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Hip2Save This Holiday: Christmas Around the World Tradition

1:42 PM MST
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Hip2Save This Holiday Guest Post submitted by reader, Kristi:

As a family we have a, “Christmas Around the World,” tradition. I have spent time learning about other cultures and their unique holiday traditions. Every year, we celebrate the way people from those other cultures celebrate. We eat a traditional dinner, read books, do activities, sing songs, and anything that is unique to that culture.

My personal favorite is when we celebrate Santa Lucia Day and have a Swedish Christmas celebration. Santa Lucia Day is the day people in Sweden celebrate the longer days ahead. We usually start with a traditional Swedish dinner. Our daughter then dresses as Santa Lucia and we all have homemade Lucia buns, which is common in Swedish homes. :) Then we read a Swedish Christmas book called “Annika’s Secret Wish.” This is followed by making our own Yule Goats. After that we all gather around the TV and watch, “the Clown of the Jungle,” which is a very strange Donald Duck cartoon that everyone in Sweden watches on Christmas day.

Although not all of these activities are traditionally done on Santa Lucia day, we have fun spending an evening celebrating Christmas and learning about another culture. Some other countries that have fun traditions that are different than American traditions are Mexico, Germany, and Italy. And the best part is that many of them have traditions on days other than Christmas, so it is easy to pick a date to set these traditions for. The pictures above are of my daughter dressed as Santa Lucia, some of the Yule Goats we made, and of our shoes filled with candy the night after we celebrated German Christmas.

For more information on the Hip2Save This Holiday series and to learn how you can participate in the fun, click here!

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  • Laura says:

    How fun! I’m Swedish and think this is adorable!

  • Sarah Nichols says:

    I love this idea! What a great way to let your kids experience other cultures!

  • deb says:

    I really want to celebrate St Nicholas day (Dec 6) in our house to put emphasis on a real person rather than fictional Santa Claus, does anyone have ideas they do?

    • Cara says:

      We always celebrated this one as kids, and now I carry it on in my family. We put our stocking out the night before as kids and in the morning found a small gift inside.
      We didn’t do too much with actually learning about it, though since then I have read much more about Saint Nicholas as well as how different countries celebrate the day. There is a lot of info online about it:)

    • Elaine E. says:

      Deb,My husband and were stationed in Germany.While there,we picked up the tradition of St.Nicholas Day.Even now,we carry on that tradition with our grandkids.It is celebrate the evening of the 5th,the morning of the 6th.I highly suggest you do it with your family.Google St.Nicholas Day and learn about it

    • Amy says:

      I was born in Germany, my Dad was U.S. Air Force. So we always celebrated St. Nicholas Day by putting out our shoes the night before and they were filled with treats for us@

    • Michelle says:

      We celebrate St. Nicholas Day every year. I’m not sure if it’s part of the tradition, but we always have the kids prepare their Christmas Lists to leave out for St. Nick when he comes by to fill their stockings. I have also started putting their annual Christmas ornament in the stocking

      • Kathleen says:

        I am German and no the Christmas list is not part of the tradition but I like the idea. Usually kids put their shoes in front of their doors before going to bed. (in Germany it’s pretty common to have slippers – or some kind of “indoor shoe” – and most kids now use those). When the kids wake up on the 6th they find their shoes filled with goodies, usually some Christmas themed candy/chocolate. When we were little my mom had special “Christmas boots” they were little red boots with white fur on top, made out of plastic.

  • Starla says:

    Wonderful way to teach them while they are young that there is always different ways to make a tradition.

  • ter says:

    we are celebrating st. nicholas day (similar to santa lucia day) every year amd it is much fun for kids.

  • Karen says:

    What a great way to learn about other cultures and slow down and enjoy time together as a family over (what is generally) a very hectic season.

  • Kathryn says:

    Both my grandparents were born in Sweden so it is a big thing at our household. We have some of those straw goat ornaments, among others, on our tree as well. With Swedish flag garland. My grandparents are gone but we carry on the Swedish meal at least.

  • Elena says:

    Swedes have many fun traditions around Christmas, for example, watch Donald Duck cartoon. And so they celebrate Christmas on 24 December.

  • eliza says:

    I remember celebrating Christmas on the 24th of Dec. and we still do. Back in Mexico as a child, I remember that almost every house in our neighborhood would have something to eat (tamales or something really typical of our region) and you would be more than welcome to visit and eat at anyone’s house. If a neighbor didnt have something or would not answer the door it was your DUTY to leave them dinner at their doorstep. Of course we always celebrated with pinatas, fireworks (personal favorite) and lots of candy. And as kids we would get to stay up all night! Not too much emphasis on gifts but more on celebrating and sharing.

  • lmwynn says:

    Every year with my mom’s family we follow the Italian tradition of having a fish “feast” on Christmas Eve. I always look forward to it!

  • Em says:

    I love that so many are celebrating other cultures!!! I feel like a lot of Americans are VERY AMERICA!!!! and less worldly than they should be. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely patriotic, but we owe it to ourselves to be conscious of other cultures and traditions, as that is what this beautiful country was founded upon, sort of. I’m extremely proud of my trilingual (and currently learning ASL and German!) children, knowing that they have a great leg up in America because of this brings me great pride. Even the average taxi driver (not that there is anything wrong with being a taxi driver, but that’s just one of many examples) in Italy knows 3 languages, why shouldn’t our children!? My kiddos love learning about the Christmas traditions of other cultures and the various holidays celebrated by other religions. They are currently studying about Kawanzaa and loving it. They love going to school and telling their peers about the different aspects of other cultures and their peers love coming to our house and getting to try different foods and learning new things in an extremely fun way!

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