In GERMANY, children decorate
their Christmas Lists with pictures
and then leave them on the
windowsill overnight, weighed
down with a little sugar so they
won't be missed by Father
There is a flower in Germany
called the Christmas Rose which
blooms even in the snow and ice.
In FRANCE, young children leave their
shoes by the fire on Christmas Eve for a
gift from "le père Noël" while the older
children and adults go to church at
midnight and then return home for a late
supper called "le réveillon".
Christmas puppet shows are very popular
in France, mainly in Paris and in Lyons
In England, children write their letters to
Father Christmas and then throw them into the
fireplace so they will float up the chimney and
fly to the North Pole. If the lists catch fire first,
they have to rewrite them.
At Christmas dinner, a plum pudding is served
with little treasures hidden inside that bring
their finders good luck. Britain was the first
country to hang up mistletoe.
In KENYA, the churches are
decorated with balloons, ribbons,
flowers and green plants as well as
Christmas dinner is often a
barbecue with family members
traveling from far away to be
In LEBANON, families plant seeds
of grain in small pots a month
before Christmas. When Christmas
arrives they have little pots of green
to place around the Christmas Cave
and their Christmas Tree.
In ITALY, on the evening of the day after
Christmas, children are visited by a good witch
named Strega Buffana. She flies around Italy on
a broom and leaves treats for good children and
coal for naughty children.
It is tradition to give a bag of dried lentils to your
good friends to make lentil soup. This is a
peasant soup and reminds them of their humble
beginnings and is eaten to bring good luck and
prosperity in the New Year.
In MEXICO, children sometimes leave
their shoes out instead of stockings.
On Christmas Eve there is a parade of
singers carrying bells and candles on top
of long poles. They wind through the
streets until they get to the local church.
FELIZ NAVIDAD Y PROSPERO AÑO
In NORWAY, on Christmas Eve, a bowl of
porridge, "nisse" is left in the barn for
the gnome who protects the farm.
When the children first see their
Christmas tree all decorated, with
presents underneath, the family joins
hands and circles the tree singing carols.
In SOUTH AFRICA, Christmas
comes in the middle of the summer.
After a large Christmas lunch,
families visit the homes of friends to
ask for and receive a "Christmas
box" which usually has food inside.
In AUSTRALIA, Santa's sleigh is
pulled by eight white kangaroos.
Christmas dinner is eaten outdoors
and is followed by a visit to the
beach or a game of cricket.
Christmas in the United States has evolved
from the mixing of traditions, just as has
the country as a whole. Although different
ethnic and cultural groups continue to
include their own traditions in their
celebrations, an American Christmas is
actually a celebration of the variety of
cultures and traditions which makes the
country a unique place in which to
celebrate this holiday.
The first Christmas observance in the
United States was celebrated in
authentic Spanish style. Hernando
de Soto and his army set up winter
camp in the present day city of
Tallahassee, Florida in 1539.
A Susan Ging-Lent Production