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December 12, 2022

Looking for new Christmas rituals for your family? Here is some inspiration from how other cultures around the world celebrate Christmas. Discover 5 unique traditions:

The Netherlands:

  1. Sinterklaas (surprise) Poem:

A creative tradition in The Netherlands during Sinterklaas (or St Nicholas) is to gift a DIY present together with a personalized poem. Although normally a tradition for children, adults often also join in the fun. The poem need not be too long and will usually be an opportunity to poke some fun  about that persons year or silly things that happened. It can also poke fun at the gift itself and meant to be lighthearted. It your mum always late? Or your dad always watching youtube? Or your husband always losing things? This is all prime material to be included into your poem. And don’t forget to write it from the perspective of Piet or Sinterklaas!

Sinterklaas surprise

 

Spain:

  1. Belen (nativity scene at home):

 In Spain, about one month before Christmas, beautiful nativity scenes start popping up around the city. Bigger organizations, such as banks, town councils like to put on their own exhibit and invite customers to come and enjoy. Likewise, at home families set up a Belen (Bethlehem in Spanish) on their mantelpiece. The little ceramic pieces become collectors items and are traditionally put up together with the children. You can also buy these at especially set up markets selling handmade pieces.

Belen ayuntamiento

 

South Africa:

  1. Beach Braai

In the Southern hemisphere, Christmas hits right in the middle of summer! Can you imagine swapping white snowy landscapes for beach and barbecue? That is how they celebrate Christmas in South Africa, with a braai! (bbq). On this braai, you will generally find a few types of meat cuts, such as: Droerwors, lamb cutlets, steak and if you are lucky a few lone vegetables. On these hot days, keep an eye out for Santa taking a swim in the sea. 

 

Beach Braai

German speaking countries:

 

  1. Glühwein (Mulled wine):

Have you ever tried hot, spiced wine? A traditional Christmas tradition in German speaking regions, and the Alsace in France it consists of red wine warmed with aromatic spices. Translating into ‘Glow Wine’ it is usually served at Christmas markets or in the evening amongst friends. To make it, is very easy! For this you will need orange, cloves, cinnamon star anise, red wine, and a bit of extra water. There are many recipes online but this one here is one of our personal favorites. Keep warm this winter and give it a try.

Gluwein

 

Switzerland:

  1. DIY Advent calendar:

Another lovely DIY project is creating your own personalized Advent calendar, like they do in Switzerland. These calendars can then be given as a surprise or made together with the family. Each day can reveal a little surprise, until the big day on Christmas when you get a bigger gift.

DIY advent calendar

How do you and your family celebrate Christmas? Any unique traditions? 

 


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