Our Christmas Traditions

Holly Cowley
Holly Cowley

December 10th, 2021

What's your Christmas tradition?

Every family has their own traditions at this time of year. Sure, there’s the commonly known ones such as leaving a carrot out for Rudolf for those that celebrate Christmas, or gifting chocolate coins known as gelt to children for Hanukkah. There’s also more personalised traditions from family to family, for example, my own family tradition is a new pair of Christmas Eve PJs. For many countries and cultures, December to January is a time for festivities. We are lucky enough at Tell to work with individuals from all over the world and it's been fascinating to talk to each person about their holiday traditions. Perhaps this blog may even inspire some new traditions for yourselves.

Kirill’s Christmas
For our kit assistant, Kirill, who was born and raised in Russia, lots of the holiday traditions we have in the UK are similar to his own. For example, decorated pine trees in the home, a huge meal around the table and even a version of Santa Claus known as Ded Moroz with his snowmaid assistant Snegurochka. The main difference is, it is actually NYE that warrants these festivities in Russia. On the eve of the new year, huge parties are thrown with a different family taking it upon themselves to host. As the clocks count down the guests will gather together to listen to the presidential address. The traditional New Year’s greeting is “S Novim Godom!” (С Новым годом!) and no new year’s feast is complete without a luscious Olivier Salad.

It is no surprise that New Year's Eve takes the cake, when Christmas wasn’t actually reinstated as a national holiday in Russia until 1991. However, a smaller version of Christmas is celebrated on 7th January each year.

Juliana’s Christmas
For Juliana, who’s home country is Brazil, she finds reflecting on her Christmas traditions quite funny. In Brazil Santa Claus is still layered up in warm clothes and all of the Christmas Trees are adorned in fake snow...but the average temperature in December is 26 degrees celsius! Don't fret though, because Juliana is finally getting to enjoy her first real snowy Christmas after moving to Canada earlier this year.

In terms of food, there’s always a lot of leftovers after a Brazilian Christmas dinner that you have to devour the following day. Traditionally, a yummy serving of French Toast is a common Christmas dessert. One of the most interesting things about Brazil is how their Christmas traditions are influenced by a whole range of cultures “including Italy, Portugal, Spain and, especially in the south of the country, Germany”. This is especially obvious in the dishes served across the country at Christmas dinner.

Edgar’s Christmas
When we asked Edgar about his Christmas traditions there was one overarching theme; food. There’s Tamales for dinner with pork, chicken and potatoes, followed by Mexican hot chocolate to honour his heritage. So, what makes Mexican hot chocolate different from the average hot chocolate?
Well, according to the internet Mexican hot chocolate is “traditionally made with coarse Mexican dark chocolate disks, hot milk or water, assorted chilli and spices[...] The milk or water is heated, the chocolate is grated and vigorously whisked into the hot milk until a frothy top develops.”

In the evening Edgar and his pops close the day by drinking some good old tequila and singing some traditional Mexican songs!

Kat’s Christmas
For Kat, whose family has lived in a number of different countries across Europe, there has rarely been a chance to celebrate the Anglo-Christmas that most of us know so well.

Usually, Kat’s family had rules on watching lots of films and eating unhealthy food excessively. However, as a Christmas treat, such rules no longer applied! On Christmas Eve, Kat and her family would go to the shop and buy the junk food that they weren't usually allowed to have. They’d choose three items each, and sit eating them while binge watching festive movies on Christmas day. If that doesn't sound like the cosiest day ever, I don't know what does!

One thing is clear, no matter where you’re from, food will always be a huge part of the holiday festivities. Alex's dad wakes up at 5am just to start the Christmas Dinner - now that’s commitment! Or perhaps your traditions include watching films, like Watson’s family with The Polar Express, or playing games, such as Jess’ horse-betting game. Across the Tell team, there are loads of great Christmas traditions to inspire us all in time for this year’s celebrations.