Christmas Customs From Around The World To Inspire Your Own - The Gloss Magazine

Christmas Customs From Around The World To Inspire Your Own

Why not incorporate some of these Christmas and New Year’s Eve customs from around the world into your celebrations this year?


Danish Delights “In Denmark we celebrate Christmas on December 24 with dinner usually served at around 7pm. On the menu: slow roasted duck stuffed with dried prunes and Cox apple quarters, served with boiled potatoes, caramelised peeled baby potatoes, warm red cabbage with a touch of duck fat and redcurrant jelly, brussels sprouts and gravy. Dessert is Ris a la mande – a cold rice pudding with cream, chopped blanched almonds and vanilla served with a warm cherry sauce. There is a whole blanched almond hidden in the pudding and whoever finds it wins a prize – anything from chocolates to a jigsaw. After dinner we unwrap the presents starting with the youngest person first who will unwrap their gift and then select the next person – this can go on for quite a while!” Helle Moyne, owner, Nordic Elements


Cosiness and Cold Cuts “Norwegian families go to great lengths to create the most koselig (cosy) atmosphere in their homes. The main event is on the evening of December 24, when Jule Nisse – naughty little elves in red hats – leave presents in exchange for Jule Grot or Christmas porridge made from rice, chopped almonds and cinnamon. After a walk, ski or skate, Christmas dinner is served and, depending on what part of Norway you are from, might comprise mutton ribs, or cod or pork ribs. On the 25th, it’s traditional to have a brunch of cold cuts accompanied by dark, sweet Christmas beer, Jul Ol. Some drop a shot glass of fiery Aquavit into the beer and knock it back, although I really don’t advise this if you aren’t a Viking!” Eva Berg, owner The Secret Pilates


Star Spotting Wigilia or Christmas Eve supper is my favourite part of a Polish Christmas. Culinary traditions vary depending on the region, but central to any menu is serving twelve vegetarian dishes, in memory of the Apostles, which everyone must try! Before this epic feast, the oldest person in the room (usually my dad) will say a few words about the highlights of the year. Supper can’t begin until the first star appears (in honour of the star of Bethlehem). We always leave an extra seat and place setting for any unexpected visitors.” Agnes Gajewska, facialist


Going Dutch “I grew up in Holland, and still have an affinity for Sinterklaas, (on December 5), which is when the Dutch exchange presents. In the days leading up to Sinterklass children put out tiny little clogs in front of the fire for Sint (or St Nicholas) to fill with a chocolate initial. My children love this tradition and the stories of how Sint would go from door to door on his white horse with presents for the neighbourhood (whichever local council organised that deserves a medal). I also make kruidnoten – mini spiced cookies – and organise an annual crafting session for my friends’ children which leaves the house covered in glitter – just how I like it!” Natasha Sherling, jewellery designer


Log Piles “In France, the buche de noel or yule log is an integral part of our festive tradition, and represents a large log placed in the fire on Christmas Eve which slowly burns all night. An old tradition, to ensure good luck throughout the year, was to keep some of the ashes from the log until the following Christmas.” Nick Faujours, Knockranny House Hotel & Spa

Pictured: Chocolate, raspberry and mascarpone Yule log, €32.95;


Festive Sparklers “A focal point for New Yorkers is to visit the Rockefeller Center and its spectacular Christmas tree illuminated with over 50,000 lights and topped with a Swarovski-crystal star featuring three million crystals! Afterwards, it’s a short walk to Radio City Music Hall for the annual show by the Rockettes, an iconic dance group who perform a festive extravaganza in glittering sequins featuring their perfectly choreographed ‘kickline’.” Róisín Ní Mhórdha, PR


Red Alert Don’t be surprised to see shop windows full of red underwear if visiting Italy in December – traditionally worn on New Year’s Eve by both men and women to guarantee good fortune for the year ahead. It’s no use digging out an old pair of knickers though, they have to be new – and preferably gifted.


White Nights “In Brazil, a popular way to celebrate New Year’s Eve is on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, where the fireworks are among the best in the world. It’s traditional to bring a champagne picnic, jump the waves seven times for good luck and to wear white – representing peace for the incoming year. Fun fact: we choose the colour of our underwear according to what we want to achieve for the year ahead, from red for love to gold for money. I like to keep this new year tradition while living in Ireland.” Patricia C Marinho, THE GLOSS


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