This time last year I was writing a blog for an Italian real estate agent and had the pleasure of submitting several posts discussing the Italian traditions of Christmas. I was quite surprised to find that Italian Christmas traditions in both the North and South of the country are quite different to what we experience here in North America. Food is still a big part of their day, but Santa and Christmas trees aren’t.
I have a young family and it’s been fun to create a unique approach to gift giving and the folklore of Father Christmas. Learning about different customs around the world really got me thinking about how we could build traditions in our family.
Here are some of the different traditions from other areas of the world that we are going to incorporate into our own Christmas celebrations.
- Italian letter writing – On Christmas Eve, after dinner, children put a letter on their father’s plate. The letter tells their daddy why they love him and are grateful for him and mom.
- Dutch Christmas Eve – My husband’s family are from Friesland, north of Holland. Traditionally the Dutch, like many countries in central and northern Europe, open their presents on Christmas Eve. We now choose one present to open on Christmas Eve (will it be a thumb sucking guard this year?) and open the rest on the ‘big day’.
- Greek offering to the less fortunate – A lot like their Mediterranean counterpart, the Italians, the Greeks don’t give many presents. Instead they give small gifts to hospitals, orphanages and people in need. This year, we will be participating in a gift rally for those in local foster care.
- Austrian Baked Carp – I love turkey, just love it, but I like the idea of an alternative. We celebrate Christmas with a big family gathering so I am going to bring a fish to shake things up a little at our Christmas table.
- Egyptian New Outfit – I like this tradition most of all! On Christmas Eve Egyptians will head to church dressed in a new outfit. Growing up in the north of England we did similar on Christmas Day, we always saved something special for the 25th. A cool idea might be to gift a new Glovey Huggey to match the outfit your child is going to wear. This is a good way to encourage them to wear the thumb guard and make it fun and exciting.
- French Chocolate Log – I’m not a big fan of fruit cake which is the tradition for Christmas. Long ago I started to make a French chocolate log for dessert. Serve with cream or ice cream – delicious!
Christmas is a fun holiday to celebrate whether you celebrate age old traditions or are creating your own family folklore. It is a great time to hang out with your kids and show how much you love them, thumbsucking and all.
Author Bio: Breanna Andrews is a mother of two young children and a writer. As the article suggests, she loves new clothes and is currently coveting this Becksöndergaard star scarf by Minkpink for herself and the Nature’s Pride for her daughter!