In France, Christmas is always called 'Noël. Everyone has a Christmas tree, sometimes decorated in the old way with red ribbons and real white wax candles. Fir trees in the garden are often decorated too, with lights on all night
Father Christmas is called Père Noël. The Christmas meal is an important family gathering with good meat and the best wine. Not everyone sends Christmas cards.
Germans love to decorate their houses at Christmas. Many houses will have little wooden frames holding electric candles in their windows, and coloured pictures of paper or plastic which look beautiful from the outside at night. Often too, they will have an 'Adventskranz' - a wreath of leaves with four candles. (Advent - meaning 'coming' - is the 4 week period before Christmas). On each Sunday of Advent, another candle is lit. Most homes will also have little wooden 'cribs' - a small model of the stable where Jesus was born, with Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, and animals.Father Christmas - 'Der Weihnachtsmann' - brings presents in the late afternoon of Christmas Eve (December 24th), after people have been to a church meeting. The presents are then found under the Christmas tree. One person in the family will ring a bell and call everyone to come to the room. On Christmas Day, fish (carp) or goose will be cooked.
On Christmas Eve, children hang highly stylized stockings on the mantle of the fireplace, then go to bed early so that they will find presents in the morning. They are told that at midnight Santa will come, bringing a huge bag of toys. He will come down through the chimney, leave candy in the stockings and presents under the Christmas tree (anything from a Pine or Fir to a Spruce), then plug one nostril and shoot up through the chimney. Cookies are traditionally left for him, and a carrot is commonly left for Rudolph the
The Christmas pudding is an all-important staple in British Christmas customs and traditions. According to custom, the Christmas pudding must be prepared by the 25th day after the Trinity; it is prepared with 13 ingredients, which stand for Jesus and the twelve disciples. In honor of the journey the wise men made to visit baby Jesus on Christmas day, each member of the family will take turns stirring the Christmas pudding from east to west with a spoon. Traditionally, the preparer drops a silver coin into the pudding mix before it gels, which is said to bring the family good luck and monetary stability during the coming year, and is said to help keep the family together.
Giving poinsettia plants as Christmas gifts is also a tradition that originated in this area; the points on the flower represent the points on the star of Bethlehem. The red petals and white leaves represent the purity of the blood of Christ. As most people don't know, the first Christmas card was created in Great Britain in 1840, and Christmas cards are an important part of the Christmas anticipation.
On Christmas Eve, British children hang stockings on their fireplace mantels just like American children. If they truly believe that they have not been naughty during the year, Father Christmas will put small toys, candy, and other little goodies in their stockings.
Children in Great Britain celebrate the Christmas holiday on December 25th, as in most other countries. They open their gifts on Christmas morning, which Father Christmas (also known as Santa Claus). A big part of Christmas morning in the country is spent in church, worshipping.
A traditional Christmas dinner in Great Britain takes place in the late afternoon or early evening. The table is festively decorated with candles and other Christmas items, and a great feast is placed before the family. Their traditional Christmas feast is very similar to that in the United States; the turkey is the most central part of the dinner, along with cranberry sauce, green beans, potatoes, stuffing, and numerous other food items. For dessert, traditionally families eat mince pies, fruit cake, or the famous Christmas pudding.