Holiday Traditions Around the World


In South Africa, October through February is considered Summer time in the Southern Hemisphere, therefore you can spend the holiday season in the warm sun. A traditional Christmas in South Africa includes turkey, duck, roast beef, mince pies or suckling pig with yellow rice & raisins and vegetables, followed by a South African desert called Malva Pudding.  Cape Town and the Western Cape are the top holiday destinations for tourists who visit in the Summer. Popular activities in the Summer include golfcamping, and scenic drives around Cape Town.

In Demark, the winter is dark and cold and the Danish celebration of Christmas (‘jul’) is all about drinking Glögg (a delicious wine that is hot and sweet) and lighting candles. Like other countries, Christmas is spent by decorating their house with lights and sharing delicious cookies with family members. There is a yearly Christmas calendar TV series that is based on different stores and is perfect for the kids during the holidays. This is perfect for counting down the hours on  Christmas Eve.

In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas (Santa) kicks off the festive season when he and his helpers (the ‘Black Petes’) arrive in mid-November from Spain. Sinterklaas and the Black Petes leave presents in children’s shoes at night on December 5th including a chocolate letter or pepernoten (little gingerbread biscuits). Christmas in the Netherlands is relatively quiet once Sinterklaas departs. A tradition Dutch Christmas can include a Christmas tree, a delicious meal, quality family time, and an activity such as ice skating.

In Belgium, Christmas Eve consists of a home-cooked meal with close family. It’s a key factor to have your kitchen stocked with traditional foods such as speculoos (spice cookies), aardappel kroketjes (deep-fried potato croquettes), and cougnou (bread resembling the baby Jesus).

In France, the celebration takes place on the 24th and it’s called ‘le revellion’. Families gather around a table and partake in a meal that includes many starters such as oysters, foie gras and salmon. As a main dish, the tradition is to serve a turkey with chestnuts. A large selection of cheese is offered (very popular in France) and dinner is followed by cake such as a ‘buche’, (Yule Log in English). Children are given gifts on either the 24th or 25th.

In Spain, Christmas holidays are traditionally spent at home with family (immediate and extended) around a fireplace in a rural apartment. The snowy winter season is usually taken advantage of by skiing in the Pyrenees or Sierra Nevada.

In Italy, Christmas is a tad different than other countries. An important factor of Christmas in Italy is the ‘presepe’, a nativity scene presented in churches, houses and public areas. You will find some of the more creative presepes in Naples, Italy. People are drawn from all over European countries to witness the masterpieces and mini art displays with intricate details.

Christmas in Australia is usually spent outside since the climate ranges from 30-40 degrees Celsius.  In fact, many Australians will spend their Christmas at the beach to cool off in the refreshing ocean. Australians may also have a BBQ at home or at a park close by. The catchy Aussie phrase, ‘Throw another shrimp on the barbie – Mate’ may be exchanged once or twice on a fine Christmas day in Australia.

In Colombia, fiestas take place on December 7, where people fill the streets, light candles and come together in spirit of family, community and merriment. Once this event happens, the Christmas celebrations have officially begun.

In Argentina, a unique tradition of Navidad en Argentina can consist of releasing balloons to the sky at night.  Similar to Asian cultures, paper balloons are lit from within and released into the summer night sky. Just like Australia and South Africa, it is also summer in Argentina during Christmas.

In Mexico, Posadas are an important factor of Christmas celebrations in Mexico. Posada meaning “inn” or “shelter” in Spanish, is a tradition held from December 16th to December 24th, which leads right up to Christmas. The Posada recreates Mary’s and Joseph’s search for a place to rest their heads in Bethlehem.

In Canada, holiday tradition includes chopping down your own Christmas tree – Canadians love their outdoorsy adventures. Canadians enjoy exploring scenery with their families during the holiday season; very little can resist a good toboggan down a snowy hill. Consuming some delicious hot chocolate while ice skating is also a past time during the holidays. Kijiji Canada (link to often experiences an increase in classifieds searches for ice fishing gear as many people seek winter activities that bring together their family during the holidays.

In America, holiday traditions can vary from chowing down on turkey or lining up early for a Black Friday sale to get the best deal. During November, Americans share a traditional Thanksgiving meal including turkey or ham, accompanied by delicious sides. For Christmas, Americans partake in decorating the outside of their homes with colorful lights; there are even Christmas light decoration competitions. Although, the holiday season is never complete without the exciting task of gift shopping. If you’re looking to be creative with your holiday shopping, eBay Classifieds makes it possible to DIY gifts and find great deals, plus you can avoid those long lines at the mall.


About Vanessa Unger

Vanessa Unger