Friday, December 24, 2010

The Magic of Christmas Eve

The night before Christmas, or Christmas Eve as it’s widely known, produces a number of different traditions for children and families around the world.

In the U.S.A. and Canada, children go to bed early but leave cookies and milk by the Christmas tree for Santa to enjoy. After all, he’s on a long journey and will no doubt get hungry as he travels around the globe; plus he has to keep up his figure. Other North American traditions include the reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,’ watching Jimmy Stewart in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ or singing Christmas carols.

In Austria and throughout the United Kingdom, children leave out a small glass of sherry and a mince pie for Santa. In Sweden, children leave brownies for Santa; in the Netherlands, they leave out carrots and hay to feed Santa’s hungry reindeer.

In Italy, a Christmas Eve meal is prepared (without any meat) and is followed by a visit to a live nativity scene, or maybe a bonfire, and then everyone attends midnight mass.

On Christmas Eve in Egypt, it is customary to wear a new outfit; in Japan, couples spend a romantic evening together or opt out and eat traditional Christmas cakes with their family.

Noche Bueno is Christmas Eve in Mexico where the family spends the day together, enjoys an evening meal, and then attends traditional midnight mass.

Watch about Origins of Santa Claus on History.com or track Santa's progress on Christmas Eve! But whatever you do...

Have a Very Happy Holiday Season!

Flickr.com Photo Credit: Thomas Ott

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