Here’s what Christmas looks like around the world

In Brazil, instead of Christmas pud, they have crème caramel for dessert

By Alison Lynch, 14 December 2016
Here’s what Christmas looks like around the world

On 25 December, not everyone will be sitting down to a dinner of turkey and all the trimmings and then spending the afternoon falling out over a game of Monopoly, before falling asleep on the sofa.

According to some festive fact-checking by hoppa, in the UK, we will eat 10 million turkeys, polish off 25 million Christmas puddings and tear off around 83 square kilometres of wrapping on Christmas day.  

However, in other countries, they do it quite differently.

From the food, to the celebrations, to how much people spend, here's what Christmas looks like in other parts of the world. 



Families traditionally give each other new warm clothing before Christmas Eve to avoid being eaten by the Yule Cat, a mythical beast that stalks the hills and devours anyone not properly attired for the cold weather. 

And, while the rest of the world has the one Santa Claus, Iceland has 13. Also known as the Yule Lads, they originated in Icelandic folklore. They were originally portrayed as quite mischevious characters who would troll children if they hadn't been good all year. These days, they are more benevolent figures who leave presents in children's shoes on Christmas Eve, similar to the Santa we all know and love. 


It's traditional for Japanese people to celebrate Christmas with KFC. Yes, really. Thanks to a powerful marketing campaign back in 1974, which promoted “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (translation: Kentucky for Christmas!) it's now tradition to treat yourself to a festive bucket of Colonel Sanders' finest fried chicken. 


At Christmas, Catalonians celebrate the Caga Tió de Nadal (translated as 'pooping Christmas log'). It's a log that's been decorated with a face and tiny sticks for arms. In the run-up to Christmas, it is put out in the home and children look after it by covering it with a blanket to keep warm. Then, on Christmas Eve, it's thrown on the fire and beaten with sticks. 


Here, people put decorative spiders and webs on their Christmas trees every year. The tradition comes from an old legend about a Ukrainian woman who couldn't afford to decorate her tree. She went to bed on Christmas Eve and when she woke up, the tree had been beautifully decorated with a delicate, sparkling spider's web. 


In Mexico, they celebrate Noche de Rábanos (the Night of the Radishes) every year on 23 December in the city of Oaxaca. People compete to create the most festive scenes carved out of radishes. 




A photo posted by Delicias de Minas (@faduarte74) on

Here, rather than a heavy Christmas pudding after their meal (which does still have a roast turkey as the centrepiece), they will often enjoy a light crème caramel pudding (or Pudim de Leite Condensado) instead. 


In Austria, they eat their main meal on Christmas Eve and it consists of 'Gebackener Karpfen', or 'baked carp', which is cooked in gingerbread and beer sauce. 


In Jamaica, they eat Christmas dinner late in the afternoon and it's usually a feast of chicken, curry goat, stewed oxtail, rice and peas, followed by a red wine and rum fruitcake. 



A photo posted by Copha (@copha) on

Over in Oz, they eat a dessert called White Christmas, made out of Copha (a vegetable fat), Rice Krispies, dessicated coconut and dried fruit.


Throughout the festive season here, they enjoy something called Bibingka, a type of rice cake, cooked in clay pots lined with banana leaves.


The people over at hoppa have also worked out the average festive spend per person in different countries around the world and it looks like only our American cousins fork out more than us on presents, food and decorations. 

And if you're wondering what Santa's workload looks like on Christmas Eve, well, spare a thought for him and his reindeer, because to visit all the houses in the world in one night, he has to deliver to 822 houses every second. 

Makes our Christmas 'to-do' list seem easy by comparison!