A week today we’ll be enjoying Christmas here in the UK, along with many people around the world.
However, the way in which we all celebrate is a little different. We have loved learning about fun and festive traditions from other places. Read on to discover some of our favourites.
Christmas Eve is the most important day of the festive period in Finland. For breakfast, families gather to eat a special rice pudding that has one almond hidden in it. It is said that whoever finds the almond will have good fortune for the year ahead.
The rest of the day is spent with the family, eating, drinking, decorating the tree and taking a Christmas sauna.
Kiwis have a special Christmas tree, the Pōhutukawa. It is a large tree with bright red flowers that you can spot on many Christmas cards in New Zealand.
People also have a barbecue and spend time at the beach on Christmas Day as it happens right in the middle of the summer holidays.
In small Swiss towns and villages, 24 people, mainly families, schools or local businesses, will decorate one of their windows in a festive theme.
The window stays closed until it is their day to open it and reveal their design. Locals are invited to gather and watch as they sing carols, eat festive snacks and warm up with a hot drink. Once opened, the window will stay lit until Christmas Eve. This tradition is known as Adventsfenster.
Based on Icelandic folklore, children in this Nordic country are visited by 13 ‘Yule Lads’ on the 13 days before Christmas. They visit one by one and, based on their names, they cause different types of trouble. For example, one slams doors, one steals sausages and one eats the leftovers.
They also leave behind small gifts for children who have left a shoe on the windowsill (if they’re well behaved, that is!). Naughty children are given a potato.
Wigilia is the name of the traditional Christmas Eve dinner in Poland. Children eagerly keep watch at the window for the first star to appear because then the meal can start.
At the meal, a little bit of hay is put under the tablecloth to mark Jesus being born in a manger. An extra place is also set at the table should any unexpected visitors arrive. Poles believe that the way they celebrate Christmas Eve will determine the whole year ahead.
There is a legend of a half-goat, half-demon beast called Krampus who punishes naughty children at Christmas.
As they go to sleep on the evening of Saint Nicholas Day, some children look forward to waking up to sweets, apples and nuts. Others worry about what Krampus might bring!
This is a tradition that some may be slightly jealous of, others less so! In Japan, turkey is hard to come by so the preferred meal of choice is KFC.
In 1974, the fried chicken company launched a campaign called ‘Kurisumasu ni wa, Kentakki’ or ‘Kentucky for Christmas’ which made a lasting impact.
Now known as ‘Christmas dinner packages’, they make up around one-third of annual sales for KFC Japan!
On the second Saturday of November, Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands from Spain. The church bells ring in celebration of his arrival and processions take place in the towns.
For the next two weeks, children leave out their shoe, filled with hay or carrots, by the fireplace or on the windowsill. They hope to find the treats for Sinterklaas's horse replaced with gifts in the morning.
On the evening of the 5th of December, known as Gift Evening, children then wait for a knock on the door which they'll open to a sack full of presents waiting for them.
Christmas usually involves the entire family, from siblings to distant cousins.
The main celebration takes place on Christmas Eve with everyone dressing up in their best clothes for a meal at around 10 o'clock in the evening. Families then party late into the night with everyone wishing one another Merry Christmas and exchanging presents at midnight.
A favourite festive accessory here in the UK is the Christmas cracker. They were invented around 1850 by confectioner Tom Smith.
But did you know that crackers don't feature in lots of other countries? You'll most likely find this rather British tradition in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, but not in many other countries around the world.
We hope that you have enjoyed discovering Christmas traditions from around the world as much as we have.
Do you have any traditions that you celebrate each year? We'd love to hear about them!