Just like with Thanksgiving celebrations, each country has its own customs to celebrate the Christmas season. Your toddlers are familiar with America’s traditions of Christmas trees, stocking, Christmas lights and presents. Other countries and cultures around the world have different customs for celebrating the holidays. Here are a few ways that some other countries celebrate Christmas.
- Brazil – Brazil Christmas celebrations are similar to the U.S’. Kids will leave a sock or stocking near a window for Papai Noel. If he finds your stocking, he will exchange it for a present. On Christmas Eve, people start celebrating with fireworks and a big barbecue with family and friends.
- Japan – Japan doesn’t celebrate Christmas to the extent that Americans do, however certain American customs have set in. Sending Christmas cards and exchanging presents has become a popular way to celebrate the holiday. Christmas Eve is thought to be more of a romantic evening, used to exchange presents with significant others, similar to Valentine’s Day. Santa brings gifts for children, and families celebrate with meals of fried chicken and sponge cake.
- Spain – The Spanish celebrate Christmas by going to Midnight Mass. Before the service on Christmas Eve, most families celebrate with a feast of Turkey stuffed with truffle mushrooms, or seafood. Children get some presents on Christmas, but get most at Epiphany, celebrated on January 5th. On Epiphany Eve, children leave shoes on the windowsill, a balcony, or under the Christmas tree to be filled with presents.
- Nigeria – Nigerian Christmas is a family event where lots of family members come together to celebrate. Celebrations start on Christmas Eve with big parties that last all night. On Christmas morning, families go to church. Children often shoot of firecrackers for Christmas, and most houses display artificial Christmas trees. Family members exchange gifts and Christmas cards amongst each other. There is of course a big Christmas meal, often consisting of turkey, beef, goat, sheep, ram or chicken.
We encourage children to learn about other ways to celebrate Christmas, and incorporate a new holiday tradition into your family’s celebrations this year. However you celebrate, we all share the enjoyment of celebrating the most wonderful time of the year!