Christmas Traditions

 How Children around the world celebrate Christmas

There are so many different Christmas traditions all over the world. Christians celebrate this special holiday with specific Christmas decorations, traditional festive food and various activities. And people do not only celebrate Christmas differently in different countries, but all families have their own Christmas traditions which especially children cherish and uphold during the festive season.

christmas decoration and tree in snow - christmas traditions all over the world - image by shutterstock

Here you will find a small collection of stories from children of 8 - 11 years who tell us about their favourite festival: Christmas. Enjoy reading their stories and let us know how you celebrate Christmas, as we plan to expand this section for all to share and learn about other traditions in different parts our wonderful world. 

Christmas Tradition: Christmas decorations | USA

It all started with my great grand father and his love for Christmas lights. He enjoyed decorating the front lawn with illuminated figurines and the trees with string lights. 

House with Christmas decorations and lights

Each year around Thanksgiving time he would look to add to his collection by getting a new piece for the front lawn. He would take his son, my grandfather to all the Christmas stores for the best deals. Once the yard is completed it will be lit up from Thanksgiving to Christmas for all to enjoy.

As the years went on my grandfather took their tradition over from my great grand father and started the same tradition with his son, my Dad. My Dad took the tradition and started adding multiple pieces or figurines to the yard, every single year.

Currently we have approximately three hundred and fifty different lighted figures additionally all the lights blink in unison with Christmas music we all know and love. As the cars come to visit you can tune in your radio to 107.1 and hear the same music through the radio in your car. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away on Christmas day, 1999.

Today, my brother and I help to keep the tradition alive by helping my Dad decorate the yard. My favorite piece on the lawn is the colored tunnels that sparkle over the driveway. We all have fun keeping this awesome tradition alive.

- by Samantha from Vernon in New Jersey/USA

Christmas traditions in India

Christmas is one of my favourite most joyful festivals in India. I love it because we can do many things like snowmen, elves, decorate christmas trees, christmas wreaths, candles, jingle bells, shining stars, share gifts and decorate the house with lights.

Delicious Christmas sweets: Gulab Jamun

Christmas is an extraordinary festival that is celebrated worldwide on the occasion of birth of Jesus Christ.  This Wonderful person was given birth by a lovely couple called Mary and Joseph. It is celebrated on 25th December every year.

Before my school at Bangalore closes for Christmas vacation, I give colourful christmas cards to all the teachers. We play Secret Santa game in the class  to decide who will give gifts to whom. we receive our secret santa gifts on the closing day of school and we celebrate by singing, sharing stories and snacks.

Next day, I travel with my mom by early morning shatabdi express train to my native town which in State of Tamilnadu, South India. My grandparents feel overjoyed by seeing us. As soon as I walk in, I run off to see the beautiful Christmas crib which my grandmother made. I also join in decorating with red, blue, green, golden and silver color lights. The christmas carols arrive to each home in the cold nights, and here comes the Santa claus, giving candies to children, while they sing songs of good cheer, that Christmas is here. They send their wishes like a song "We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year ".

My Dad joins us on the Christmas day we all go to the church, to attend the church mass, to pray and celebrate.  The church is decorated with colourful candles, twinkling lights, stars, and we can see a lot of people gathered for this special night. All of us greet each other and wish a peaceful and happy Christmas.

After we reach home, we celebrate by cutting Cake, our mouthful of yummy cake. My grandmom makes her special tea for  others on the cold night. And then we all sleep peacefully with Santas dreams.

Next day morning, I run to the Christmas tree and can see my dreams come true. There were lots of presents waiting for me. We all open the presents together, everybody is filled with cheerfulness. It was a phizz whizzing start of the day. On this happy note, my grandmom makes this day scrumdiddlyumptious, by making her excellent recipes like mouth watering Chicken briyani, spicy meatballs, gulab jamun, pudding, and 'murukku', a savoury crunchy snack made from rice flour and urad dal flour. Each time we take a bite, we can hear the crunchy sound ,'murk, muruk '.

Christmas is thus, a festival of joy and love. It brings people together with Love. I would always say "It is a holly jolly Christmas Its the best time of the year. All of us had a cup of cheer.".

- by Joe from Bangalore in India

Our Christmas Traditions:
A Filipino-American Christmas celebration

My favorite holiday celebration is Christmas. This year's Christmas with my family was fun and we had new traditions. We have lots of family traditions on Christmas. Let me tell you all about my family's new and old Christmas traditions.

Singing carols at Christmas

The first tradition that I will tell you about is a new tradition and is called the Choir Carolers. At our school church, my sister and I joined the choir. We sing carols at the church and we celebrate by participating in Mass. This takes place on the night before Christmas.

The second tradition is called Christmas Pajama Party. It all started recently in our family on the night before Christmas too. My family and I would all wear pajamas or onesies. When our family comes, we do a little sign to welcome them. In the Philippines, we get the person's hand and put it on our forehead for a sign of respect. While we wait for all the guests to come, my cousins and I wrap gifts that are not wrapped yet. We have to be quick before all the guests arrive and we all have different jobs like for instance: I had the job to write the name of the person that the gift will be given to with a Sharpie marker. When all the guests arrived, we eat our culture’s food and my mom makes these Filipino eggrolls called lumpias. There were also packets of hot cocoa that taste good. We opened gifts. Then, we form two teams and have a ginger bread house-building contest. It isn’t really a contest. We all stay up at 2 o’clock and guests start to leave after 2 o’clock in the morning.

Then, it is Christmas Day. In the afternoon, we have a tradition to go to my grandma’s house. This is an old tradition and it is always on Christmas Day. My grandma makes lots of yummy treats like: pansit, which are Filipino noodles. Sometimes, she buys treats from other stores like: watermelon. In her party, I love eating her lumpias with rice and to top it up with some watermelon. Some adults at the party watch a sports game or anything on the TV while some adults hang out with the kids or hang out at the couch. Then, we open more gifts.

The last tradition is called: Lake Tahoe Family Trip. My family and I go with my dad’s side of the family. It’s usually my auntie who takes care of the whole trip.

I love Christmas because it’s the most joyful time of the year and I get to spend time with my family but most importantly, it’s because it’s Papa Jesus’ birthday. The gifts and food aren’t important but being with your family and celebrating how much years Papa Jesus taken care of us and took us to his homes. I love the true meaning of Christmas. I love having fun but some people think festivals and celebrations are only just for fun. It is for fun but there are deeper reasons of why we have these celebrations and festivals. 

- by Erin from San Leandro in California/USA - slightly edited for length

Many thanks go to Samantha, Joe and Erin for their lovely stories and insights into your family's Christmas traditions!

Read more about fascinating and very different Christmas traditions around the world here

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