Christmas traditions around the world are not only interesting to learn, but can make your own Christmas celebration more fun. Considering your ancestry, you might want to combine small celebrations and traditions from each country, including all from where your family members originally came.
In America, Christians celebrate the birth of Christ. Many attend a midnight mass at their favorite Church. Along with this being a spiritual holiday for those believing in Christ, it is a fun celebration for children. When the Dutch immigrated to the U.S., they brought along with them, the tradition of St. Nicholas. In 1809, an author named Washington Irving wrote a story about the St. Nicholas, describing him as a pipe smoking, big bellied, jolly soul that flew around the world giving gifts to good little boys and girls. It's a tradition for children to hang stockings on the chimney mantle, in order for Santa Claus to put small gifts in them. It's also common practice to put up some sort of evergreen or fir type of tree, decorate it with glass bulbs and lights, and place a star or angel at the very top. It is in hopes that Santa will put gifts underneath the tree, while the children are sleeping. Some will string popped popcorn to wrap around the tree, along with rings made of colored paper. For the traditional Christmas meal in America, there may be a roasted turkey, goose or ham, cranberry sauce, an assortment of cooked and /or raw vegetables, pies, cakes and cut-out cookies with frosting on them. Mince and pumpkin pie are traditional for the Christmas dessert.
A traditional Christmas in England might include sending cards to loved ones and favorite neighbors, decorating with holly, ivy and mistletoe, and putting up a tree. Some of the traditional things the children take part in, are pulling of "Crackers," which are brightly colored paper tubes that are twisted at both ends. When the children pull them apart, they have a prize inside. School children often put on a Christmas Play or Pageant before school is dismissed for the holiday. They enjoy singing songs and dancing for the parents in the audience. Christmas carols are usually sung on Christmas Eve, sometimes with groups of people going out together to sing to their neighbors. The children hang a stocking up for Santa Claus. A traditional Christmas dinner in England might include a roast turkey with stuffing and potatoes. For dessert, they may have mince pies and Christmas pudding. Fruitcake is usually served later in the day. Another tradition is that on Christmas afternoon, the Queen gives a message over the television or radio. The day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day.
In Ireland, they have many fun, exciting and historic traditions for Christmastime.The may place a candle in the window of the house on Christmas Eve. It began as a symbol to Mary and Joseph, (The parents of Jesus), to welcome them as they were travelling.The candle also symbolized a safe place for a traveling Priest to stop and be welcomed into the house for rest and food. It is traditional for the youngest child in the home to light the candle. After dinner on Christmas Eve, the table might be set with a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a candle. This too, is to show a sign of welcome and shelter to any wandering person that needs it. For Christmas decorations, a wreath made of holly is usually placed on the door. All decorations, (traditionally), are taken down on January 6th, because it is believed to bring bad luck if they are taken down before that date.