In our recent giveaway, we asked everybody to leave a comment about what their favourite Christmas tradition was. As we read through all of the wonderful, heartwarming comments, it got us thinking. How did other countries celebrate one of the biggest holidays in the world?
If you thought Christmas Eve was exciting, the Norwegians like to go one extra and celebrate a “Little Christmas Eve” on the 23rd of December. Families spend the day making a gingerbread house and decorating the Christmas tree. Some lucky few are even allowed to open a small present if they’re allowed! One of their traditional foods a delicious rice porridge called risengrynsgrøt which is made with butter cinnamon and sugar.
An integral part of Christmas in Germany is Advent. It’s hard to find a home in Germany that doesn’t have an advent calendar on the wall, or propped up on the mantelpiece. But these aren’t your regular card advent calendars. In Germany, some families have fir tree branches with 24 little parcels hanging from them to open each day. What a wonderful idea!
Italy likes to get started early, with the festivities starting on the 8th of December and lasting until the 6th of January. On the 8th of December families put up their tree and the Christmas markets pop up to mark the occasion. While we might love tucking into our turkey with all the trimmings, in Italy, several fish dishes are popular on Christmas Eve, coming from a tradition of eating no meat on the 24th.
In Switzerland, the main meal is enjoyed with friends and family on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas day itself. Orange and clove glazed ham and potatoes baked with melted cheese and butter is a popular Christmas dish. Aniseed flavoured cookies (Änisbrötli) are a yummy treat for after dinner.
No matter where in the world you are, and what way you celebrate it, one of the best things about Christmas is spending time with your loved ones, celebrating family and being thankful for the wonderful people in our lives.
Placing a wreath of holly around the door was a tradition born in Ireland, and many people still hang theirs up every year. It came from a time when holly was a prolific plant during the winter months and served as a beautiful way to decorate peoples homes. Christmas officially ends on the 6th of January in Ireland. Traditionally, it’s a day of rest (once the tree is taken down)! Christmas day is usually spent with family, and lots of turkey with all the trimmings!
We wish everyone the happiest Christmas and wonderful New Year.