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Celebrating Christmas Around the World

Celebrating Christmas Around the World

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love the sweet smell of home-baked cookies and hot cocoa, the cheerful sound of Christmas music, the twinkling of the lights, the laughter shared with family and friends, the joyful celebration of the Savior’s birth.

As our family is multi-cultural, we have taken special care to remember unique traditions that we have chosen to pass onto our children.

For example, in France, our Christmas Eve dinner usually includes raw oysters, smoked salmon, “foie gras” (goose fat liver) and the traditional Yule Log. Afterwards, each family member brings one shoe to set around the Christmas tree where “le Père Noël” places one orange and a box of chocolates.

In Mexico, on the other hand, Christmas celebrations begin on December 16th and continue until December 25th, with a re-enactment of Joseph's and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem. Neighbors knock on each other’s doors and are gently pushed away until Christmas Eve when someone opens the door and the festivities begin. Traditional Christmas foods include pozole (stew), tamales, and bacalao (dried cod fish). Additionally, piñatas are included for everyone’s enjoyment.

During our travels, we have also experienced Christmas in Sweden, where there are only about 6 hours of daylight per day during the month of December. Christmas cheer is in the air, however, with windows adorned with candles and star-shaped candelabras, amidst a beautiful winter wonderland backdrop.

Back in Colorado, we softly whisper prayers for a white Christmas as we bundle up and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa while touring neighborhoods in search of the best Christmas lights displays. We also decorate our home, bake cookies to be distributed to our neighbors and friends, and enjoy Christmas music all month long.

While living overseas for the past 10 years, our family traditions created an opportunity to share the love and joy of the Christmas season with others. We did bake cookies for our neighbors, invited them for a meal, and shared the story of a baby born in a manger over 2,000 years ago. We visited their homes and sang Christmas carols for them.

The best part of Christmas, however, is love. Love is in our smiles, the twinkling lights, the delicious smells and, most of all, in the Hope of the Season.

Wherever in the world you may be, how will you celebrate the Hope of Christmas?

Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.”- Dale Evans Rogers


About the Author: Freddie is an IDEAS Associate who has spent the past 10 years in Tunisia where she worked with vulnerable populations before stepping into the role of Director of Finance in-country and abroad. Enjoy other blogs by Freddie, such as Broken Crayons.