When most people think of Christmas, they think of carols, presents, and a big feast. But did you know that how we celebrate Christmas varies depending on where in the world you are? From Sweden’s feast to Japan’s eccentric Christmas Dinner, each country has its own unique way of marking the holiday. Let’s see how many you know! Here are 7 different Christmas traditions from around the world. So put on your Santa hat and get ready to learn about some amazing holiday traditions!
1. What type of Christmas tree to they use in Australia/New Zealand?
- a. fir
- b. pink
- c. Spruce
- d. gum.
Australia and New Zealand are two lands known for their warm weather and beautiful beaches. Here, instead of decorating their homes with traditional Christmas trees, many people opt to decorate their outdoor spaces with d. the iconic gum tree. This unique Christmas trend has become especially popular in recent years, as more and more Australians are choosing to celebrate the holidays with a beach barbecue or picnic rather than inside their home.
2. What is a Scandinavian feast called?
- a. Schmorgishborg
- b. Buche de Noel
- c. Julbord
- d. Carnivore feast.
Another Christmas tradition that is unique to a specific area of the world comes from Scandinavia – specifically, Sweden. Here, it’s traditional for families to gather together and have a large feast known as c. Julbord. Usually consisting of meats like ham or roast beef along with other delicious dishes like pickled herring and salmon, this special meal is eaten while standing around a table covered in festive decorations. Some even say that you haven’t truly experienced the holidays until you’ve sat down to Julbord!
3. What do they eat in Japan on Christmas?
- a. sushi
- b. KFC
- c. goose
- d. fresh fish.
Another interesting tradition comes from Japan – especially if you love b. KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)! At Christmastime in Japan, it’s not uncommon for people to line up outside their local KFC stores in order to place an order for their very own chicken dinner. Rather than enjoying traditional sides like mashed potatoes and gravy, however, Japanese families usually opt for coleslaw, green beans, and rice as their side dishes. So if you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate the holidays this year, perhaps you should consider making an order for KFC’s special Christmas Dinner!
4. What do they drink with Christmas dinner in South Korea?
- a. fruit punch
- b. mimosas
- c. eggnog
- d. tea
Many countries choose to combine their traditional holiday foods with other delicious treats when hosting a Christmas feast – including South Korea. Here, instead of enjoying the typical turkey or ham that is eaten in many other countries at Christmastime, families often opt to have japchae (a Korean noodle dish) and a. fruit punch as part of their meal. Some even include seasonal favorites like chestnuts or sweet persimmons in their festivities as well!
5. Who visits kids on Christmas Eve in Europe?
- a. Santa of course!
- b. Father Christmas
- c. St Nicholas
- d. all of the above
I know….trick question! It’s d. all of the above. In many European countries like France and Italy, it’s traditional for children to get a visit from St. Nicholas in addition to or sometimes rather than Santa Claus. Some also choose to leave gifts out on December 6th to celebrate St. Nick’s Day, instead of waiting until Christmas Eve like many other countries do. Santa is called Father Christmas in some European countries but don’t worry…Santa makes his way across the world. If you want to track him, be sure to go to the NORAD Santa tracker: https://www.noradsanta.org/en/
6. The outdoor nativity sets in Ireland and Scotland are made out of
- a. mud
- b. sand.
- c. straw
- d. olivewood
In Ireland and Scotland, families sometimes choose to get creative when it comes to decorating their homes during Christmastime. Rather than adorning the outside of their home with lights or other traditional decorations like wreaths or garlands, however, households often opt for something more unique: a nativity scene made from c. straw! The humble straw figures that represent Mary, Joseph, and their baby Jesus are typically made by hand and can often include a variety of animals as well.
7. Which of the following is a Norwegian Christmas treat?
- a. risengrynsgrøt
- b. jørgen
- c. rüdiger
- d. katja
Many families have their own traditions on December 23 which they call “little Christmas Eve.” These traditions include: decorating the Christmas tree, making a gingerbread house, or eating a. risengrynsgrøt; a hot rice pudding served with sugar, cinnamon and butter. An almond is hidden in the pudding, and if the almond turns up in your portion, you win a marzipan pig! (btw…all the other answers are Norwegian names).
Christmas is celebrated by people all around the world. While the traditions and ways that people celebrate Christmas vary from country to country, those of us who celebrate the religious traditions of Christmas, celebrate the story of the light that came into the world. I look forward to preparing our hearts during Advent and celebrating the birth of our Savior on Christmas Eve.
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5)
P.S. – I know that many of you are far more well traveled than I am. Feel free to tell me your favorite, foreign Christmas traditions not listed or let me know if you’ve experienced one of these traditions in a different way!