Christmas Around The World

Missouri Baptist Univ.
3 min readDec 8, 2021

We tend to be familiar with common Christmas traditions in the United States, but what does Christmas look like internationally? Our international students at MBU shared some of the differences and special traditions they share with their families during the holiday season.

Matteo Uez
Where I am From: Italy

“We usually eat dinner at home with my entire family and then we all open gifts. We usually eat lasagna, crespelle and other traditional food from Italy.”

Lisanne van Houwelingen
Where I am From: Netherlands

“We celebrate an extra day of Christmas in the Netherlands. A lot of families in the Netherlands place a hot plate in the middle of the table with small pieces of meat and cut up vegetables and then everybody cooks their meal. Most kids in the Netherlands never believe in Santa. We have Sinterklaas on December 5th. Sinterklaas is the eqivalent to the U.S. Santa Claus.”

Kirsten van der Vleuten
Where I am From: Netherlands

“In the Netherlands, we have a second Christmas Day. Our family tradition is that we always have a Christmas breakfast on the first Christmas Day. We have a lot of different kinds of bread accompanied with meat and cheese.”

Giovanna Tapigliani
Where I am From: Brazil

“We celebrate Christmas at midnight! Everyone will stay up until midnight to eat and pray. Our “Santa” in Brazil is named Papai Noel.”

Nicolo Tossici
Where I am From: Italy

“We celebrate on December 24th by eating fish in the evening. On Christmas Day, we have meat at lunch. In Italy, we eat a different kind of ham, turkey and salami.”

David Rudic
Where I am From: Serbia

“We celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January. My family has dinner together, usually, we have pork.”

Dragan Omcikus
Where I am From: Serbia

“We celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January. We gather together and have dinner and presents. We also have a special loaf of bread that we put a coin in and whoever finds it is supposed to have a lot of luck that year.”

Antonio Bussu
Where I am From: Italy

“My family does an extravagant dinner on December 24th, and a family lunch on Christmas day. We always eat a variety of food. In our region, a traditional dish usually has pork, but we also make appetizers of fish, vegetables, pasta, lasagna and tagliatelle.

Milos Vuckovic
Where I am From: Serbia

“We celebrate our Christmas in Serbia on January 7th each year. A special tradition we share is hiding coins in loaves of bread. On Christmas day, each separate family makes a round loaf of bread, putting a coin or two inside the loaf. It is said that the one who gets a piece of bread with a coin inside will have a prosperous year.

Kaitlyn Matsushima
Where I am From: Hawai’i

“One of our Christmas traditions back in Hawaii was to go to the Honolulu City Lights Christmas parade. They would block off the streets and have all of the different businesses, school bands, radio stations, and all of the emergency responders decorating their cars and playing music. They would bring fire dancers and all of the volunteers walking in the parade would hand out candy to the kids. Another tradition that we have is that when we sing Christmas songs, many of them are in Hawaiian. One of the common Christmas songs that we sing is Mele Kalikimaka. Carolers would come to our house and they would sing a song and we would sing a song back to them and that went on for a few rounds. We have our family over for Christmas Eve and we stay up until midnight. Then Santa left and we would continue with our festivities for that night. We have gingerbread house-making contests, a grab bag, and at the end, we read through the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth. Many of our family members sleepover. Because the weather in Hawaii is warm all around, it is not uncommon to see other families at the beach celebrating Christmas!”

Proleine Pierre
Where I am From: Bahamas

“The whole family gathers at my house every year and my mom cooks a lot of food.”

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