cff CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD | Simple and Serene Living


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

I have always been fascinated by the traditions in other countries and especially how Christmas is celebrated.

Christmas ornaments

Every year on Christmas eve Tessa and I track Santa's progress as he makes his way around the world, and I wonder how people in some of those other countries are celebrating.

Here are a few of those countries.


One of their most famous traditions is celebrating Saint Lucia on December 13.

The most common story about Saint Lucia is that she brought food to persecuted Christians in Rome's city catacombs and that she was martyred in 304 AD. She wore a crown of candles on her head in order to free up both of her hands to carry food.

Each year a local and national Lucias are chosen to hand out food to the needy and people in nursing homes and hospitals.

Swedes traditionally eat their Christmas dinner on Christmas eve and spend Christmas day attending church services.



Eiffel tower ornament

On December 6, many regions in France celebrate Saint Nicholas Day when children get sweets and little gifts.

In France, the tradition of putting up decorated Christmas trees dates back to the 14th century.

On Christmas eve the children in France place their polished shoes by the chimney in hopes that Father Christmas will fill their shoes with sweets.

On Christmas Day families gather to exchange gifts and to have a big feast.



Christmas in Portugal

Christmas in Portugal takes place on the eve of December 24 but often carries over to the 25th.

Children place their shoes out for Baby Jesus as opposed to Santa and that is when the house is decorated for Christmas.

Most families attend midnight mass in Portugal where everyone lines up to kiss the baby Jesus and this is when the baby Jesus is added to the nativity as he is now born.



Christmas cracker on dining table

Father Christmas is the traditional English name for Santa. 

Christmas caroling is an English tradition. Carolers travel from door to door singing traditional carols and ringing bells.

The English tradition of festooned evergreen trees dates back to Prince Albert who brought it from his native Germany in 1841.

Originally Christmas dinner featured a roast goose, but that has now changed to a stuffed roast turkey.

Crackers are a special tradition at Christmas dinner. Diners pull apart these decorated paper tubes to find a crown, a toy, and a joke or riddle.

The day after Christmas Boxing Day is celebrated. It was originally started as a day for the upper class to give gifts to their household staff. Today it is a fun day of shopping and partying. 



broken pinata

In Mexico Christmas is celebrated from December 12th to January 6th.

From December 16th to Christmas eve children perform the Posadas, which celebrate the part of the Christmas story where Joseph and Mary are looking for lodging. 

Each night the children go to the homes of friends and neighbors singing songs about Mary and Joseph looking for lodging. Each night a different family hosts a Posada party where the families get together and there is often a pinata.

Nativity scenes, known as the Nacimiento,  are the most important part of Christmas decorations in Mexican homes, although many families also now have Christmas trees. 


Thank you for visiting today. I hope you enjoyed these snippets of Christmas in five countries around the world.

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  1. Lots of different traditions around the world. Wouldn't it be wonderful to spend a holiday in a new place each year to experience them all? Well, in theory anyway, I'm such a homebody...especially at Christmas!! For now, I'm happy to visit your blog and check them all out! ;)

  2. Love this post Laura. How fun to learn about how others in our world celebrate Christmas. Like Kim said it wouldn't be fun to travel each year and partake in the traditions of those countries! I know England is big on Advent Calendars too. This was a fun post. Happy Wednesday. xoxo

  3. I used to teach Christmas Around the World when I was still in the regular classroom. It was always a lot of fun.

  4. That was a very nice post, Laura, and contained a lot of fascinating information. Thanks for sharing. Susan

  5. Fascinating to read about traditions around the world! I'd like to travel around the world and experience it all.


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