sheff christmas

Forget Fish and Logs: Sheffield Christmas Time is About Drinking, Singing, and Football

When December rolls in and the twinkle of fairy lights start to glint on the horizon, it can only mean one thing: Christmas is coming.

Depending on where you live, the meaning of Christmas and the way you celebrate it will differ. For some, the sighting of the Coca-Cola advert is the start of the Holiday season, while, for others, it’s something a little more traditional. Indeed, if you scour the globe, there are some weirdly wonderful and varied international Xmas traditions out there.

Take, for instance, the fish-loving Polish. Did you know that Polish people have their festive feast on Christmas Eve rather than the 25th? Did you also know that it’s an all-vegetarian affair, which means no turkey, no stuffing and no pigs in blankets? Instead, you’ll find plenty of fish, including the traditional Christmas carp.

Over in Spain, it’s traditional for Catalans to nurture a crapping log. Otherwise known as caga tió, this tradition sees Spaniards cover a smiling log with a blanket and pretending to feed it until it’s burnt on an open fire as a way of attracting good luck. In a more real sense, the Spanish also have an annual Christmas lottery known as El Gordo, the draw is one of the richest in Europe, which is presumably why locals want as much good luck as possible.

Sheffield Christmas Traditions

Closer to home, Christmas is all about family, friends and, for many, drinking. However, in Sheffield, it’s not all about eating and being merry. In fact, we’ve compiled a quick list of yuletide traditions from the Steel City:

A Sing-a-Long

OK, so this is a thinly veiled excuse to visit a local pub and have a few drinks but it’s a tradition nonetheless. For example, if you head out towards the edge of Sheffield and pull up a chair in the Sportsman Inn at Lodge Moor around Christmas time, you’d better be prepared to sing. Despite outward appearances, this pub is one of 20+ in the Sheffield and Derbyshire that enjoys a good old-fashioned singsong at Christmas. Organisation is scant at best, with most carols usually started by one person shouting a title and everyone in the pub joining in.

Going to Market

Who doesn’t love a German-style market in the heart of the UK at Christmas? For Sheffield residents and visitors alike, the annual market gets underway in mid-November and runs through until Christmas Eve. Once the lights have been switched on, the action stretches from Fargate and Town Hall Square to the Peace Gardens. The Sheffield Christmas Market features 50 stalls offering everything from handcrafted trinkets and food to Santa’s grotto.

Following Football

Football is technically a post-Christmas tradition as teams will play on Boxing Day but it still counts. Up and down the country, not just in Sheffield, football supporters will take their turkey-filled bellies, stuff them into their team’s colours, and look for a little festive cheer from their favourite players. In Sheffield, United and Wednesday fans will either be making the short trip to Bramall Lane or Hillsborough or trekking halfway around the country to follow their club. However the cookie crumbles each season, football fans seem to love this tradition.

OK, so when you compare Sheffield’s traditions to the seemingly more exotic trends around the world, things look a little plain. However, for those in and around the local area, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without some songs, some drinks, and even a bit of football thrown in for good measure.

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