Hope everyone is doing amazing this Christmas season. I know the holidays look a lot different for many people this year as we navigate all of the uncertainties 2020 has brought us. A major change for my family this year has been the limitations on travel – something I have loved to do. Travel for me has always been more than just the destination but getting to meet the people and experience new culture.
Since no one is travelling abroad this holiday season I thought it would be fun to explore some of the Christmas traditions from around the globe! I have been lucky enough to experience some of these traditions first hand – and others hear about them from members of their culture!
Christmas time looks a lot different for me in my adulthood vs my childhood. For those of you do not know I grew up in Australia. Christmas time often consisted of celebrations by the pool and boxing day barbecues – not exactly how my family now celebrates in Canada!
My husband is half Ukrainian and our family has adopted a few special traditions from this culture. In Christmas’ past when celebrating with my husband’s family we have done the traditional 12 Ukrainian dishes for Christmas eve. The 12 delicious dishes represent the 12 apostles and all have special meanings. The dishes are all meatless as it is tradition to fast on Christmas eve to remember the hardships mother Mary faced that evening en route to Bethlehem. Musically speaking, one of my favourite Christmas songs is actually Ukranian! Carol of the Bells, which is featured on my album Christmas Classics with Chantal Dube, is an adaptation of this song:
My family had a mix of different traditions from the British side, and the Scottish side and of course, and a little French and Dutch from the mix we are, and the Aussie in all of us! The night before Christmas we always had Buche de Noel, which as kids, we called the log cake, and my Dad would light angel chimes and we would sit and watch them…angel chimes are popular in Europe and my Dutch great grandmother handed this tradition down. My Dad often played the organ at the evening services at our Church, and we’d try to stay awake if we went, or we’d head to bed early with a tonne of excitement about Santa Claus’ impending visit…
On Christmas Day, we would always have roast turkey, but often a little Aussie additions like roast lamb, and on occasion some seafood, sitting my the pool! Christmas outside in Canada with potential negative temperatures is not really idea!! It does however, match the expectations we had as children of a white Christmas, which we only experienced in American movies.
We would always light the pudding on fire after we had all had too much and then, while opening gifts, the atheist side of the family would usually debate those celebrating the birth of Jesus and praying, and then we’d usually swim or go for a walk.
Here in Canada, our family has adopted some Canadian traditions as well- lots of ginger bread house making and cookie decorating, and loads of outdoor snow activities! We absolutely love cookie decorating, and making ginger bread houses, and last year we got to go to the world’s largest real ginger bread house at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto! I’m grateful that we have these memories.
We also LOVE the tradition of the advent calendar… we have one that we fill ourselves and the kids LOVE the countdown! My eldest is the only one who gets it so far – to my youngest ones I’m sure they just see it as a fancy chocolate box lol.
Matching Christmas PJs is an American tradition we have loved as well!
Working around the globe, I have seen and heard about many different Christmas traditions… tell me about yours?