Christmas culture, décor & traditions from around the globe

xmaslightsDecember 25th takes on a unique local flavor depending on where you find yourself on that  day.  In some places Christmas falls on a different day entirely.  Have a very Merry Christmas wherever you live and whatever day you end up celebrating!

A look around…….

  santa fe 2Christmas in Santa Fe – I’ve experienced & loved it!
Visit the historic Santa Fe Plaza on any chilly, clear evening from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, and you will find silvery lights strung on every tree, sparkling against the gray winter dusk. The farolitos, luminous brown paper bags of candles and sand, are lit by hand each night, to flicker on the rooftops of the surrounding adobes. The City has a hushed, reverent quality at this time of year, regardless of the number of locals and tourists who partake of the numerous holiday festivities.santa fe 1

Colosseum Christmasxmas colosseum

In Italy, Christmas decorations may traditionally be put up on the 8th of December, a national holiday. Depending on the region, Christmas gifts might be given on Christmas Eve, or on Christmas Day. Decorations are taken down on the 6th of January and in some areas, female puppets are burned to signal, along with the end of Christmas, the end of the old year and beginning of the new. Photo: Jakob Montrasio

Parisian Christmas

Unlike the tradition of hanging socks by the fireplace, many French children will put shoes out for Father Christmas to put presents into. Photo: Her Own Journey

xmaschocolates ParisParisienne Chocolates – always a treat!


Christmas is widely and seriously observed in Ethiopia by its Orthodox Christian majority. As the country follows a calendar based on traditional Coptic calendars (which denote the current year as 2003 like the Julian calendar), Ethiopians will celebrate Christmas on January 7th. Photo: Richard Stupart

Brazil Christmasxmas3brazil

Brazilian Christmas follows similar traditions to Northern Europe and America. Some cities, such as Curitaba, will have decoration contests where judges will inspect interior and exterior decorations of competing houses to proclaim the most beautiful.. Photo by Denise Mayumi

xmas4germanyGerman Christmas

In some parts of Germany, St. Nicholas will come and visit children on St. Nicholas’ Day, giving out sweets. Sometimes he will be accompanied by his servant Ruprecht, dressed in dark clothes and occasionally with a devil’s tongue.

I've stollen a recipe from the Germans - YUM!

I’ve stollen a recipe from the Germans – YUM!

Ruprecht carries a stick, in theory to punish naughty children. Nowadays, he mostly hangs around looking scary and reminding German kids to behave ahead of Christmas. Photo: Marius Kallhardt

IndiaN Christmasxmasindia

In India, Santas sleigh and reindeer are often replaced by a horse and cart. Although Christians only make up about 3% of the country’ population, Christianity has a long history in India, allegedly founded by the Apostle Thomas himself. Photo: Meanest Indian

xmas5russiaRussian Christmas

Christmas in Russia is actually celebrated on the 7th of January like it is in Ethiopia. The Russian Orthodox Church still operates according to the Julian calendar, which runs 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar of the rest of the world. As a result, Christmas gets bumped back almost a fortnight until after the New Year. Photo: Dmitry Boyarin

Australian Christmasxmasaustralia

While Christmas traditions in Australia are very similar to the UK, Canada and other Commonwealth countries, it is less well known that the country is responsible for starting the tradition of Carols by Candlelight. The practice began in 1938 after Norman Banks, a radio announcer with Melbourne station 3KZ saw a woman singing Away in a Manger by candlelight and had the idea to organise a large candle-lit singalong. Photo: Ctd 2005

xmasjapanJapanESE Christmas

Christmas in Japan is both popular and secular. Christmas is not a national holiday in the country, though gift giving is popular. Its first Christmas was held way back in 1552 by Jesuit priests in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Photo: mendhak

Scandinavian Christmasxmas12scandinavian

In Scandinavia, the Julbock or ‘Yule Goat’ is the traditional bringer of gifts at Christmas time. Large versions of the goat are frequently put up in towns and villages over the festive season, while in older traditions, smaller-sized versions of the animal made of straw or wood would be snuck into people’s houses as a prank. Houses finding goats in them had to pass them on by pranking others.                 Photo: Seppo Laine


Vancouver Christmas – anything goes!

Here comes Santa - my style!  Reindeers can be unreliable these days.

Here comes Santa – my style! Reindeers can be unreliable these days.

I didn't really mean that Rudolph!

I didn’t really mean that Rudolph!


I’ll take this Reindog anytime!