Global Culture: 5 favourite Christmas traditions

The Christmas mania continues! If you’re an international student, you’ve probably been discovering some weird and wonderful customs (like singing snowmen, red-nosed reindeers and jolly men in red suits). 

We talk you through 5 favourite Christmas traditions:

1. Santa Claus
He’s big, he’s bearded and he’s coming soon down a chimney near you! In many countries, small children believe that Santa circles the globe on Christmas Eve in a flying reindeer sleigh, leaving gifts of toys at every home. However, only children who have been good all year round get presents. The question is – have you been good this year?

2. Christmas trees
At some point in December, people start making a huge fuss over trees, bringing them into their homes and decorating them. This can be traced back to ancient times when people hung tree boughs over their doors to remind them that spring would return. Nowadays, the tradition has evolved into an annual family fight about who gets to eat the last chocolate tree decoration.

3. Mistletoe
Mistletoe is a winter berry that’s often hung from the ceiling at Christmas parties. If you find yourself standing beneath it with someone, tradition states that you have to kiss them. You have been warned.

4. Gift giving
The spirit of Christmas is about giving, not receiving, so people spend a lot of time choosing the perfect presents for loved ones (despite this, dads always seem to end up with reindeer-patterned socks). If you want to enter into the festive spirit, our Christmas on a budget blog post explains how to arrange a “secret Santa” gift swap with your classmates.

5. Christmas dinner
Christmas dinner usually involves families sitting around the table for a feast of turkey and “trimmings” (sprouts, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, gravy and stuffing) followed by a hefty serving of Christmas pudding (note – it’s guaranteed that at least one person will complain about not liking sprouts). The roots of this can be traced back to ancient times when people would enjoy a mid-winter feast from all the food they’d stored in autumn. Why not plan your own Christmas lunch with your fellow international students?

You might also like: 5 festive foods to try with friends and top 7 Christmas movies.

Want to learn more about international festivals? Read about an international student’s first Thanksgiving and some facts about Easter.

Fancy experiencing Christmas as an international student next year? Find out more about studying abroad with INTO Study.

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