Haggis for breakfast and presents up a 40ft pine tree: Christmas traditions from around the UK

DID you know the Welsh greet Christmas morning by opening their windows to invite the drizzle in? These bizarre Yuletide traditions come from around the UK:


Aware the monarch gives an address on Christmas Day, the English upper-classes consider it gauche to speak before their ruler and so remain completely silent until 3.10pm. The time is spent ignoring each other, drinking neat gin and not opening presents because they already have everything.


In order to show pride in their multicultural city, residents are obliged to leave the house and purchase yams from a cheerfully ethnic shopkeeper of a different faith on Christmas morning. The starchy tubers are placed in a ceremonial bowl, where everyone remarks how wonderful it is they can be obtained at short notice, before being thrown away.


Moisture in the air is a Welshman’s constant companion so on Christmas morning the doors and windows are thrown wide to invite it in. It is set a place at the table, thanked for its valuable role in stopping the English moving in en masse, served a pint of Brains, wished a Nadolig Llawen and then asked to leave.


Following a breakfast of haggis, Scottish children are invited outside to collect their gifts from the branches of a 40ft pine tree. Only the bravest climbers reach the high-value gifts at the top, anyone who falls loses the lot and all uncollected gifts are retrieved with a pole and returned to Argos.

Northern Ireland

The final episode of To The Manor Born in 1981 was seen by 24 million Britons – but not in Northern Ireland, where Thatcher spitefully banned it. It was not shown until the Good Friday agreement which stipulated it would be shown every Christmas Day at 7pm as a mark of peace. It still attracts an audience of a million a year.

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Giving up drinking: Ten ways to betray a best friend worse than shagging her husband

SHAGGING your partner isn’t at the top of the list of possible best friend betrayals. These things are even worse:

Getting married

BFFs, that’s what you both said. You don’t remember agreeing it was okay to get married, except maybe in a joint ceremony so you both passed this significant life milestone at exactly the same moment.

Buying a bigger house

She’s meant to remain in the exact same financial situation as you, like when you were students, but suddenly her and her partner have bought a four-bedroom semi 50 miles away. Rude.

Getting different eyebrows

You’ve always had the same eyebrows. You joke about it. But now she’s had hers microbladed. Have you done something to upset her?

No sign of the gift you gave her

You just knew she’d love those brass candlesticks as they fit with the funky vintage vibe you both love. But they’re nowhere to be seen in her new house. Which is suspiciously minimalist in style. How dare she evolve independently of you?

Telling someone else her secret

You thought you were the only person who knew her deepest, darkest secret but someone has just casually mentioned it in your old school friends’ WhatsApp group. How dare she make you feel not the most special.

Giving up drinking

You both loved Whispering Angel rosé, that was your thing. Now she raves about how she loves waking up clear-headed. Not acceptable.

Talking to someone you are both supposed to dislike

You both hate Gemma because of the thing she did ten years ago. So why is your best friend going to Starbucks with her? Is it to knock over her latte and spit on her chocolate tiffin slice? Apparently it’s so they can have a lovely catch-up, the nasty bitches.

Sending you a cut-and-paste WhatsApp

You sent her a carefully crafted 300-word message about the intricacies of your day, yet your friend’s reply starts only with ‘Hey!’ and gives a suspiciously generic update on her interview. Hmmm.

Having another best friend

Your best friend mentions Katie from the school gates, who apparently she has ‘known for ages’, before casually calling her her best friend. Smile calmly, then go out into the street and key a few cars.

Losing all that weight

You were both cheerfully larger and proud of it, and now she looks slender and toned. So now you have to do the same, and buy the same new clothes she has. Decide instead to get a different best friend who is fatter than you.