A Visual Tour of Christmas Around the World

around the world

Christmas traditions vary widely in cultures around the world. People and businesses in different countries have so many unique and interesting ways of celebrating the holiday. Here are some images and explanations depicting Christmas traditions around the world.

chinese lanterns christmas

Traditionally, Chinese New Year, which is celebrated toward the end of January or beginning of February, is seen as the Chinese version of Christmas. But individuals and businesses in China still sometimes observe western Christmas.

Department stores will put up trees and lights. Employees may celebrate by wearing Santa hats or other festive accessories. And stores, cafes and a variety of other businesses play Christmas music for their customers to enjoy. Some businesses even bring in a Santa to meet with children.

However, because it isn’t considered an official holiday in China, most Chinese offices and other businesses remain open on Christmas day.

sandy santa australia

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In Australia, Christmas traditions are very similar to those of the U.S. Australians are familiar with all of the traditional, wintery Christmas scenes.

However, because Christmas falls during Australia’s summer months, some have started to create their own imagery that is more reflective of the country’s own Christmas reality. For instance, instead of depicting Santa wearing a heavy coat and boots, Australian businesses that sell Christmas items may show Santa in some more warm weather gear.

iceland snowman

The holiday season is a very important time for the people of Iceland. From December 23 to January 6, Icelanders celebrate a variety of different Christmas traditions, ranging from a festival of lights to the country’s 13 Santas (sometimes referred to as Yule Lads).

Because of the country’s deeply rooted holiday traditions, it’s an important time of year for Icelandic tourism businesses. Many businesses close for several days around the holidays. But all of the various celebrations that take place draw plenty of travelers to the country each year.

german market

Christmas, or Advent, is a monthlong celebration in Germany. Vendors sell food, gifts and other goods at Christmas Markets. Germans buy plenty of wreaths, decorations, food and other holiday-specific goods. And because of all the festivities, it’s also a popular time for tourism.

christmas in rio

Brazil gets many of its Christmas traditions from Portugal. And as such, there are a lot of similarities between Brazil’s customs and those of other western nations. It’s common for people in Brazil to attend Mass, tree lighting ceremonies and plenty of other holiday related events.

Secret Santa gift exchanges, where people exchange small gifts throughout the month of December to friends who aren’t aware of the giver’s identity, are common in Brazil. And it’s also fairly common for businesses to give out “13th salaries” to their employees, essentially paying them double for the month of December. This is meant to boost the economy around the holiday season.

india lanterns

In India, Christmas as not as big of a celebration as it is in many other countries. But for Christians in India, the largest population of which lives around Mumbai, Christmas is still important. They often attend mass and decorate Christmas trees (though they will often use other types of trees since evergreens are hard to come by).

santas house athens

Christmas is an important and lengthy celebration in Greece. Through the month of December, communities in Greece host lighting ceremonies, often with large trees and sailing ships. And while gift buying may spur the economy a bit during the holidays, most celebrations revolve more around food. People buy and make plenty of different dishes ranging from pork and lamb to traditional Christmas bread.

mexico city celebration

Mexico shares many Christmas traditions with the U.S. and other western countries. The holiday season spans from December 9 to January 6. And in that time, many small businesses and independent vendors set up shop at traditional or street markets to sell gifts, decorations, trees, wreaths and other holiday items.

Cathedral Metropolitana Mexico CityChinese Lanterns, Australian Sandy Santa, Snowman in Iceland, Stuttgart, German Christmas Market, Christmas in Rio, India Lanterns, Santa’s House in Athens, Mexico City Celebration Photos via Shutterstock

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

5 Reactions
  1. Nice visual tour of X-mas celebration! Today, December 26, is “another day of Xmas” (Second Day Xmas) in Sweden. It is called Boxing Day in several countries.

  2. Annie: Please note that the old word for Xmas, Yuletide, is related to the wooden log on the fireplace. The Swedish word for Xmas is Jul.

  3. It’s fascinating and somehow makes me a little happier to just see people celebrate the season from all over the world. Truly, Christmas is the happiest time of the year.