But every country is different, so it got us thinking: what traditions are we missing out on?
Here are just a few:
1. Smelly feet in France: The Noël season starts on 6th December. Instead of stockings, children leave out shoes for Father Christmas to leave gifts in. Food to try: The Bûche de Noël is a traditional Yule log.
2. Strong herbs in Greece: Families attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve. To ward away evil spirits (Killantzaroi) they hang up sprigs of basil. Food to try: Christopsomo (which translates to “Christ’s Bread”) is a sweet bread baked on Christmas Eve.
3. Put another shrimp on the Barbie in Australia: I’ve never actually heard an Aussie say this, especially as my Aussie friends call them prawns. Anyway, I digress. Christmas is in the middle of the summer holidays Down Under so barbecues are popular on Christmas Day. Food to try: Pavlova with fresh berries and passion fruit.
4. Make them wait in Mexico: Children aren’t allowed to open presents until the final day of the festive season on 6th January, which is called El Dia de los Reyes. Food to try: Salt cod with spicy vegetables, a dish known as bacalao.
5. A 12 course meal in Russia: The Orthodox Church uses the traditional Julian calendar, so Christmas is not celebrated until the first week of January. When the first evening star appears a huge 12 course feast, to represent the 12 apostles, starts. Food to try: Russian King Cake made with three layers. The secret ingredient is poppy seeds.
6. Burn the goat in Sweden: In the town a Gavle, a huge straw goat is built every Christmas, and every year vandals try to burn it down. Despite its guards, it has only survived until Christmas Day ten times since 1966. Food to try: Rice pudding, or risgrynsgröt, flavoured with cinnamon.
7. Pants down in Spain, Portugal and Italy: Some villages set up a traditional Bethlehem model. “That’s not unusual”, I hear you cry. These models include a Caganer, which is a figurine with his pants around his ankles caught in the act of defecating. Charming. Now on to food to try: Stuffoli is popular in Italy. They are small nuggets of fried dough flavoured with lemon. Reindeer poo anyone?
What's your favourite family Christmas tradition? Drop us a line.