Christmas Around the World

Have a Merry Christmas!


Christmas is a celebration that takes place annually on December the 25th, commemorating the birth of Jesus with most cultures focusing the December public holiday around this day. The majority of Christians traditionally celebrate this occasion religiously, although people from other faiths or none often celebrate the cultural aspects of this occasion each year.

Everybody has their own definition of what Christmas means to them. What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Christmas’? Stockings? Santa’s Village? Christmas trees? Presents? Gingerbread houses? While these answers are all correct to you and possibly other people, there are many more traditions unique to certain cultures across the globe.

The United States

In the United States, most people celebrate Christmas around religious beliefs, with many Americans celebrating generational family traditions either from the USA or from their native countries. Some aspects widely practised across the nation include performing Christmas carols, drinking eggnog, and decorating houses. Often cities such as New York decorate their streets with lights, trees, and other ornaments every year to bring the festivity and Christmas spirit alive in the streets. On Christmas Eve, cookies and milk are traditionally left out for Santa by the children of each home and the following Christmas Day is usually spent going to Church and spending the rest of the time with family. [1]


The United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, traditions are similar to those of the USA. People may choose to stay at home for Christmas and instead focus exclusively on celebrating the day with family and friends, or may attend religious Christmas services at Church and have a dinner with family later on. Streets and homes are decorated with traditional Christmas ornaments, such as ivy, holly, mistletoe, and bright lights. In London’s popular shopping destination Oxford Street, crowds gather to spectate the turning on of the lights lining the streets. The weeks leading up to Christmas are spent shopping for presents (the streets bustling with hundreds of people eager for the Christmas sales), decorating, watching nativity plays, and listening to Christmas Carols. People in the UK enjoy a celebratory Christmas lunch with turkey, roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, and Brussel sprouts along with a Christmas pudding for their dessert. Crackers are often given out to each person, usually containing a riddle, paper crown and other novelty trinkets.


Christmas in Jamaica is fairly similar to Christmas in other parts of the world apart from the climate and cultural practices. As many Jamaicans live abroad, they often go back to Jamaica during Christmas time. Due to the tropical weather, Christmas is considered part of Jamaica’s peak tourist season as a lot of visitors come to enjoy the sun and festivals. Some traditions unique to Jamaica include going to Church Saturday or Sunday before Christmas Day, and participating in The Gran Market on Christmas Eve. A highly anticipated event, it lasts all day, with people spending their time shopping for presents and deals. A typical Jamaican Christmas meal usually includes curried goat, chicken, ham, and rice with a cake for dessert, all accompanied by ‘Sorell’, a drink made from flowers, ginger, sugar, and rum. All throughout the Christmas season, Jamaicans celebrate by singing and listening to carols.[2]

The Philippines

In the Philippines, Christmas starts as early as September and ends in January with the ‘Feast of the Three Kings’, a religious event celebrated with a Mass on January 6thto mark the end of Christmas.[3]In the Philippines they enjoy decorating homes, malls and listening to Christmas music all throughout September. ‘Parols’, (a traditional Filipinodecoration made from colourful paper, bamboo sticks, and a star) are used to decorate towns for Christmas that are alive with carols, followed by Simbang Gabi,a nine-day Mass celebrated from December 16th-24thas a way to bless and give thanks to the Virgin Mary. On Christmas Day, families celebrate Noche Buena, a grand family dinner with delicious Filipino food. 


In Australia, Christmas is celebrated in the middle of summer, although many of the traditions practised are similar to ones in the USA and UK, such as hanging wreaths, carolling, decorating Christmas trees and hanging colourful lights. A festival unique to Australia is ‘Carols by Candlelight’, where the people watch performances of Christmas Carols sung in venues all over the country, including national and international singers who take part in this popular event. [4]

Christmas is a celebration celebrated by many different people all around the world in varying ways. However, the ones discussed in this article all have the same meaning and intention- to bring people together.

Have your own merry, jolly and unique Christmas!