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What Are Your Christmas Traditions?

Merry Christmas everybody!

Christmas eve is the main happening around Christmas in my family. Tonight we’re going to have a traditional meal that we all love and look forward to all year, we’re going to open the presents underneath the tree and we’re going to watch Czech fairytale movies on TV. I thought today I’d share my own Christmas traditions with you, and I’d love to hear about yours!

The Dutch generally don’t really have Christmas traditions; individual families may, but I don’t think there’s anything everybody does. I know many people like to go “gourmetten” with family or friends. The dinner table is laden with little pieces of meat and vegetables, sauces, dips and baguettes, and people can prepare their own food on a hot plate on the centre of the table. Although this is a lot of fun to do, I have to admit it doesn’t really fit my idea of Christmas so I’m glad I was brought up with the Czechoslovak traditions, haha!

On the day of Christmas eve, Czech television airs fairytale movies all day (often very old ones as well) so we’ll just relax and watch those while making preparations for dinner. Right before dinner, my brother and I leave the room and wait until we hear the bell ring, as a sign that the presents have come. Then we come back into the living room and everybody gets to open their presents.

Our Christmas eve dinner consist of a starter of very thin wafers, served with honey, walnuts and garlic, which are said to bring good health, prosperity and wisdom. Afterwards we have a traditional sauerkraut soup.
The main course consists of carp traditionally, but we prefer to have cod and salmon. The fish is fried and served with potato salad.
For desert we eat some of the Christmas cookies that we baked and got sent by grandma.

On the first and second day of Christmas, we don’t really have traditions anymore. Usually Robbert comes over or I go over to his place and we just spend the day with family and lots of great food.

I love how every country and family celebrates Christmas in a different way, how do you celebrate Christmas at home? Do you celebrate it at all?

Have a great day everybody!


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8 thoughts on “What Are Your Christmas Traditions?”

  1. I come from a mixed background ( Czech mom and Dutch dad ), and we follow the Czech tradition. But since my mom can not stomach fish, we have settled for fish fingers, she can manage that haha. Now that we are older, we don’t go out of the room and wait for Jezisek to bring the gifts. Everybody hurls from every corner of the house the hidden gifts and places them beneath the tree. Since we don’t have Czech tv, we’d watch either some movies or the Christmas mass with the Pope. ( but the tv network ditched rai 1 this year, so that has come to an end aswell )
    On the 25th we always had the traditional goose with kraut and knedliky. But since the 25th is also my birthday, i became fed up with goose, so we have the hot plate grill now 🙂

  2. I’m from Belgium and we don’t really have specific Christmas traditions either. But did you know that people in Sweden have this tradition of watching a compilation of Disney videos called”Donald Duck and his friends wish you a merry Christmas”? It’s been broadcast every year since 1959 and A LOT of people watch it (I think at one point, the viewer numbers were half of the Swedish population).

  3. Hi Lucy,

    I live in Hungary, so our Christmas traditions are close to the Czechoslovak traditions. On Christmas Eve we are celebrating only with the closest relatives. We decorate the Christmas tree together, while my mother is cooking the dinner. We also eat sauerkraut and fish. The traditional Hungarian Christmas eve dish is fisherman’s soup made with carp. After dinner we put our presents under the tree, and my mom rings the bell, then we give each other the presents or everyone searches their own under the tree 🙂

    In Hungary the 25th and 26th are both called as Christmas Day and both are bank holidays. On this days we visit our relatives and just relax. We mostly eat turkey but this can differ in every family.

    To Hungarian children Baby Jesus brings the presents rather than Santa. But we have Sinterklaas too on the 6th of December, that’s when Santa comes 🙂

    Peaceful and happy holidays!


    1. How is “Baby Jesus” called in Hungary? I’m from south Germany and we have the “Christkind” and the angels bringing the presents for little kids. If you translate it you get young Jesus, but it is depicted and played (like in Nürnberg) as a girl with golden locks.
      The living room door is locked and when the angels flew by and placed the gifts, the christmas lights turn on and a bell rings (Still don’t know how my dad got into the locked living room, when i was young I wondered why he always took so long to get the icecream from the basement^^)
      My Dad is from Bohemia, but it wasn’t until now that i realize it may be a east european thing to eat sauerkraut – for me with nürnberger sausage.

      1. “Baby Jesus” in Hungarian is called “kis Jézuska”, which means little Jesus 🙂 It seems that this bell ringing tradition is common in Christian countries/families as well as the sauerkraut for Central/East European countries. 🙂 We eat sauerkraut with meatballs made with rice.

  4. For my family, we mainly celebrate Mexican traditions on Christmas Eve as well, as we are Mexicans! lol

    My family though celebrates by having a nice lazy day, watching christmas movies and counting the hours til Midnight when we all open presents. We have a nice dinner on Christmas Eve as well. My mom will usually make fajitas, and we always have some tamales my mom receives from her friends and family. We’ll have some dessert that we baked and then wait til midnight! 🙂

    The next day on actual Christmas day we laze around and eat the leftovers! ha!

  5. Your Christmas traditions sound lovely. That’s so interesting to hear how they vary in different cultures. 🙂

    Where I’m from people usually celebrate mainly the Christmas eve, but I also know a lot of people who celebrate the Winter Solstice beforehand.
    There’s nothing much I can say about Christmas eve. Speaking of my family, we stay home, eat lots, bake gingerbread and receive our presents from beneath the Christmas tree. I remember that we had to recite a winterly poem for each gift in order to earn it when we were children.

    But Winter Solstice is about singing folk songs with friends and family, dancing, having a bonfire, dragging a log around the house and then burning it. There’s also this masking tradition (sort of resembling Halloween) – to dress up as animals or other odd characters or things, which have a certain meaning and bring luck, and go around the neighbourhood like that. And there’s also a lot of eating. People love big feasts, especially in winter, right?

    Merry Christmas!

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