Christmas Traditions Around the World Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

One of the most festive times of year is the Christmas season. In this lesson, learn how different countries and cultures celebrate Christmas with unique traditions and foods.

Christmas in North America

The Christmas season is full of fun and tradition, and for many people it is their favorite time of year. You are probably familiar with the traditions that are practiced in the United States, from hanging your stockings for Santa to decorating a tree and opening presents, but have you thought about how other areas of the world celebrate this holiday?

Just south of the United States, people in Mexico have special traditions that they practice as well. It is common to enjoy breaking apart a piñata, which is full of candy and coins. I'm sure most of you have seen the red and green plant known as the poinsettia that is often in people's homes during Christmas. Well, this traditional Christmas plant is from Mexico! When Mexicans wish each other a happy holiday, they say: ''Feliz Navidad!''

A pinata is often a part of Christmas celebrations in Mexico.
Mexico Tradition

European Traditions

Let's travel to Europe, where there are many unique Christmas traditions! In Sweden and several other countries, people celebrate Saint Lucia Day. On this day, the oldest daughter in each family wakes everyone up. She wears a crown with candles.

Traditional foods are a part of Christmas celebrations in European countries. England is very well known for enjoying plum pudding at Christmas time. In Finland, people make joulortuttu, a pastry pinwheel that has prune jam in the middle.

Joulortuttu is a famous Christmas pastry served in Finland.

Asian Traditions

On the continent of Asia, countries differ in the amount of celebrating they do for Christmas. The biggest celebrations are in the Philippines, where this holiday begins on December 16 and lasts for nine days! To decorate, people make something called a ''pah-role,'' which is a star placed on top of a pole or stick. In the Philippines, Christmas is also a time to honor the family elders, or those who are the oldest in the family such as grandparents.

Beautiful Christmas light displays can be found in Japan, and these are often left for people to enjoy until Valentine's Day. Japanese children must be good so that Hoteiosho, a man with a sack of toys, will bring them presents.

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