Christmas is one of the most eagerly awaited times of the year for children. Besides being a time for fun and a break from school commitments, the holidays are a perfect opportunity to explore Christmas traditions around the world, try out new recipes and discover games and activities to do with the whole family.
Traditional Christmas food from around the world
The most important tradition is undoubtedly related to food! Let’s start our journey in Italy.
Among the delicacies that fill the tables of Italians every Christmas are the typical desserts namelyPanettone and Pandoro. Both have their origins in Northern Italy – in Milan and Verona.
The battle for the best sweet treat is widely debated: for many, the Milanese cake better represents Christmas, thanks to the warm and comforting flavor of candied fruit and sultanas, while youngsters tend to prefer the sweetness and softness of Pandoro.
In France, one of the typical Christmas desserts is a chocolate explosion called the Bûche de Noël (Christmas log). It’s very easy to prepare and every year it is the undisputed star of the festive tables thanks to its chocolatey goodness.
A soft roll of biscuit dough, filled with a chocolate ganache (or buttercream), covered with chocolate gives the appearance of a log or thick tree branch. It is then garnished with dark chocolate chips, making it look like tree bark. The final touch? The icing sugar that represents snow!
On Christmas Eve in Poland, it is common to enjoy a traditional soup with a colorful theme: Barszcz czerwony z uszkami (Polish Christmas beetroot broth with mushroom dumplings).
The soup takes its red color from the beetroot, which is then enriched with tasty ravioli stuffed with mushrooms.
It’s perfect for warming up the mood (and the belly) of guests!
Perhaps the weirdest Christmas tradition is in Japan where there are endless queues outside the famous Kentucky fast food chain KFC.
This particular Christmas tradition stems from a marketing campaign that ran in 1974, and even today, Japanese families wait all year to celebrate together by eating Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii! aka Kentucky for Christmas!
There’s a smell of magic and tangerines in the air and Santa Claus is already preparing gifts! Let’s help Santa! Ask your child to send their best wishes to a friend or one of their favorite Novakid teachers. They’ll be so happy to receive your kind words! Follow the link for more details about the contest.
Fun Christmas traditions in different countries
Every country decorates differently for the holidays, taking inspiration from legends and old Christmas traditions.
In Catalonia, Spain, children decorate a small wooden log (Caga Tío or Tiò de Natal) with a smiling face and a typical Catalan cap.
On Christmas Eve, the children sing a song dedicated to him and then discover all the delicacies hidden inside the stump during the previous days: a little ‘magic’ that makes Christmas even more special (and fun!).
An old Norwegian legend has it that on Christmas Eve, evil spirits and witches go from house to house looking for brooms to steal. It is the father’s job to chase them away, while the mothers hide all the brooms to prevent the witches and spirits from flying freely, frightening adults and children alike and spoiling the most eagerly awaited feast of the year.
German children still follow an old Christmas tradition that dates back to the 16th century, where a pickled cucumber is hidden among the tree decorations.
The origins of this unique Christmas tradition remain an unsolved mystery, which inspires discussion and curiosity every year. Some legends say that the lucky person to find the hidden decoration receives twice as many presents: a dream treasure hunt for every child!
And in the Netherlands? Children used to leave their shoes by the fire in the hope that Sinterklaas (Father Christmas) would fill them with gifts.
Instead of reindeer, Father Christmas is helped by a beautiful white horse named Amerigo. Children leave a sack of carrots for the horse so that he can face the long night of visiting all the homes of Dutch families.
Want to make some Christmas crafts? Discover 16 Christmas crafts ideas in our recent article Best Christmas crafts for kids (with essential vocabulary)!
Free English lesson for kids about Christmas and New Year’s Eve
To continue learning English and get into the Christmas mood, Novakid has prepared a special themed English lesson where children can discover all the English vocabulary related to Christmas and New Year’s Eve and prepare for the most joyful feast of the year!
The lesson ‘Winter holidays’ will be held on December 29th on Novakid’s YouTube channel. The class will start at 17:00 (GMT+1).
Follow this link, subscribe and ring the bell to not to miss the lesson!
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