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With Christmas just a matter of weeks away now, the UK’s fastest growing online independent travel agent has revealed 12 different customs of Christmas and how various countries could be celebrating the festive season this year.

Although we are not yet out of November, fairy lights have been switched on and Christmas decorations have already been retrieved from a number of lofts up and down the UK, which has spurred into researching how other cultures will be marking the occasion this year.

Christmas starts early in Hungary; on the eve of December 6th, Children clean their shoes and put them outside near a window or door before they go to sleep. In the morning, candies or small toys appear in them in red bags. It’s tradition that children visit relatives on 24th December, whilst the Christmas tree and more gifts are delivered to their house by angels and ‘Little Jesus’.

Hungarians aren’t the only country to have more than one day of gift-giving, as in Latvia people believe Father Christmas brings gifts on each of the 12 days of Christmas starting on 24th December, which certainly makes the festive period last longer!

In Australia, Christmas Day falls in the summertime and the warm weather means BBQs and Christmas dinner on the local beach aren’t uncommon. However, decorations still include snow-covered scenes and Christmas trees. It could surprise some to know that in Italy, Christmas trees aren’t very common at all, as the Italians instead decorate wooden pyramids with fruit.

Canadians have been known to eat ‘Chicken Bones’ over the Christmas period, something which may not sound like a treat, but is actually pink cinnamon flavoured sweets. Cookie-baking parties are also not uncommon in Canada and things are also sweet in parts of the USA, where some Americans thread popcorn on string to decorate their Christmas trees with.

In Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, roads are closed off and people traditionally roller-skate to a morning Church service each day between 16th and 24th December. Often, for fun, some younger children tie a piece of string from their big toe and hang it out of the window before bed, so skaters who pass by in the morning on the way to Mass can tug the strings.

According to tradition in Poland, some families like to have an even number of people seated around the table at Christmas, or superstition has it that someone might die in the coming year. A similar tradition in Portugal sees people setting extra places at the dinner table for the souls of the dead, who if offered food are thought to bring good luck for the next year.

Poland’s Ukrainian neighbours decorate their Christmas trees with artificial spiders and webs, as they believe that if a real web is found in the house on Christmas morning it is a sign of good luck, whilst in France it’s the hanging of mistletoe that is thought to be a good omen.

Speaking about these Christmas customs from 12 different countries, Chris Brown, co-founder of said;

“It’s fascinating to discover how people all over the world celebrate Christmas, as there are so many different customs that most of us here in the UK aren’t familiar with. I particularly like Venezuela’s tradition of roller-skating to Church, but during our research we found that many Christmas customs from around the world were a bit closer to home.

“We found that, in most places, Christmas has a strong focus on food but the days on which people give gifts varied a lot. In Germany, gifts are exchanged on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, whilst in Greece presents weren’t given until January 1st. The different customs we found were really interesting and some more unusual than others.”



For more information or to set up interviews with Chris Brown please call Shannon Haigh, 10 Yetis PR Agency, on 01452 348211 or email

Editors Notes: is the UK’s largest independent online travel agent

The management team behind the company created and managed Holiday Watchdog which was bought by TripAdvisor in February 2008 for an undisclosed amount of money.

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