun for kids and adults alike. Bring these bad boys across the pond!

    James Lamon

    2. I'm sorry, but Christmas puddings are inedible.

    Amy Glover

    I'm definitely not a picky eater, but everyone has to draw the line somewhere, and for me, that line is around the culinary horror that is the Christmas pudding. This boiled, dried-fruit monstrosity tastes like something invented in the Victorian era to punish children. I don't understand it, I'm afraid of it, and I want it to go away.

    James Lamon

    3. Pantomimes: amazing, brilliant, no complaints.

    Flickr: chrisfithall / Via Flickr: chrisfithall

    I'll admit, when someone first described pantomimes to me, I was confused AF. It's a Christmas play that's never about Christmas, the principal boy is always played by a woman, and you have to yell at the actors? But now that I've seen one, I'm a total convert. I adore the campiness of the whole thing, the audience participation, and, of course, getting candy chucked at your face. It's a gender-bending holiday extravaganza! 10/10, a wholesome Christmas tradition.

    James Lamon

    4. What the hell is Boxing Day and why do you guys spend it shopping?

    Paramount Pictures / Via

    The DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS, y'all want to go shopping AGAIN? Absolutely not. And what's up with the name? Are you putting things in boxes? Do people watch boxing to celebrate getting 30% off a pair of trousers? I am confusion!

    James Lamon

    5. "Father Christmas" is a better name than "Santa Claus".

    Rankin/Bass Productions / Via

    Father Christmas just makes so much more sense than the weird Spanish-Dutch hybrid of "Santa Claus." And sorry, Americans, but "Happy Christmas!" is so much better than "Merry Christmas!" Nobody ever says "merry" outside of "merry Christmas" — it's a weird greeting and it's time we change it.

    James Lamon

    6. Why is the Queen's Christmas speech such a big deal?


    Look, I'm down with royalty. I watched two royal weddings and three seasons of The Crown, thank you very much. I'm not, like, mad at the Queen's Christmas speech or anything. I just don't...get it? Why is this part of her job? Do you all gather around to watch it? Do you talk about it after? Why is it so popular?

    James Lamon

    7. Advent calendars are totally genius.

    Isabel Daly

    25 little gifts leading up to Christmas? I'm obsessed. I honestly feel robbed for all the Christmases I didn't have an advent calendar. Take note, Uncle Sam: This is how you build Christmas hype.

    James Lamon

    8. Why does it seem like the entirety of the UK's advertising budget goes toward these confusing Christmas commercials?

    View this video on YouTube

    YouTube / Via

    Christmas commercials in the UK go all out. They're high concept, super expensive, and they occasionally feature Elton John. And sometimes, they don't even promote their products. They just sort of advertise the spirit of Christmas? I'm confused. Someone explain it to me.

    James Lamon

    9. The Christmas decorations on the high street are insane.

    Jack Taylor / Getty Images

    The UK commits to their decorations. Every high street does a crazy cool light decoration, where they suspend lights between the buildings. These fun Christmas lights make the gray winter days feel warm and inviting. In the US, you're lucky if you see some fairy lights half-heartedly chucked around a tree.

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