Mothering Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, tell me about christmastime! How it is celebrated where you are. I was thinking this the other day and I realised that I know very little about christmas traditions in Europe - ofcourse Scandinavia is familiar but elsewhere ?

Does Santa visit? If it does, when? When do you give gifts? What do you do? What do you eat?(oh please give me yummy recipies!!!!). When do you put up christmas tree? Or do you? How do you decorate it?

Is christmastime free? Are stores, schools and work places closed?

Curious Finn
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,558 Posts
In Germany Christmas is THE holiday. At the moment people are baking like crazy (cookies, stollen, cakes...), making their advent calendars (yes, many mamas make home-made advent calendars for their loved ones), and getting their stockings ready for December 6 (St Nicholas) where sweets and clementines are placed in 'good' children's stockings or shoes overnight.
The entire month of December there are Christmas markets all over Germany (where you can buy cookie cutters, artisanal items, Christmas goodies, gluhwein (hot wine), etc.) and elaborate Christmas trees are the norm.
Christmas is celebrated on December 24 in the evening, traditional fare is smoked salmon. Christmas is celebrated the 25th and 26th. On the 25th it is typical to eat goose, potatoes, red cabbage, and a vegetable. All shops are closed from noon Dec 24 until the morning of the 27th.
Many shops and businesses stay closed between Christmas and New Years or January 6. January 6 is a holiday here in Southern Germany.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
476 Posts
Christmas is also the BIG Czech holiday. And the 6th is St. Nicholas Day, when stockings are stuffed with small gifts. The tradition is that St. Nicholas with an angel and a devil comes to ask the kids if they've been good and deserve gifts, and the devil is supposed to scare them. I really hate this tradition, I think scaring kids into fessing up if they've been good is really stupid. My DH remembers being terrified and hiding under his bed until St. Nicholas left, and then MIL had to coax him out from hiding with chocolate, LOL.

The 24th is the main event, with a big dinner and presents afterwards. Children are told that Baby Jesus brings the present. The meal is fish soup, fried fish and potato salad, appel strudel for desert. The fish is carp and before Christmas, vendors sell and butcher carp all over the city. Lots of people go to midnight mass. There are Christmas markets all over the place. Some of the craft thet sell are really nice, but alot of the stuff is just kitsch. And lots of booze of course (mull wine especially)

The 25th there is usually turkey for lunch. Most stores are closed, but lots of businesses are open on the 24th. The 26th is St. Stephens day, but nobody celebrates that anymore.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
465 Posts
We celebrate Christmas in Poland big time.
The most important is the Christmas Eve. My mom used to start cooking things 3 days in advance to prepare all 12 meals. Usually we don't eat meat except fish on the Christmas Eve and we fast during the day in preparation for the evening. Some of the traditional Christmas Eve dishes include: fish soup, fried carp (fish), dumplings stuffed with sour kraut and mushrooms, apple and prune compote, herrings served in all sorts of ways, cakes and pies.

We usually decorate our Christmas trees a day or two before Christmas. On Christmas Eve we gather together with the closest family at the table when the first star appears on the sky, eat, listen to the carrols. Then we open our gifts, yes on Christmas Eve. They are put under the tree and one child usually retrieves them from there and passes to whom they belong. If you are religious you may end up going for a midnight mass, it is a lot of fun as we usually have plenty of snow there and it is just so exotic to be going out as a whole family in the late night and walk through the snow.

The first day of Christmas is for visiting family or friends. Truly, I miss the wintery spirit of Christmas!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,558 Posts
Here in Germany the gifts are opened on Christmas Eve, too. Usually cold smoked salmon, bread, and a light dinner is eaten because families usually go to a children's church service together (well, at least here in religiously conservative SW Germany). They then walk home together, eat, and then open the gifts. In many houses the children are not allowed to see the tree all lit up with gifts under until a bell has been rung. This bell tells the children that the Baby Jesus or the Christmas man (depending on your beliefs) has passed by to leave gifts.
There is also the tradition of the youngest child handing out the presents to every one.
December 25 and 26 (everything is closed both days here) are for visiting family, extended family, and close friends.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top