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Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on the 25th December. We looked at how Christmas is celebrated around the world.

Most countries take part in the festivities, even in the countries where Christianity is not the religion of the majority.

If you are planning to relocate to another country it’s good to have an understanding of how they celebrate the festive season.

France

The celebrations start with St Nicholas day on the 6th of December. Children are given little gifts and the cities are decorated with lights and beautiful Christmas trees.

On Christmas eve, children put their polished shoes in front of the chimney and hope that ‘Père Noël’ (Father Christmas) fills the shoes with sweets. The family get together on the 25th December, which is a public holiday and they exchange presents and enjoy a big feast.

Italy

Festivities begin with a nativity scene, called a ‘Presepe’, which is usually put up in churches, town squares and houses. For many it’s the most important part of preparing for Christmas.

Christmas markets are also set up in the main squares of many cities in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Father Christmas is known as ‘Babbo Natale’ and he usually hands out presents to children on Christmas day. In many families, gifts are exchanged only on January 6th and people wish each other ‘Buon Natale’ which means Merry Christmas.

Germany

From November onwards, cities such as Belin and Frankfurt are filled with large Christmas markets. Houses are often decorated with lights and large ornaments in December and its tradition to wait until the morning of the 24th December to put up the tree.

The 24th December is one of the most festive days in Germany and many shops close early.

Brazil

In Brazil, you will often find a ‘presepio’, a nativity scene set up in front of a church. The ‘Papai Noel’, or Father Christmas, travels from Greenland to Brazil to give presents to children. Many cities display Christmas trees and often the year end is celebrated with fireworks. In Brazil, you say ‘Bom Natal’ or ‘Boas Festes’ to wish someone Merry Christmas.

Australia

It’s tradition in the weeks leading up to Christmas to have picnics and sing carols on the beach. As Australia is on the southern hemisphere, Christmas takes place in the summer season and therefore most of the activities can be enjoyed on the beach in the sunshine.

South Africa

Celebrations usually include an outdoors BBQ and many visit Christmas mass. The busy city areas are decorated with large Christmas trees and lights. Christmas concerts are held at the waterfront in Cape Town, during the weeks before Christmas Day.

USA

America has many different traditions and ways that people in celebrate Christmas, because of its multi-cultural nature. In the run up to Christmas, lights and festive displays are displayed around the cities. Many enjoy ice-skating at outdoor ice rinks and attending carol concerts. The Rockerfeller Center in New York is famous for it’s Christmas street lights, huge tree and public ice skating rink! Like in the UK, Christmas day is celebrated on 25th of December with families getting together to enjoy a festive meal and exchange gifts.

4 Christmas stockinga 

If you would like to continue your research past how Christmas is celebrated around the world, click here to view our destination guides for more insights into life abroad.

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