Christmas Traditions Around the World

There’s probably no other season that offers such a variety of traditions worldwide than Christmas. Each country has its own special and sometimes odd (to outsiders) traditions – if you’ve ever heard of the Catalonian “Tió de Nadal” (meaning “Christmas Log”), you know what we’re talking about. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular traditions.

From special Christmas dishes to traditions that you look forward to all year long—what are your favorite Christmas traditions? Share them in the comments for all to enjoy! 

Let’s get baking

There’s probably no tradition as widespread as Christmas baking, whether it’s a festive cake, crispy cookies, or simple homemade decorated cut-out-cookies. The Christmas bakery is the perfect moment when friends and family get together in the kitchen, listen to some Christmas songs, and happily bake a massive amount of cookies.

(By the way, have you checked out our 24 Days of Christmas Baking?)

Kitchen Stories

A stroll on the Christmas market

In Germany, one of the most widespread traditions is to visit Christmas markets. The first markets open four to six weeks before Christmas and turn regular places into brightly lit winter wonderlands. There you’ll find countless small stalls where you can buy Christmas gifts and German handcrafts, like nutcrackers or Christmas pyramids. 

Of course, those markets also provide sustenance. Besides hot drinks such as mulled wine and savory specialties, there are plenty of delicious sweets to get into the Christmas spirit—from cotton candy and chocolate apples to candied almonds.  

Want to bring the Christmas market spirit into your own kitchen? Here’s how to make homemade candied almonds: 

Candied almonds

Candied almonds

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Writing Christmas cards

The tradition of the Christmas greeting card started in England in 1843 and set foot in America 30 years later. Nowadays, there are over one billion Christmas cards sent in England only during the weeks in Advent. In many families, writing Christmas cards while eating Christmas cookies and drinking a hot chocolate is a serious tradition.

Kitchen Stories

A cup of eggnog

Eggnog is consumed in America almost only at Christmas—so it’s a must-have this time of year! Depending on the recipe, the creamy punch is seasoned with all sorts of warm spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom and can be enjoyed hot or cold. 

Kitchen Stories

Christmas songs around the world

Singing Christmas carols has a long tradition in countless countries. In Greece, children walk from door to door on Christmas morning to sing the so-called “Kalanda,” accompanied by drums, bells, and triangles. In Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, the pre-Christmas “Lucia Festival” has a great importance. White robes, wreaths of light, and traditional singing are supposed to lighten the dark Swedish winter. 

Kitchen Stories

Cookies for Santa

Another popular American tradition is giving cookies and milk to Santa. Therefore, a plate of home-baked cookies and a glass of milk is placed on the window sill on the evening of December 24 in order to be picked up by Santa before he heads back up the chimney. Sometimes you can even find some carrots for his reindeers.  

Kitchen Stories

Save the best for last: Christmas food

For many people worldwide, Christmas is not just a celebration of love and traditions, but also of food, flavors, and indulgence. While Germans eat a traditional Christmas goose or duck, a Christmas carp is eaten in Poland. 

Whole roasted goose

Whole roasted goose

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France celebrates with turkey and chestnuts, or the infamous foie gras (goose liver). Greeks also serve turkey, but not before December 25th because, according to the Greek tradition, you should fast on the 24th of December. 

Roasted juicy turkey

Roasted juicy turkey

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In England and the U.S.A., the Christmas turkey is often served with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. Whoever can still eat afterwards can enjoy some mince pie. In Luxembourg, Christmas dinner is more down-to-earth and simple with black pudding. mashed potatoes, and apple sauce. 

Creamy mashed potatoes

Creamy mashed potatoes

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