There comes an unexpected knock on the door on Christmas Eve. It might be a bunch of neighborhood kids who have come to carol you if you’re in the United States. Moreover, some children are excited about writing their wishes and expecting letters from Santa. In Argentina, it may be your neighbors coming over to give gifts and light up fireworks. In Newfoundland, it might be pals performing funny skits while dressed as someone else until you figure out who they are.

Christmas is a yearly celebration that honors the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ. It is observed in many ways around the world, even in nations with few Christians. Secular Christmas festivities are widespread around the world. 

Christmas around the world:

  • Japan – Even though only a percent of Japanese people are considered Christians, department stores are still packed with Santa Clauses and holiday kinds of music. Christmas celebrations may have a local twist as they are influenced by cultural customs. 
  • Bethlehem – Christians display nativity sets and adorn their doors with crosses in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. On Christmas Eve, people go to churches to see the yearly parade. 
  • France – The 6th of December, Saint Nicholas Day, signifies the beginning of the Christmas season in many parts of France. After that, children receive candy and small gifts. 

In the weeks following up to Christmas, many French cities are decorated, and children enjoy opening the 24 tiny windows on their Advent calendar. The tradition of building beautiful Christmas trees in the Alsace area dates back to the 14th century. Christmas lights are also displayed in cities and towns. 

  • Italy – In Italy, a “presepe,” or nativity scene, is usually displayed in churches, public areas, and often in residences. For many individuals, this is the main focus of the holiday decor. The tradition of displaying a nativity scene with a straw-filled crib started in Italy and is currently common in many nations. On Christmas Day, children in Italy get gifts from Father Christmas, who is known as “Babbo Natale” in Italian.
  • Germany – In Germany, Christmas trees are typically only arranged and decorated at homes on the morning of December 24th, even though houses are often adorned with fairy lights and holiday decor during December. On December 24, Christmas Eve, Germany officially kicks off its festive Christmas celebrations. Stores close earlier on Christmas Eve, so customers have until noon to finish their holiday shopping. Germany also has a public holiday on December 26, so many families gather to celebrate, attend church, or take a short trip to a nearby park.
  • Australia – In Australia, it is traditional to engage in Christmas picnics hosted by different churches and perform Christmas songs on the beach in the weeks before Christmas. As Australia resides in the southern hemisphere, the holiday season happens during the summer, making it reasonable why friends and family spend Christmas at the beach. On Christmas Day, young people, families, and friends meet on Bondi Beach, which is close to Sydney.
  • South Africa – People in South Africa celebrate Christmas on December 25 during the weeks before the holiday. The family meets on Christmas Day over a “braai,” which is South Africa’s version of a barbecue (BBQ). December signifies the start of summer in South Africa. On Christmas Day, a large crowd attends mass. Although there aren’t many real Christmas trees, some individuals decorate artificial trees and place them in their homes.
  • America – Many families decorate their homes with Christmas lights and ornaments in December.  Families gather for a joyful supper on Christmas Day after exchanging gifts. The sending and receiving of Christmas cards are usual. On cards, they write, “Merry Christmas!”


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