Christmas Celebrations Around The World - Christmas Traditions

Though belonging to the Christian faith, but Christmas is celebrated and observed all over the world, in both Christian and non Christian countries, with a few exceptions. Such is the festive attraction of the festival that people from all faith and ethnicities immerse in the celebration of Christmas, though the activities and traditions may vary from place to place. Along with prayers and wishing everyone, feasting, carolling and giving Christmas gifts to near and dear ones also from as important activities for the season. It is of particular importance to students, who goes abroad to study, or takes trips in the Christmas holidays. They keep keen knowledge on the local celebration flavours of different places, so that they can have the best of merry making. For kids too, this is a special time, for they can have the most of parties and get the most of gifts at this time. Across the world, the spirit of Christmas remains unchanged. While most of us celebrate it as a festive season spreading over a week, for some it is a month long festival that starts with the Advent on Sunday next to November 26 and ends on January 6 with the feast of Epiphany. Read on to have a glimpse over the different ways in which it is celebrated in different countries and places around the world.

Christmas Around The World By Countries

All over the world, Christmas celebrations reflect local culture, history and traditions. The festivities can be startlingly different from country to country; focusing on different aspects of the origin and history. Often hailed “the most wonderful time of the year,” Christmas is a season of unity. This doesn’t just extend to family; Christmas is one of those rare occasions which truly unites people world-wide, across caste and creed, religion and ethnicity. What is fascinating is the different ways in which we see Christmas all over the world. In the following pages, we'll take a look at the different Christmas traditions in countries across the world, from Sweden to Australia, from England to China.

"Norwegian Christmas Tradition", 1846, Adolph Tidemand, Norwegian, 1814 – 1876

Christmas is celebrated in various ways around the world, and different cultures have their unique traditions and customs to mark this festive season. Here are some Christmas traditions from different countries and regions:

United States:

  • Decorating a Christmas tree with ornaments and lights.
  • Hanging stockings by the fireplace for Santa Claus to fill with gifts.
  • Christmas parades and light displays in many cities.
  • Traditional Christmas foods like roast turkey, ham, and pumpkin pie.

United Kingdom

  • Christmas crackers, which contain small toys and paper crowns.
  • Mince pies and Christmas pudding as traditional desserts.
  • Caroling and attending church services.
  • The Queen's Christmas Day speech broadcasted on TV.


  • Advent calendars with a small gift or treat behind each door.
  • St. Nicholas Day (Nikolaustag) on December 6, when children receive small gifts.
  • Christmas markets with festive decorations and food.
  • The Christmas pickle tradition, where a pickle ornament is hidden on the tree, and the child who finds it gets an extra gift.


  • The Yule log (bûche de Noël) cake is a popular dessert.
  • Celebrating with a festive meal on Christmas Eve called "Réveillon."
  • Nativity scenes (crèches) are commonly displayed in homes and churches.
  • The Feast of St. Stephen (Boxing Day) is also observed.


  • The Feast of the Seven Fishes (La Vigilia) is a traditional Christmas Eve meal.
  • La Befana, a kind witch, delivers gifts to children on Epiphany (January 6).
  • The nativity scene (presepio) is a significant decoration.
  • Fireworks and festive parades in some regions.


  • Las Posadas, a reenactment of Mary and Joseph's search for lodging.
  • Piñatas filled with candies and treats, broken during the celebrations.
  • Tamales and ponche (fruit punch) are common Christmas foods.
  • Celebrating the Epiphany, known as Día de los Reyes (Three Kings' Day).


  • St. Lucia's Day on December 13, featuring a procession of girls wearing crowns of candles.
  • Decorating the home with straw ornaments and a Christmas goat (julbock).
  • The Julbord, a traditional Christmas buffet with dishes like herring and ham.
  • Santa Claus is known as Jultomten in Sweden.


  • Christmas is not a national holiday, but it is celebrated as a time for romantic couples.
  • Christmas cake, typically a sponge cake with cream and strawberries, is a popular dessert.
  • Illuminated displays and decorations in cities like Tokyo.
  • Gift-giving, similar to Valentine's Day, is common.


  • Christmas barbecues and outdoor celebrations due to the summer season.
  • Carols by Candlelight events in parks and public spaces.
  • Decorating homes and gardens with Christmas lights.
  • Santa Claus often arrives on a surfboard or by other unique means.


  • Christmas is celebrated with festive decorations and lights.
  • Many people attend a Midnight Mass service on Christmas Eve.
  • A traditional Christmas meal may include turkey, ham, and various sweets.


  • Christmas is celebrated on January 7th, following the Orthodox calendar.
  • Grandfather Frost (Ded Moroz) and his granddaughter Snegurochka bring gifts to children.
  • Traditional dishes include kutia (a sweet porridge) and Olivier salad.


  • In India, where Christians are a minority, Christmas is celebrated with church services, decorations, and festive meals.
  • Markets are decorated, and people exchange gifts.
  • Goa, with its Portuguese influence, has vibrant Christmas celebrations.

South Africa

  • Christmas falls during the summer in the Southern Hemisphere, so celebrations often include outdoor activities and barbecues (braais).
  • Christmas Day is a public holiday, and many families exchange gifts and enjoy festive meals.


  • Christmas celebrations in Sweden include the tradition of Saint Lucy's Day on December 13th.
  • The Yule Goat (Julbock) is a popular Christmas symbol.
  • Traditional foods include a Christmas ham and a variety of festive sweets.


  • Christmas is not widely celebrated as a religious holiday but is becoming increasingly popular in urban areas.
  • In some cities, Christmas decorations, lights, and trees are common.
  • Gift-giving and shopping are part of the festive season.


  • Christmas is a time for family and community gatherings in Ghana.
  • Churches hold special services, and many people attend midnight services on Christmas Eve.
  • Traditional dishes may include jollof rice, fufu, and soups.


  • The Philippines has one of the longest Christmas seasons, starting as early as September.
  • Simbang Gabi, a series of nine pre-dawn Masses, is a popular tradition.
  • Festive parades, lantern displays, and caroling are common.

These are just a few examples of how Christmas is celebrated around the world. Each culture adds its own special touch to the holiday, making it a unique and meaningful experience for people of all backgrounds. Scroll Down for more:

Christmas Celebration in Africa, Alaska, Albania, Argentina, Australia

Christmas Celebration in Bahamas, Bethlehem, Brazil, Bulgaria

Christmas Celebration in Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia

Christmas Celebration in Denmark, Egypt, Ethopia, Finland, France

Christmas Celebration in Germany, Greece, Greenland, Georgia, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary

Christmas Celebration in India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy

Christmas Celebration in Japan, Lebanon, Malta, Mexico

Christmas Celebration in New Zealand, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway

Christmas Celebration in Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia

Christmas Celebration in Scotland, South America, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

Christmas Celebration in Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Vietnam, Wales