Christmas pudding – why do people put money in it?

Why do we put money in Christmas pudding? Find out why and what other trinkets you could crack your teeth on when tucking into this festive favourite.

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

Surprised Black girl holding teddy bear toy on Christmas

Image source: Getty Images

When investing, your capital is at risk. The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you put in.

Read More

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, any form of personal advice. Investments in a currency other than sterling are exposed to currency exchange risk. Currency exchange rates are constantly changing, which may affect the value of the investment in sterling terms. You could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, and may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection as in the UK.

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More.

Whether you like Christmas pudding or not, its grand entrance pretty much always garners lots of oohs and ahhs. After all, it’s not often we intentionally set food on fire and then stand back to admire it. But if that wasn’t strange enough, there’s all the trinkets and tokens inside the Christmas pudding itself – including money. Here’s what it’s all about.


Why does Christmas pudding have money in it?

Traditionally, Christmas pudding has a sixpence hidden inside it.

If you get the sixpence in your portion of pudding, then you’ll have good luck over the coming year. Traditionally, other tokens can also be included, each one with its own meaning. As Hercule Poirot discovered in The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, if a man finds a button, he is destined to be single for the next year. Women who find a thimble share the same fate.

In contrast, if you find a ring in your Christmas pudding, you’ll get married within the year. Find an anchor trinket and you’ll be protected and safe – for the next 12 months at least.

As for pouring brandy and setting it alight, the flames are meant to represent the power and love of Jesus. While some interpret the holly as a symbol of the crown of thorns.

Why do we eat Christmas pudding?

Like with most things, we’ve got the Victorians to thank for Christmas pudding as we understand it now. However, it’s thought to date far further back, possibly to medieval times when a type of milky porridge with dried fruit and nuts was eaten as a fasting dish in the runup to Christmas.

Later, it evolved to include trinkets, which was an idea that came from the Twelfth Night cake eaten at the end of Christmas. But instead of lovely shiny tokens, you’d either get a dried bean or a dried pea.

As bizarre as that might sound, similar traditions can be found in other cultures too. For example, in Spain, they celebrate 6 January as ‘El Día de Los Reyes Magos’ (day of the three kings) with a ‘roscón de reyes’ (king’s cake). It’s a little like brioche with candied fruit. This also includes a trinket, such as a crown, which is the token you want to find. If you’re unlucky, you might get the dried bean token instead.  


Can you still get a sixpence to put in Christmas pudding?

Yes, you can. Although sixpences are no longer in circulation, you can buy special editions from the Royal Mint if you fancy resurrecting this particular tradition.

Traditionally, you should make your Christmas pudding on the last Sunday before advent (basically, the Sunday closest to the end of November). This was also known as ‘stir-up Sunday’ as families would stir up their puddings in readiness for the coming festivities.

You might also have heard Christmas pudding called plum pudding. The dessert confusingly doesn’t contain any plums and it never has. It’s just that ‘plum’ was used to describe any dried fruit.

So, the next time someone wheels out a Christmas pudding, you’ll be able to astound them with your expert knowledge. Just watch you don’t crack a tooth on that sixpence.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

More on Personal Finance

Note paper with question mark on orange background
Personal Finance

Should you invest your ISA in a model portfolio?

Which model ISA portfolios offer both high performance and low fees? Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor and AJ Bell go under…

Read more »

Economic Uncertainty Ahead Sign With Stormy Background
Personal Finance

Is it time to exit emerging markets investments?

Investors may well be sitting on losses from emerging markets funds. Is it worth keeping the faith for a sustained…

Read more »

Personal Finance

Share trading? Three shares with turnaround potential

Share trading has been difficult in 2022, but which companies have turnaround potential? Jo Groves takes a closer look at…

Read more »

Man using credit card and smartphone for purchasing goods online.
Personal Finance

Revealed! Why Gen Z may be the savviest generation when it comes to credit cards

New research reveals that Gen Z may be the most astute when it comes to credit cards. But why? And…

Read more »

Environmental technology concept.
Personal Finance

The 10 best-performing sectors for ISA investors

The best-performing sectors over the past year invested in real assets such as infrastructure, but is this trend set to…

Read more »

Road sign warning of a risk ahead
Personal Finance

Recession risk ‘on the rise’: is it time for investors to worry?

A major global bank has suggested the risk of a recession in the UK is 'on the rise'. So, should…

Read more »

pensive bearded business man sitting on chair looking out of the window
Personal Finance

1 in 4 cutting back on investments amid cost of living crisis

New research shows one in four investors have cut back on their investing contributions to cope with the rising cost…

Read more »

Image of person checking their shares portfolio on mobile phone and computer
Personal Finance

The 10 most popular stocks among UK investors so far this year

As the new tax year kicks off, here's a look at some of the most popular stocks among UK investors…

Read more »