Most countries that celebrate Christmas worldwide tend to have well-established and often-followed traditions for Christmas day itself, but things are often a little less clear when we think about Christmas Eve. Indeed, Christmas Eve is often a less regimented structure for most of us – but that’s not to say that there aren’t still traditions that are followed to make the most of that final 24-hour countdown to the big day!
With this in mind, today, we’ll be summarising some of the different Christmas Eve traditions from around the world – and how you might be able to integrate these into your celebrations this holiday season!
Christmas Eve Traditions From Around the World
There are many Christmas Eve traditions from around the world, but you may not have considered these before. You wouldn’t be alone if this is the case – but they could be fun traditions to add to your festivities this year! Some of our top picks for global Christmas Eve traditions include the following.
#1 See the Christmas Lights – UK
An increasingly common Christmas Eve tradition for many families is to take some time out in the evening (just before the little ones go to bed to await Santa’s arrival) is to go for a walk or a drive and see the Christmas lights. Whether you’re just admiring the lights around your village/town/city or going to see a special, organised display, there’s always something magical about taking some time out just to enjoy the Christmas lights in all their glory.
#2 Little Juleaften and Christmas Eve Leisure – Denmark
Denmark isn’t afraid to make the most of the holiday season, and they effectively have two Christmas Eve days as a result. On the 23rd of December, called Little Juleaften, is when they work to get all of their Christmas chores and preparations done. These activities allow them to spend Christmas Eve itself completely at leisure. It’s a nice tradition that gives everyone a break before the excitement of Christmas Day itself if you ask us!
#3 Grand Market Day – Jamaica
In Jamaica, Christmas Eve is an exciting day of shopping, with many Jamaicans spending the day visiting the Grand Market to find all of those last-minute gifts, outfits, treats, and the like. The day includes a mass of delicious street food and games, typically, and some people even look forward to Christmas Eve more than the big day itself as a result!
#4 Leaving Cookies and Milk for Santa (and his Reindeer) – US
Leaving out cookies and milk for Santa and his reindeer is something that has begun to seep over into UK culture and traditions, too, but this is first and foremost an American Christmas Eve tradition. Leaving out cookies and milk for Santa, sometimes also accompanied by some carrots for his magical reindeer) adds a certain level of excitement to the celebrations. It’s certainly a sweet and fun gesture – and one that the recipient of the cookies is sure to love too (whoever they may be).
#5 Opening Presents Early – Canada
Did you know that it’s not uncommon for families in Canada to open their Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, normally after mass? In fact, Canadians go to town on Christmas Eve with a huge feast, usually consisting of lovingly prepared meats and delicacies, along with the following Christmas celebrations the next day. This is often then followed by early gift-giving and opening.
This tradition varies from family to family. While some families leave all gifts to Christmas day, adopting a more traditionally American approach, others open just one gift. Or, for a smaller number of families, every gift is opened on Christmas Eve – potentially giving little ones more time to play with their new toys the following day!
The Christmas season is very nearly upon us, and lights are beginning to go up all around. As such, more and more of us are starting to experience that festive glee and cheer – and if you really want to stretch out the celebrations, implementing these Christmas Eve traditions may help you celebrate for a little longer.
What did you think of these traditions? Will you be implementing any for your festivities? Let us know – and have a Merry Christmas either way!