“It’s the most WONDERFUL TIME of the year…” that is indeed one of the most wonderful times of the year. Where lights get brighter outside, families get happier, gifts get shinier, food gets yummier (for some reason), and beautiful music that puts everyone in a great mood, and allows them to forget about all the stress they went through this past year. Despite all the other drama, either with family or friends, deep down you still wish this moment would last forever. With that said, these past few weeks I have been thinking about this holiday and how everyone spends it. Although it’s not celebrated everywhere, it is still celebrated in most houses. So, my curiosity led me to ask some of my international friends about how they spend their Christmas. The answers were pretty amazing, and it made me super happy to see how many people are actually more acceptable of other cultures and religions than they are portrayed! Really, what we want in this life is Peace, Prosperity, and Love.
Here is what they said:
I spend Christmas with my family, we eat a lot of Colombian food, dance until the next day or sing karaoke! We usually celebrate it on Christmas eve because then u wait for the birth of Jesus! On Christmas day we just recover and eat left overs. —Maria, Montana
I celebrate with my family, spend a lot of the day outside playing in the snow with Raja (my dog) and my sister or meeting my friends to go sledding. Then I come inside for hot chocolate and watch Christmas movies by the fire and eat lots of food! —Mimmy, Canada
We celebrate Christmas on January 7. The most important part is Christmas Eve when children visit their families and bring dinner to their house. We also go to church at night on Christmas Eve or in the morning on the actual Christmas. —Karyna, Ukraine
I just flew back to France and will be celebrating with my family. Yes, we are Muslim but it is more a tradition and a great opportunity to gather with family. We will host a traditional “French” diner with some turkey, pastries and chocolate. It will also be our baby’s first Christmas, so it is expected to be more special. The following morning, we will open the presents, and collect the goodies from the stockings. Then we will have brunch and play games. —Yamina, France
I usually spend Christmas with my family (until I came to U.S. for school). On Christmas eve we light up the streets with banger (fireworks in America), no restrictions in my country on where and what time to light up fireworks, while we the kids are playing the adults are cooking. On the Christmas day we go to church for an hour or two then come home eat more, then uncles, aunties and friends of the family will come and the kids get money as a form of gift (Christmas is my best day because I always get money). Then lighting up the streets continues. —Suzette, Nigeria
I usually rest a lot on Christmas, we have a shiny tree up and outside lights, and spend lots of family time either on FaceTime or in person if we can. If we do a family dinner it’s ham, sweet potato soufflés, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pecan pie. We don’t give many gifts because we give them all year long. Mostly it’s a chance to pause, feel the warmth of family and friends and warm lights or candles or fireplaces when it’s cold outside. —Julie, Missoula, MT
We didn’t really celebrate Christmas but my sisters and I usually exchanged gifts on Christmas Day! We would each get one present and pass it around till the end of one Christmas song. In Missoula it was mostly spent with friends! —Suha, Oman
If I am in the US, I do it “American” way – spend these days with my American host family exchange gifts and drink hot cocoa. If I am back in Georgia, we exchange gifts on the New Year’s. But the winter holidays for us begins on the 25th of December and ends on the 19 of January.–Milena, Georgia
So, we normally spend Christmas with family; eating lots of different type of foods! Normally everything that is related to the holy communion. Lots of wine, fruits and bread!
We do all of that on the night of 24th celebrating the coming of the birth and then at midnight we exchange presents that were placed under the tree during the month of December.
And then on the 25th we normally just eat the left overs; some go to church for greetings.– Icaro, Brazil
Well, I celebrate Christmas (both Dec 24th evening and Dec 25th lunch) with my family, either at my mom’s house, or at an aunt’s house. About 3 people cook for this celebration, including me, for around 8 family members. The dishes are typically Brazilian, such as baked chicken, “farofa” (cassava flour roasted with butter and bacon, for example), flavoured rice, besides the desserts: a variety of puddings, panettone (a Brazilian Christmas bread), pies and ice cream.
It’s a fun time! Also, I like to go to church on Dec 24th, when there’s a special mass for this day. —Monique, Brazil
At home, when I was growing up, I spent Christmas with my family, going to church. At my Sunday school when I was a kid, we would memorize some verses about the birth of Jesus and cite it at church on Christmas eve. There was service celebration all night where we sung and dance most of the night to the drum. On Christmas day, we would receive visits mostly from family members, eat cookies, have meals and just catch up… I miss those days.
However, when in Senegal, my big sister and I went to church and then to house party to celebrate with friends.
Now, in the USA, I most of the time go to my brother’s house where we open gifts, eat and celebrate. I celebrate it at my host family too. For me, it’s a great family time and remembrance of the life of Jesus. —Dara, Chad
I usually celebrate Christmas with my parents ever since coming to US. We usually cut down a real tree, decorate it, give each other gifts, cook food and desserts ( mom and I love to bake and decorate Christmas cookies and cakes), and we spend quality time together, just the three of us, playing games and watching shows. I have never celebrated Christmas before coming to America though ( its not as popular in Kyrgyzstan and feels like it’s considered more of a religious day rather then festivities), we mostly celebrated New Years there. This year I will probably spend Christmas with some friends.–Ramilia, Montana
I’m spending my Christmas watching Christmas movies and lounging around the house. On Christmas Eve I’m going to help prepare dinner for the party. It’a usually a chill day of exchanging gifts and showing gratitude for each other. Since Christmas is on a Sunday, I’m going to church for the service. We will sing tons of Christmas songs and give gifts to the youth. Our church is also doing a coat and socks drive collecting items for the homeless.–Luverta, New York
I will go home and Christmas Eve we’ll all have a family dinner. For dessert, my uncle hides an almond in some rice pudding, and whoever gets it in their bowl gets a special gift. Then we’ll go to church for a service on Christmas Day, we usually have dinner with some family friends.–Eamon, Montana
Spending Christmas with my mom, right after finals flying home to surprise her.–Noela, Burkina Faso
Growing up we would wake up and gather as a family over food, exchange some gifts and then go ice skating with our closest family friends. We would then go home and enjoy each other’s company, Christmas dinner and then go to our family friends home for a ritual of deserts, warm beverages, a fireplace, and gifts. It’s a wonderful time of year to gather with loved ones and share love. —Johanna, Missoula
We didn’t celebrate much with my family on Christmas day back in Burma except having some decorations and sales at malls. But I started celebrating after coming to United States. My host family have been doing it as a tradition. On Christmas day, we invite friends or those who don’t have families in town to celebrate with.
It’s such a nice gesture to share love with people around them. They are so lovely. They don’t want people to be alone on this special day. So, we would invite friends for gathering and have lavish meals together to have fellowships. We also play some games after dinner. —Waiwai, Burma
In Japan, generally we don’t celebrate Christmas but somehow people tend to celebrate this day with their special someone. Since my dad lived in U.S. for some time, in my family, we celebrate it American way. Then we open presents, and relax.–Mayuko, Japan