There are many beautiful and festive countries to visit during Christmas, each with unique traditions and customs. Here are just a few top destinations to consider for your holiday travels, along with some unique Christmas traditions you can experience in each place. For example, partake in Galicia at Christmas or visit Madrid.
There are beautiful cities, such as Canada, but Sweden is one of the most picturesque countries to visit during the holiday season. The towns with twinkling lights and traditional markets in many squares, where you can find handmade crafts and gifts and festive treats like mulled wine and gingerbread. One of Sweden’s most beloved Christmas traditions is the tradition of “home,” or the Swedish Christmas gnome. Many believe that these gnomes, who live in the forests, protect the farm and its animals. The tradition of the “tomte” is to leave a small gift or treat for them on Christmas Eve to thank them for their protection.
Germany is well-known for its elaborate Christmas markets, which you can find in cities all over the country. These markets are a beloved tradition, offering a festive atmosphere with twinkling lights, holiday music, and freshly baked gingerbread and roasted chestnuts filling the air.
One of the unique Christmas traditions in Germany is the tradition of the “Christkind,” or the Christ child. In many parts of Germany, Christkind, rather than Santa Claus, brings presents to children on Christmas Eve. The Christkind is a young, angelic figure with golden curls and a crown of stars.
While Christmas in Japan is not widely celebrated, it has become more prevalent in recent years, especially among younger generations. As a result, you can experience a unique blend of Western and Eastern Christmas traditions in Japan. One of Japan’s favorite Christmas traditions is the “Kurisumasu keki,” or Christmas cake. It is a light sponge cake topped with whipped cream and strawberries and a popular treat during the holiday season. Many Japanese people also exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, and it is not uncommon to see Christmas trees and decorations in homes and public spaces.
Austria is another beautiful European country known for its festive Christmas markets. In Vienna, the capital city, you can find the famous Christmas market at the Rathausplatz, where you can shop for handmade gifts and decorations and enjoy traditional Austrian holiday treats like “Glühwein,” a warm, spiced wine. One of the unique Christmas traditions in Austria is the tradition of “Krampus,” a half-goat, the half-demon creature who is said to roam the streets during the holiday season. According to legend, Krampus punishes naughty children while St. Nicholas rewards the good ones. In many parts of Austria, you can see Krampus parades and festivals, with people dressed in elaborate Krampus costumes.
Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island with a vibrant culture and rich history. Christmas is a significant holiday in Puerto Rico; the celebrations last several weeks. One of the unique Christmas traditions in Puerto Rico is the “parranda,” a lively, impromptu holiday party. Groups of friends and family members will go from house to house, singing Christmas carols and playing instruments.
Many countries are worth visiting for their unique traditions and customs during Christmas. Whether you’re looking for picturesque towns, elaborate Christmas Markets, or lively holiday parties, there’s a destination for everyone.