Christmas Gift-giving in Various Nations

Christmas Gift-giving in Various NationsWho doesn’t love receiving gifts? The giving of Christmas presents to dear ones is an age-old tradition that is still followed with great earnestness in most nations that celebrate Christmas. Check out our fascinating article to know how the fabulous tradition of Christmas gift-giving has been kept alive in countries across the world. If you like reading about Christmas Gift Giving in various nations, please click here and refer this page to those you know. Have a Merry Christmas celebration!

Christmas Gift Giving in Italy
In Italy, Christmas Day is known as the Novena. Here the Christmas season begins 8 days before Novena and lasts till after the Feast of Epiphany, making it a three week-long celebration. The gift shops and departmental stores are seen to pack themselves with varied Christmas presents which are picked up by eager Christmas shoppers for their friends and dear ones. A week prior to Christmas, poor children dress up as shepherds and visit every house reciting Christmas poems, singing Christmas songs and playing them on flutes (shepherds’ pipes) as well. For these entertaining acts, they are given money to buy presents and treats for Christmas by the families they visit. Similar performances are carried out by real shepherds in some regions of the country. Another popular Christmas gift tradition that exists here is the “Urn of Fate”, a container from which small presents are drawn out by a lucky dip. There is always one gift per person in this game. But the main exchange of gifts takes place on January 6, the feast of the Epiphany, the celebration in remembrance of the Magi’s visit to the baby Jesus. In Italy the children wait until Epiphany for their presents. They hang up their stockings on this day and eagerly await a visit from “La Befana”, a mythical woman who is said to be flying around every Christmastime looking for the Christ Child and leaving presents at every house.

Christmas Gift Giving in Czech-Republic
In the Czech Republic, preparations for Christmas start right from around mid-November. Here the Advent period begins four Sundays before Christmas Eve. Parents present their kids with beautiful Advent calendars to count the days to December 25. Every day they open one of the 24 small windows in it to get a small reward, usually a piece of chocolate, behind each of them. Gift shops and departmental stores in the nation are seen to be decorated almost a month before Christmas Day. The festive mood soars up with buyers turning up at the stores every evening to purchase gifts, new apparels and various items of decoration. On Christmas Eve (December 24th), friends and extended members of families gather at the home of a dear one to decorate the Christmas tree and prepare dinner. Presents are exchanged after dinner. Here, children get their gifts twice, once on December 6th (the day after the feast of St. Nicholas) and again on Christmas eve evening when they receive the main presents.

Christmas Gift Giving in Germany
The German Christmas celebrations commence from 6th December, known here as “Nikolaustag” or “St. Nicholas Day”. But the real celebration starts from 6th December, St. Nicholas Day, known here as “Nikolaustag”. On the night of 5th December (St. Nicholas Eve) kids put their shoes or boots outside the door, hoping to get them filled with delicious treats by St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children. On Christmas Eve, the Christmas tree is decorated very beautifully before the evening feast. According to a custom, children are not allowed to see the Christmas tree before they are fully decorated on the Christmas Eve night. The father usually keeps the children engaged in a seperate room while the mother secretly decorates the Christmas tree with apples, candy, nuts, cookies, cars, trains, angels, tinsel, family treasures and candles or lights. The gifts are kept under the tree. Closeby, beautiful plates are laid for each family member and filled with fruits, nuts, marzipan, chocolate and biscuits. The decorations finished, a bell is rung as a signal for the children to enter the room. The Christmas story is usually read during this time and carols are sung. Often, sparklers are lit and gifts are also opened once the religious customs are finished.

Christmas Gift Giving in Greece
The Christmas season in Greece begins on December 6th (Saint Nicolas Day), and ends on January 6th, the day of Epiphany. However, the actual Christmas celebrations are seen to begin five or six days ahead of Christmas Day. Excited Christmas celebrants throng the streets to buy Christmas gifts for their loved ones. As in Italy, here also one can find little children traveling from house to house on Christmas Eve singing ‘kalanda’, the equivalent of Christmas carols and giving wishing “Merry Christmas” to families. In return they are presented with dried figs, almonds, walnuts, lots of sweets, coins, small gifts and other tokens of appreciation. The tradition however, is observed mainly in the Grecian villages. Here, gift-giving takes place mainly on January 1, also known as “St. Basil’s Day”.

Christmas Gift Giving in Ireland
Christmas Day is observed in Ireland on December 25. Like many other countries, the Christmas celebrations last here from Christmas Eve to the feast of the Epiphany on January 6, which is referred to as “Little Christmas”. Before the holidays, families give gifts (usually money) to all those who serve them throughout the year, such as the plumber or the milkman. In the days leading up to Christmas, families throng the local gift shops and supermarkets to buy gifts for their dear ones.

Christmas Gift Giving in Norway
In Norway, Christmas is referred to as “Jul”. Like most nations, Christmas Day is celebrated here annually on December 25. A Norwegian is expected to spend this day with family members. During noon, “lillejulaften” (rice porridge) is usually served which is an event everyone looks forward to. An almond is often hidden in the porridge, and if you are lucky to find it you can win a treat or small gift– usually a marzipan pig. Children here receive gifts on two occassions, from “Julenissen” (a Santa Claus-like figure) on Christmas Day itself and also during “Romjulen”, the days between Christmas and New Years Eve, when they are supposed to go from house to house in the afternoon asking for sweets. In present times, few children follow this tradition which is known as “Julebukk” or “Christmas buck”.