The official definition of a white christmas in the UK comes from the British Met Office and requires that snow is seen falling in any quantity in the 24 hours of Christmas Day. If there's snow on the ground, but it fell in the days before the 25th, it doesn't officially count.
The first broadcast royal speech on Christmas Day was from King George V in 1932. Originally only on the radio, today the message is broadcast on television, radio, and the internet by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
William the Conqueror was crowned King of England on Christmas Day 1066 at Westminster Abbey in London. What many people don't know is that the famous invasion that same year was actually blessed by Pope Alexander II.
Jingle Bells was originally a song for Thanksgiving (not Christmas) in America in 1857. Called "One Horse Open Sleigh" it was eventually renamed to the catchier title and went on to become a xmas classic.
If you're interested in seeing some sport at Christmas in London, Boxing Day (26th December) always has Premiership and League football games - the biggest London clubs are Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs and West Ham United, but there are many others in the lower divisions where ticket prices will be less.
European Crusaders brought the mince pie back to England in the 12th Century. It was filled with meat, as well as fruits and spices. Although it has kept the same name, there is no longer any meat in a British mince pie. Well not normally.
Christmas is the busiest shopping period of the year - as everyone runs to the shops to buy gifts for each other. Although it's a tradition for Christmas shopping to start around November 1st, more and more stores start selling Christmas gifts earlier - with Harrods opening their xmas department in July!
The famous Trafalgar Square Christmas tree in London is a Norwegian spruce over 20 metres high and usually 50-60 years old. Known by the Norwegian foresters as 'the Queen of the Forest', the tree is selected from the very best in the Oslo region.
The first artificial christmas trees were made from goose feathers, and then painted green. Today artificial christmas trees are available in a myriad of colours including white, silver and gold - and can be made from pretty much anything from cardboard to real gold.
Electricity was first used to light christmas trees in 1895, but candles had been used since the middle of the 17th century. In the UK christmas tree lights are are often known as fairy lights and generally don't work when you first put them up.
Christmas and the Ballet
Christmas is fast approaching and I’m leafing through my Southbank Centre Classical Music guide, worrying that I might be far too late already for some of my most favourite performances
by Susann Laughton
see all xmas blog posts
Many London stores open late in the run up to Christmas, and some of the smaller boutique stores actually hand out free drinks and cakes to get everyone into the festive mood. The tradition of giving away glasses of mulled wine has almost disappeared in London due to a crackdown on serving alcohol from unlicensed premises!