Christmas Around the World

What do Christmas celebrations from around the world look like?

Christmas as we know it isn’t uniformly celebrated around the world…in fact, many places don’t celebrate Christmas at all! However, those that do often vary from what we are used to in North America. Some places have a Santa figure…others don’t. Some places exchange gifts…and others, not so much! Let’s take a look at 3 cool Christmas celebrations from around the world—maybe this will help you decide where to travel over winter vacation.   

  1. Christmas in Costa Rica 

In Cosa Rica, Christmas comes at the end of the school year, right before all the children go on break. This means that families are looking forwards to spending their free time at the beach. There may not be any snow, but festive decorations are still present. The Pasito (or Portal) is a nativity scene and a very popular decoration this time of year. Families sometimes get together to build one and put a lot of time and effort into doing so. The scene is adorned with flowers and even fresh fruit sometimes.   

A gift-bringer figure is referred to as ‘Niño dios’ or ‘Colacho’. All throughout December and January, Costa Rica celebrates with fiestas, parades, rodeos, street festivals, choral performances, and dance parties. Apple stands are very popular at this time and pop up everywhere.   

  1. Christmas in Greenland 

Familial parties around Christmas feature gift-giving, coffee and cakes, and children caroling. Christmas Eve church services welcome attendees to dress in national costumes, like a white anorak (tunic) for the men and colorful avittat (dyed and decorated seal skin) for the women. Pine trees don’t grow in the far north where Greenland resides, so they have to be imported specially for the season. Trees are usually brought in from Denmark so that they can be decorated with candles, ornaments, and miniature kamiks (sealskin breeches).  

Greenland is so far north that the sun is nearly non-existent in winter. So, the residents place illuminated stars in the windows of homes and businesses to help light their way. These decorations resemble poinsettia flowers and so they are sometimes called poinsettia stars!   

  1. Christmas in Jamaica 

In Jamaica, you can expect radio stations to be playing Christmas tunes all season long. Dial in to catch seasonal favorites like Mek the Christmas Catch You in a Good Mood (aka “Christmas Mood”) and Santa Ketch Up Inna Mango Tree. On Christmas Eve, the Grand Market opens—this is a blend between a shopping market and a seasonal festival. Here, you’ll find seasonal food, toys, gifts, and more. The Grand Market goes on all night so you can shop and party until it’s time for Church Service on Christmas Day morning.   

Red wine and rum fruitcake are popular treats after a Christmas Eve meal of popular dishes like ackee and saltfish, breadfruit, fried plantains, boiled bananas, turkey, chicken, curry goat, stewed oxtail, rice, and peas.   

What do you think about these Christmas celebrations from around the world?

Thinking about taking a trip to Costa Rica, Greenland, Jamaica, or beyond? Contact us at Lloyds Travel & Cruises. We are a local, family-owned business and can’t wait to help you book your winter holidays today.