One of my travel goals is to spend Christmas in a foreign country – preferably one that I have previously visited. This made me curious as to how Christmas traditions varied by countries. So I thought I would pick some of my favorite past trips and research their Christmas traditions.
I have picked four sets of countries and put them into blocks - meaning I have grouped them together in the way that I first visited them. For example, I will start with Denmark and Sweden. I visited both countries in 2006.
I am also in the process of teaching myself Photoshop, so I have been rifling through the past trip photos, organizing, scanning and cleaning them up with my new Photoshop skills.
Therefore I am going to include some of the photos from my 2006 trip. I know they’re not Christmas photos, but I’ll post those one I spend Christmas there – eventually!
- Swedes enjoy the process or preparations that lead up to Christmas time particularly gifts, decorations and food
- The Christmas season kicks off with a glögg party in which mulled wine is consume
- December 13th is Lucia Day this tradition involves a young woman rising early and serving coffee and Lucia buns to everyone in herhousehold while wearing a traditional Lucia costumme
- There are many countdowns to Christmas with Advent calendars and candles
- Every Christmas Eve at 3pm EVERYONE in Sweden stops and watches a Walt Disney classic cartoon starring Donald Duck
- A typical Swedish Christmas revolves around a nice fire and many candles
- The Julbord is the Christmas buffet and is consumed on Dec 24th
- On Christmas Eve Santa arrives in person to pass out gifts
- Christmas trees are bought the day before Christmas Eve and are kept until January 13th known as the Twentieth Day Knut
- When the tree is ready to be disposed of every one gathers around has a party and then the tree is ‘plundered’ or thrown out the window
|The view from Drottingholm Palace - Sweden|
- Like the Swedes the Danish countdown to Christmas with Advent calendars and candles
- The Danish also celebrate Lucia Day on December 13th – the Swedish tradition was introduced to the Danes by The Norden Association during the German Occupation in 1944
- Christmas lunches are celebrated throughout the Christmas month- these are primarily in the work place and consist of traditional Danish recipes and lots of alcohol (one reason I love the Danes!)
- Danish breweries always produce a special Christmas brew
- The Christmas tree is decorated one the day before Christmas Eve or on Christmas Eve
- Because of the war with Germany Danish Christmas decorations are usually dominated by the national colors of red and white
- Christmas is celebrated December 24 -26 and most shops and businesses are closed
- Most people go to church during the day on Christmas Eve and spend the rest of the holiday at home with their family
- Christmas Eve dinner starts the celebrations and once dinner is finished it is time to light candles and open presents
- Father Christmas brings the presents replacing the pixie and the old farm leprechaun of the pre-Christian era
|The Little Mermaid - Copenhagen, Denmark|
|The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art - Denmark|