Christmas traditions

What do Elves do in other countries? Christmas traditions around the world

Here in the UK, we have lots of favourite Christmas traditions. Sending cards, pulling crackers and wearing Christmas Eve pyjamas are just a few of the many things we like to do every year. Not to mention our favourite Christmas custom, the Elf Tradition!

But not everyone celebrates the Big Day in the same way we do. What about other countries? We’ve explored Christmas traditions around the world to find out how everyone else makes it a magical December!

Christmas around the world in 6 countries

1) Sweden

When he’s travelling on his sleigh through the night sky, there’s one Christmas tradition Santa doesn’t find difficult to spot! The Swedish Gävle Goat is a giant goat figure made entirely from straw – it takes two days to build!

It’s also known as the Yule goat, who is thought to have helped Santa deliver all the presents before the Big Day. Can you imagine a goat carrying our gifts, instead of reindeer?

2) Germany

We all love decorating the Christmas tree, but did you know it was Germany who started this tradition first? Way back in the 1500s, the people of Germany used to decorate their Christmas trees with paper flowers and apples.

Why not make your own Christmas tree decoration with our free Elf paper chains?

3) Japan

Our Christmas dinners are usually piled high with turkey, roast potatoes, sprouts and lots of pigs-in-blankets. In Japan, things are very different! Would you believe their traditional Christmas dinner usually consists of fried chicken? Fast food is a festive treat in Japan, with some people queuing up for hours to get their Christmas takeaway!

4) Australia

Christmas goes Down Under with this Australian tradition! When December 25th comes around, that means its summer time in Australia, so Christmas usually involves a party on the beach! Think barbecues, boat races and surfing – after opening your presents first, of course.

5) Jamaica

You might be surprised to learn that Christmas Eve is almost as big as Christmas Day in Jamaica. Many cities and towns host a ‘Grand Market’ on Christmas Eve, where everyone dresses up in their finest outfits and goes shopping! Local shops sell lots of festive food and drinks, so merrymakers can enjoy a tasty treat before partying into the night!

6) Italy

In Italy, children have to wait until January 6th before they can open their presents! This is because many Italians celebrate the feast of the Epiphany on this date, when the three kings came to see baby Jesus. Do you think you could wait that long for Santa to arrive?


For more Christmas traditions across the globe, check out our Christmas Around the World worksheets. We’ve teamed up with the clever Elves from Lingot to create these brilliant printables to help children learn about Christmas in other countries.

From Finland to Brazil, we’ve gone all over the world to find out what Christmas is like elsewhere. Plus, little ones can find out how to greet others in eight different languages, should you ever take a festive trip abroad!

What’s more, our Christmas worksheets are completely free to download and print. They are perfect for keeping little hands busy in the countdown to the Big Day!

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