White mountains, decorated Christmas trees and a festive feast are for many people a part of annual Christmas festivities. With shops and offices in 37 countries, we know many of the world's Christmas customs, a few of which we have described here. Merry Christmas!
In the UK the main day of celebration is 25 December, when people get together and eat turkey, roast potatoes and pigs in blankets. But first people pull their Christmas crackets, which are filled with a paper crown, a small gift and a joke. At 3pm it's time for the Queen's Christmas speech, which almost all families watch on TV.
Sinterklaas and Zwarte Pieten
In Holland the legend of Father Christmas (Sinterklaas) arrives on a boat from Spain at Christmas. He is accompanied by his servant, Zwarte Pieten, and this happening has such an important place in Dutch tradition that it is shown on TV. The most important day in Holland is St. Nicholas Day on 5 December, which is when children receive gifts and people celebrate with a large Christmas feast.
In Italy the traditional Father Christmas (Babbo natale) and baby Jesus (holy Lucia) are also accompanied by a kind witch (La Befana). Children thus receive presents from three people. Christmas is celebrated in large family gatherings on the first feast day when they eat a festive lunch together. Golden bread (il pandoro) for dessert is almost an essential Italian custom.
Spanish mass of the rooster
Christmas mass in Spain is referred to as "La Misa Del Gallo" (Mass of the rooster) because a rooster is said to have crowed the night that Jesus was born. The houses are decorated with paper lanterns. The annual draw of the Christmas lottery is also not to be missed. In Spain, children receive their presents on 6 January.
Barbecue with kangaroos
In Australia it is warm at this time of year and so Christmas is very different here than in this country. Instead of Nordic reindeer, Father Christmas is helped by kangaroos to deliver the presents. As there is no guarantee of snow-topped mountains, the Australians barbecue on the beach whilst singing Christmas classics. 26 December is Boxing Day, a traditional end of season sale time, when all shops open their doors and considered part of the festivities for many Australians.
Would you like to celebrate an international Christmas next year? We have some fantastic second homes in our portfolio, where you spend more than just Christmas or New Year!