10 Fun Christmas Traditions from Around the World You Can Use This Year
These fun Christmas Traditions From Around the World are the perfect way to introduce your kids to another culture while having some great Christmas fun!
I’m sure your family has a variety of Christmas traditions you use to make the holiday special for your kids – from decorating the tree together to opening a special gift on Christmas eve. If you love incorporating new traditions into your holiday routine, why not try using a few fun traditions from around the world to make things interesting this year?
These 10 Christmas traditions from around the world are sure to make your kids’ Christmas extra fun this year.
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In Iceland, children celebrate Yule instead of Christmas. And that means Santa Claus doesn’t visit all the children in Iceland. Instead, kids there are visited by Yule Lads. These mischievous elf-like men climb through the children’s window each of the 13 nights leading up to Yule, leaving candy or a potato in the children’s shoes depending on whether they were good or bad that day.
St. Nicholas Day
St. Nicholas Day is celebrated every year on December 6th in Germany. The night before the special day, children set a pair of shoes for St. Nicholas to fill with candy and fruit. Then, the children use advent calendars or advent wreaths to countdown the remaining days until Christmas day.
Hay for Horses
The children of Holland also celebrate a version of St. Nicholas Day. On December 6th, Sinterklaas arrives in Holland on his horses. To prepare for his arrival, the children set out their shoes filled with hay and carrots to feed the horses. And when Sinterklaas arrives, he fills the shoes with candy, nuts, and small trinkets.
While most of us in the U.S. celebrate the holidays with ham or turkey, Mexican children enjoy tamales during the holidays. Tamales are typically made of steamed corn dough filled with meats, cheese, and vegetables. While many in Mexico enjoy tamales year-round, these delicious treats are always a part of Christmas in Mexico.
Burning Christmas List
Like many children in the United States, kids in England write a letter to Santa listing the gifts they want for Christmas. But instead of mailing the letter to the North Pole, English children throw their list in the fire on Christmas eve. As the smoke rises through the chimney to the sky, Father Christmas reads the smoke to see what the children want to find under the tree.
Children in Italy earn a little extra money during the nine days before Christmas, known as Novena, by going from house to house in their neighborhood reciting Christmas verses and singing Christmas songs for coins and sweets. Novena is an annual Catholic ritual that includes a nine-day prayer.
Each year, in the days leading up to Christmas, Mexican families enjoy the celebration of Las Posadas. During this nine-day celebration, families reenact the travels of Mary and Joseph as they go in search of lodging in Bethlehem before baby Jesus is born. In preparation for the celebration, many Mexican families construct luminarias or farolitos to light the area’s sidewalks and streets. Farolitos are traditionally made using brown paper bags cut with intricate patterns. The bags are then filled with sand and a candle is added inside to illuminate the night.
In Spain, families celebrate Christmas Eve with larger luminarias – usually bonfires. These bonfires are often lit in public squares and outside church walls after the first star shines in the night sky on Christmas Eve.
Breaking of the Oplatek
Each year, Polish families gather around the dinner table on Christmas eve and enjoy a special tradition known as the breaking of the oplatek. An oplatek is a thin wafer made of flour and water. The tradition begins by the father or oldest member of the family breaking the wafter in half and giving one half to the mother.
After that, each parent breaks a small piece of their wafer and wishes each other a long life, good health, joy, and happiness. The tradition then continues with each of the parents repeating the ceremony with each of the children, as well as other guests who are present at the dinner.
Upside Down Tree
In Slovenija, homes are traditionally decorated with an evergreen fir or pine tree during the holiday season. But instead of placing the tree upright and adding decorations, Slovenians hang their trees from the ceiling upside down in the living room or upside down on a fence in front of their house. The trees are then decorated with simple paper chains, apples, nuts, and cookies.
Urn of Fate
Spanish families ensure their kids are nice to each other year-round with this fun tradition known as the “urn of fate.” On Christmas Day, children in Spain dance around the nativity scene set up in their home and open gifts from family members. Then, the family places names written on cards in a bowl, drawing two names out at a time. Each set of names pulled from the bowl means those two people must be nice to each other during the year to come.
Don’t forget to grab your FREE PRintable Christmas Traditions from around the world Coloring by number coloring pages!
Christmas Traditions Your Family Will Cherish
Christmas traditions are some of the most powerful bonding opportunities for your family. I know the memories I made as a kid at Christmas-time are a strong anchor for me as an adult.
There are so many ideas though. It’s hard to keep track, isn’t it? Well, these Christmas family traditions are fantastic. Hope you like these ideas!
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- Take your family on the North Pole Express- FREE Printable
- How to answer the most common questions your kids have about Santa
- Easy ways to help kids in need this Christmas
- 10 Family Bonding activities for the best Christmas ever!
- Drool-Worthy Christmas Cookies You Have to Bake This Year!