Christmas Day is celebrated in the United Kingdom on December 25.
In most of the countries of the UK, the festive season begins at Advent. During this time, holly wreaths are made with three pink, one white and one purple candle. Shops however, start selling Christmas decorations from mid-November to enthusiastic Christmas shoppers who prefer to have a one-upmanship over their friends and neigbours. In England as well as in most other nations of the U.K., the beautiful Christmas Trees are an essential part of traditional Christmas decorations. In England, the decorating of Christmas trees has been widely popular since around the 1850s when Prince Albert had a Christmas tree set up in Windsor Castle for his wife Queen Victoria and their children. In modern times, the Christmas decorative items last until 6 January (Epiphany). It is considered bad luck to have these at home even after this date.
The tradition of Christmas observance is believed to have begun in England in 596 AD, when St Augustine landed on her shores with the message of Christianity on his lips. The present day Christmas festivities here sees the celebrators adorning their homes with Christmas trees, lights, tinsel and other decorative items in the days counting to the festival. The traditional Christmas dinner in England is a mouthwatering affair with the main dish being roasted turkey with vegetables and sauces. The dessert is usually a rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. For English kids, Christmas is the time to have fun with family and friends and recieve gifts from Father Christmas, a Santa Claus-like figure, who is pictured as wearing a long red or green robe. This lover of children is said to leave presents for them in their stockings(or pillowcases that they hang at the end of their bed) on Christmas Eve. The gifts are usually opened on Christmas Day, though not until afternoon.
The festive spirit can be discerned all over Britain with most public places such as departmental stores, gift shops, town halls and restaurants decorated beautifully with electric lights and festoons for the occassion. Churches and Cathedrals all over the country hold masses, with many people attending the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, or a service on Christmas morning. For Catholics, it is one of the main Holy Days of Obligation. In London and the provinces, a number of theatres traditionally organise for kids a special Christmas pantomime based not on Biblical tales but on such popular children's stories such as Little Red Riding Hood and Aladdin, with a subtle connection to the festival being made deliberately.
In England the day after Christmas is called Boxing Day, named so because young boys used to go go around on this day collecting money in clay boxes. The boxes were smashed open, when they were full. The Boxing Day is still celebrated in the UK. It is a bank holiday in England. If it happens to fall on a weekend, then a special Bank Holiday is delared on Monday.