Five traditional Christmas customs








Here at the Swettenham Arms, it’s all about a traditional Christmas. We’ve got the log fires, the decorations and the atmosphere all ready and waiting. If you’re planning a traditional Christmas, here are a few things you might like to include.

  1. Wassailing. The name ‘wassail’ is from an Old Norse root ‘waes hael’, meaning ‘good health’. The wassail itself is a drink, made from a kind of mulled, spiced cider. It was served in a huge, communal bowl and everyone dipped a cup in to drink to next year’s harvest and good luck for the year. Gradually, the custom evolved into an early version of carol singers. Groups would go from door to door, singing wassail songs and drinking the health of the householders. Recreate the tradition by serving a ‘wassail cup’ of hot cider on Christmas Eve.
  2. Christmas dinner. For centuries, you’d be more likely to find a roast goose or even a boar’s head with an apple in its mouth on the Christmas table. Turkeys were introduced in the early 16th century, and quickly caught on because they were meatier than geese. This Christmas, why not try a goose instead?
  3. Mistletoe. Somehow, kissing beneath plastic mistletoe isn’t quite the same! Mistletoe has a powerful place in the history of Ancient Britain, and druids believed it could cure illness, aid fertility and protect the household against witchcraft. This Christmas, better hang some up above your front door just in case!
  4. Tinsel. Tinsel has been around much longer than you might think. The first commercial produced tinsel appeared in Nurembourgh in the 1600s, and it was made from sheets of paper-thin silver alloy hand-cut into strips. Later, it was made from silver paper and then strips of lead. This Christmas, make a return to traditional decorations by making your own paper chains from silver paper. 

  5. Sugar Plums: Dating back to Elizabethan times, sugar plums weren’t actual fruit but made from either nuts or herb seeds coated with a hard, sugary shell. Make your own modern version by blending together dried fruit, almonds and ginger and rolling the mixture into balls. Top with a ball of marzipan, and serve as petit fours with coffee. 


There’s lots going on this Christmas at the Swettenham Arms. Get in touch now to book your office party or Christmas meal – just call 01477 571284.

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