Christmas traditions in America and England: Let’s Compare!

As with so many other things, there are far more differences than one would think between America and England. And when it comes to the Christmas holidays, this is true too! Over the past several years I’ve noticed all the little differences that add up to a very different holiday experience, and here I have compiled them for you. Ta-da!

Movies: As we Americans know, the quintessential Christmas eve films are “A Christmas Story” (you’ll shoot yer eye out!) and the classic Dr. Seuss animated version of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”. In the UK you get the much more staid “The Snowman”, which is mostly silent and only 30ish minutes long. Anticlimactic!

Treats for Santa: In England children leave a carrot for the reindeer, and a mince pie and some sherry (!!) for the fat man, while in the States we do cookies and milk, which seems far more wholesome if you ask me.

Songs: It seems to me that here in the UK the most popular holiday tunes  (aka, the ones I hear allllll the timmmmeeee) are a few decades old: Slade and Band Aid and The Pogues seem to be on a never-ending loop, accompanied by Wham’s “Last Christmas”.  In America I think Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is the big song of the season, and whatever other pop songs get released each year (NSYNC and Justin Bieber and Christina Aguilera singing their remakes of classics, plus dudes like Michael Buble doing the Xmas crooning thang). It seems that these, plus a sprinkling of traditional carols, like Silent Night and all of that, make up the American musical repertoire at the holidays. And don’t forget about Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby! (America skips the past few decades and heads straight for the fifties and sixties).

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She Wolf; or, my thoughts on pop music in America and the UK

I never thought I would be a person who likes David Guetta, but this song features Sia and she is my spirit animal. And the video is cool, to boot.


Let’s go on a little musical tangent, shall we? Okay!

I think I’ve begun a slow descent into a lover (possibly?) of dubstep and club music, which is way more prevalent/popular/mainstream in the UK than the US. Switch out the pop-country and hip hop that you hear in Ohio for the bass dropping, Euro-dance tracks here in England, and there ya go-pop music transcending the two countries. Some tunes top the charts on both sides of the Atlantic-mostly the straight pop music, like girl/boy groups, Rihanna or Lady Gaga or Maroon 5, etc-and some of it doesn’t. For example, there’s almost no rap or hip hop that makes it to the top 40 in the UK unless it’s got some underlying dance beat, ie Nicki Minaj-and even Kanye West isn’t as popular here. Taylor Swift and her brand of country crossover aren’t as successful either. But then again, stuff that is totally successful here isn’t as broadly accepted Stateside, like Swedish House Mafia , or Calvin Harris, or other DJs.

Long story short, these are just some observations of mine regarding the transatlantic pop music industry. And obviously this isn’t all true, all the time. And some of it is just plain confusing-Cher Lloyd broke the US market but Cheryl Cole hasn’t?? One Direction is big in America now, but still no one in the States knows who Emeli Sande is?? What kind of world am I living in? Also, I’m really missing some gritty hip hop jams-I have to go out of my way to look for more of it now than ever before, even though I do enjoy UK hip hop artists like Professor Green, Tinie Tempah and Labrinth. Their style(s) of hip hop are much different from, say, Lil Wayne or T.I. though, not to mention all the new tunes I must be missing!

In sum, there’s a lot of crossover with pop music between the two nations, but the music that isn’t crossing over (in either direction) is fairly easy to predict once you notice the trends. The end!


These are the things I think about. Yep.

Now, musical friends and loved ones…what are you listening to?