Christmas Holiday Traditions From Around the World


Christmas is a wonderful family holiday and the perfect time to create new traditions and memories. You may have your own family traditions already such as baking cookies, going ice skating or even a family trip to choose the Christmas tree. People across the world celebrate different traditions at Christmas, read on to see if there are some you can adopt for your family.

United States of America

Traditions vary across the country but most towns and villages are lit up with sparkling lights and colorful decorations. Many churches and houses also put up a Nativity scene tableau.

Families open their gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and the Christmas meal features turkey, duck, goose and ham.


The Germans were the first to use glass ornaments on their trees as decorations. Local families make the decorations and sell them at winter markets held at the beginning of the advent season.

The Christmas Tree also hails from Germany; during the Middle Ages plays were stagnated to teach peasants the stories of the bible and an evergreen tree was placed on the stage to represent the tree of life.

The first trees were undecorated until one night Martin Luther was out walking in the woods and was so taken by the twinkling stars amongst the evergreens that when he got home he tied candles to his Christmas tree.

Germans have a wonderful tradition known as a Christmas Pickle. The last ornament that is placed on the tree is a glass pickle, and on Christmas morning the first child to find the pickle receives an extra present.

New brides receive a glass carrot ornament to hang on her tree as a symbol of fertility.


Christmas in Scotland is a very somber affair which is observed quietly with friends and religious services, however come New Year's Eve the party gets started.

A midnight church service takes place on New Year's Eve and then Hogmanay celebrations begin to welcome in the New Year.

The first person to cross the threshold on New Year's Day precedes the family's luck for the year. The best luck of all comes if the "first foot" is a dark haired man.


In Switzerland gifts are given on St Nicholas Day on December 6th. People put out their shoes before they go to bed and in the morning they find them filled with small gifts, fruit or nuts and special Nicholas candies and cookies. These gifts are meant to be shared, not hoarded for yourself.


In Mexico a Fiesta is held and blindfolded children have three chances to break a Pinata which is filled with fruit, candies and nuts.