Christmas is a beautiful time of year for everyone who celebrates it. It’s a time to bring family and friends together and spend real, quality time with the ones that you love. Family recipes are passed around and dishes from generations before are sampled and shared. New babies are loved on and passed around as often as the appetizers, and friends become family to exchange gifts, hugs, stories, and love.
The tree is decorated, stockings are hung, and gifts are exchanged.
It makes me wonder how Christmas, this magical holiday, is celebrated around the world. So, here are quick recaps of how this holiday is celebrated from other countries, in other cultures.
Kids World Travel Guide offers insights into how other cultures practice their celebration of “St. Nicholas or Santa Claus, as he is often known.
Their celebration seems to be a bit more traditional, starting the celebration in early December“In many regions in France, Christmas celebrations start with St Nicholas day on the 6th of December. Then children get sweets and little gifts. Cities are decorated in France, especially in the Alsace region, where they say the first decorated Christmas trees appeared as far back as the 14th century.”
Instead of stockings like in some countries, they use shoes. “On Christmas eve, Children put their polished shoes out in front of the chimney and hope that ‘Père Noël’ (Father Christmas) fills the shoes with sweets. Christmas Day, 25th of December is a public holiday and families get together for a big feast. On this day also presents get exchanged.”
Iceland also offers a bit more of a traditional celebration, “In Iceland, children put their shoes on the windowsill so the ‘Juletide Lads’, the Santa Claus, fills the shoes with little goodies. Christmas celebrations in Iceland start on 24th of December, Christmas eve. Families get together and enjoy good food and many visit midnight mass.”
History.com offers some further insight into some countries down south:
“In Mexico, paper mache sculptures called pinatas are filled with candy and coins and hung from the ceiling. Children then take turns hitting the pinata until it breaks, sending a shower of treats to the floor. Children race to gather as much of of the loot as they can.”
Australia throws the biggest curve ball in all of the Christmas celebrations. While the majority of the world celebrates this holiday in the December month they actually start in the summer. “In Australia, the holiday comes in the middle of summer and it’s not unusual for some parts of Australia to hit 100 degrees Farenheit on Christmas day. During the warm and sunny Australian Christmas season, beach time and outdoor barbecues are common. Traditional Christmas day celebrations include family gatherings, exchanging gifts and either a hot meal with ham, turkey, pork or seafood or barbeques.”
While all the ways may be slightly different in these celebrations, one thing remains the same. Family time and gift giving. Whether it’s something small, or just a simple connection that is made, the act of giving something to another is prominent.