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Do American Christmas Traditions Differ from other countries?

Discussion in 'Christmas Controversy & Opinion' started by holidaytwinkle5289, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. holidaytwinkle5289

    holidaytwinkle5289 Reindeer Pooper Scooper Merry Forums Member

    I have heard a lot on here as well as out and about that Americans form of celebrating christmas is far different from how others celebrate it around the world. I have heard we are 'Consumer Freaks' who idolize the almighty dollar and shopping deals of the season. While this may be true, I believe this is a generalized statement. Me personally, I hate shopping during the holidays and rather be cooped up at home under a fireplace with my family watching christmas movies and drinking hot chocolate with egg nog. Call me old fashioned but this was how I was raised. I'd like to hear from MMC members from around the world, do you guys celebrate Christmas similar to Americans and if not, elaborate on the differences between American Holiday and Non-American Holiday. Thanks! :wiggy:
    6 people like this.
  2. Christmasstar

    Christmasstar one Crazy Canadian ! MMC Lifer

    I do not think it is so much which country you live in that dictates what you do to celebrate so much as personal tastes. Everyone I know does a mixture of the old traditional things and new things. There are so many choices now you can try them all or stick with what you grew up with.

    Our family does a mixture of Dutch, mainly the food and treats and distinctly North American way of celebrating.
    Mom & Dad never did the Christmas tree when they grew up in Holland, and they did the gifts on the 5th of December when SinterKlaas came.
    We do gifts on Christmas day and have a really big Christmas tree!
    5 people like this.
  3. Virginia

    Virginia MMC Emeritus Member MMC Emeritus Member

    Hi Holidaytwinkle, in Australia we are multinational so we have the honour to observe and be a part of many cultural celebrations. There are a few concerns about schools using Santa, where schools are supposed be about teaching fact, and also avoiding religious beliefs in case of offending families.
    We have some people here too that are "commercial freaks" ; this is to be expected everywhere as businesses focus on the almighty dollar, that's how they survive and we stay in jobs.
    Throughout Australia Christmas is hot and sunny, we visit the beach and family, we shop amongst snowy looking decorations and a lot of Aussies still bake a traditional Christmas dinner with plum pud; a hangover from our British heritage I suppose.
    All in all it is very jolly and I hope we all stay friends.
    5 people like this.
  4. ArieLex

    ArieLex Christmas Fan Merry Forums Member

    In holland we celebrate Christmas a lot like the Germans do, which from what I've heard is very similar to how Americans celebrate it. We even have the Coca-Cola trucks and the polar bears.

    Sinterklaas is a completely separate holiday that has nothing to do with Christmas for us. Christmas here is not that different from yours. Tree, Snow, Baby Jesus in a cradle, three wise men, what have you. Only Santa Claus is relatively new.

    Sinterklaas influenced how Christmas is celebrated in he U.S., but we celebrate that on the 5th of december. So Sinterklaas was an inspiration for Santa Claus, but now we have both.
    2 people like this.
  5. Sanity Clause

    Sanity Clause Elf Supervisor MMC Lifer

    Here in the UK we call the gift bringer Father Christmas, and have a Christmas meal of turkey, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, mince pies and Christmas pudding.
    1 person likes this.
  6. trackrebel

    trackrebel candy cane hustla MMC Lifer

    Hey there!!!!! I can assure You that the Germans, the Brits, the Austrians, and on and on are just shopping as much come Christmas as the Americans.....still it doesn´t mean You or I don´t know why we are celebrating it and how

    The main difference between a German and an American Christmas is.....that our big day is Christmas Eve......most families spent the morning very normal....many don´t have to work....only retailers and the stores are open until latest 4pm....usually they close around 2pm........From then You can see how the streets get emptier by the minute!!!! Many people are going to church (the churches are always full on Christmas and Easter)......either to the service at around 4 or 6pm or the Christmas Mass at 10pm.......

    We go to Church at 4pm....the service always closes with the Christmas Song "Oh Du Fröhliche" .......around 5 we will be at our a bit, and I will start to prepare our traditional Christmas Dinner.....which is Wieners and Potatosalad.....some go all out on Christmas Eve, too....but many have something casual like that.........and of course after dinner Kandice has to go to her room....:D....usually her daddy will go with her to play a little.............before that she will put cookies and milk on the table in the living room (not a German tradition....I have started that for my love of the States and England and their traditions)

    by the time she comes back into the room....all the candles will be lit and I usually keep the window open so she can and try to see Santa´s sleigh or the Christkind fly away.....and then.....we sing one or two Christmas songs and finally the presents will be opened!!!!!!!

    I usually have a beer or two....or some Mulled wine......maybe some Christmas cookies.....Kandice plays really long on this day......oh I look forward to it

    On Christmas Day we usually all celebrate with my brother´s family....and on the second Christmas DAy we do too..........Big dinners....usually a nice roast...maybe a turkey, maybe depends on how we decide....and of course then there are presents the end of christmas....we are always stuffed.....very stuffed...hahahahahaha
    1 person likes this.
  7. trackrebel

    trackrebel candy cane hustla MMC Lifer Sinterklaas has to do with Christmas.....over here his name is Nikolaus or St.´s very very obvious that Santa Claus aka Saint Nicolas is coming from him....Sinterklass, St. Nikolaus, Santa Claus...all the same....over here he too usually comes in the night from the 5th to the 6th of december and brings the presents....just usually small presents over here.
    do You have the Christkind in the Netherlands?
    1 person likes this.
  8. Storeytime

    Storeytime Santa's Sleigh Designer MMC Lifer Santa's Elf Christmas Crew

    That all sounds wonderful Trackrebel!
    1 person likes this.
  9. HollyJolly

    HollyJolly Mrs. Claus' Executive Assistant MMC Lifer MMC Donor

    If one takes the news seriously (and I don't) then yes, that's the picture that gets portrayed. They ALWAYS look for the spectacle. The news has become all about the tabloid these days.

    I don't think it's so much a country-wide consumerist event. We all do stuff differently. Apparently, the only thing the media can report on is whether stores speak of Christmas too early, and whether the shopping season will reward retailers. I choose not to get immersed in the constant media barrage. I don't mind Christmas stuff showing up early. No one forces a shopper's cart into the one or two aisles where Christmas items show up early.

    I don't participate in Black Friday madness. I also don't go anywhere outside of family home on Thanksgiving. We ate, watched movies, ate, talked, ate, set up the tree and the rest of the Christmas stuff, ate, and generally enjoyed the company of family. Compared to the madness shown on the news, we may have well have been on another planet! :dance:
    3 people like this.
  10. MerryBells

    MerryBells wants turkey! MMC Lifer

    Amen to what Holly Jolly said. My family doesn't shop on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday. My family is very involved with our various churches, and usually we spend Black Friday at church decorating for Advent (or Christ the King, whichever it happens to be). We're not too much into shopping at any time....we don't have any kids in the family, so usually presents consist of homemade baked goods. We spend a lot of time together on holidays, and sometimes we'll take a trip together to see a local train garden or light display, and we have a great time. As for traditions....I think we have the usual American ones....Santa Claus, stockings on the mantel, a Christmas tree, candy canes. We also have Nativity scenes, chrismons (they are ornaments with Christian symbols on them), and Advent Calendars. We like to put lots of lights in our yards, so the neighbors know we're still here.

    I think it's interesting how most folks here in the USA think of snow on Christmas, even though some of the states have warmer weather for the holidays. I wonder if people in Australia think of a snowy Christmas, or if they think of summer and flowers when they think of Christmas. It sounds like a dumb question, but we're so used to a 'white Christmas' that we don't think of anything else.
    2 people like this.
  11. Classic Christmas

    Classic Christmas Eggnog Chugger Merry Forums Member

    The largest migration of people from the four corners of the globe to one spot occurred between the 1820s and the early-1900s, as the US grew exponentially in no small part because of immigration. So, the "Old World" ways were definitely brought to the US, and as such there are more similarities than differences when it comes to how different countries celebrate Christmas as compared to the US.

    For instance, no one here put up a Christmas tree until German immigrants brought the tradition with them in the 1840s. Throw in all the other traditions, and Christmas in the US is really just a reflection of Old World traditions, for the most part.

    And the US has done its part in adding to some common traditions today, not the least of which is the Santa Claus we all know today: Fat, jolly, red suit, long beard, etc. Thomas Nast can be thanked for that.

    I do wonder, however: is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer more of a North American phenomenon, or does he enjoy celebrity status elsewhere, too?
    1 person likes this.
  12. Bradmac

    Bradmac It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! MMC Lifer

    Here is a very cool story about the origins of Rudolph.
    1 person likes this.
  13. Classic Christmas

    Classic Christmas Eggnog Chugger Merry Forums Member

    Thanks, Bradmac, I should have known I could have found a wealth of information somewhere around this site!

    I knew of the Montgomery Wards connection, as I had an uncle that worked for them, and once we kids were old enough to know the true story of Rudolph he let us know Rudy was a Wards creation.

    Which makes me wonder if, for that reason, Rudolph is more of a North American celebrity, seeing it was a North American syndicate that created him; or, does his celebrity know no borders? :grin:
    1 person likes this.
  14. whychristmas

    whychristmas Webmaster Partner, <a href="http://www.whychristma MMC Lifer MMC Emeritus Member MMC Partner

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  15. Classic Christmas

    Classic Christmas Eggnog Chugger Merry Forums Member

    Looks like an excellent site, I will be checking it out for sure!

    I have such admiration for those of you that have a passion deep enough to take to the Internet, and keep a site up and running. I'm sure it's hard work.

    1 person likes this.
  16. sgrover

    sgrover MMC Emeritus Member MMC Emeritus Member

    I've been playing around on your site for my whole lunch hour! Love it!
    1 person likes this.

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