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With only a few months until Christmas, have you started to plan where you will celebrate?  We wanted to give you some inspiration for your Christmas holidays. Find some inspiration in the alternate traditions, cultures and festivities that are celebrated around the world at Christmastime.  Get in touch for more information on how to visit these amazing places.


The Italians are a predominantly Roman Catholic country and so to them, the Nativity scene is of great importance.  There are places in many Italian homes to remind them of the magical story, and although the cribs are only put out on the 8th December, baby Jesus is often not put in the crib until the evening of the 24th December, ready for his special day! It is also common on Christmas Eve for Italians to not eat meat but have a light dinner and then go to Christmas mass. Upon returning, many will then eat a special Christmas cake called “Panettone”.


Norwegian tradition states that gifts should be exchanged on Christmas Eve.  The gifts are sometimes brought by Santa, “Julenissen”, and sometimes by elves called “Nisse”. These “Nisse” can be bought as decorations to put on the tree and are considered to be guardians of the farm animals. Children will often leave out a type of porridge for the Nisse and a sheaf of wheat for the birds. Rice porridge is also eaten by the families on Christmas Day with butter, sugar or cinnamon.


There are not many Christians in Japan so the religious connotations for the Japanese have not been adopted, but they have taken to the Christmas spirit and the spreading of joy that the West celebrate. Christmas Eve is the day most celebrated and it is often for couples rather than families. Much like Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve in Japan is a day to go for romantic walks, then go for dinner and exchange gifts with your significant other. Weirdly, on Christmas Day itself it’s traditional to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken as there was once a marketing campaign that promoted fried chicken for Christmas that really took off!


New Year is a bigger celebration for Russians than Christmas due to Christmas being banned during the days of the Soviet Union. Whilst Christmas is now celebrated, New Year is a more prominent holiday. “Grandfather Frost” is the Russian equivalent to Santa who brings presents to children on New Year’s Eve in person. There are Russian Christmas cookies called Kozulya which are made in the shape of a sheep, goat or deer. In some areas, children will go carol singing to wish people a happy new year. They are normally rewarded with cookies, sweets and money.


Icelandic children open their presents on Christmas Eve, or Yule Eve as it is also called. New Year’s Day is a time for lighting bonfires and it is one of the most important and magical days of the year. The dead are supposed to rise from their graves, cows are believed to be able to talk, seals can turn into humans and elves move house. The gravestones and graveyards are often lit up with Christmas lights and on the 6th January, the last day of Yule, the elves are at their most mischievous, playing tricks on people.

Here at Travel Club Elite, we offer all the best brands you know and love with our expertise and exclusive extra savings thrown in on top! Our 30+ years of ABTA membership means you can book with confidence and security, taking the stress out of organising your tour.

Simply tell us where you want to go, how long for, who you are taking and what activities you are interested in and our team will do the leg-work. Enquire today for a free, no obligation quote.

If you wish to learn more about this amazing holiday and to find out what savings we can offer you, call one of our specialists now on 0121 213 0012.


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