Christmas in Two Cultures

Last year, I wrote about how Christmas looks so different.  About how I was confused to be spending Christmas in Chile as it looks so very different to Christmas in England.  So, this year I thought it would be fun to compare the two.DSC04397

The build up

England:  Christmas starts many months before the big day!  Christmas cards, presents and decorations fill the shops from September onwards (slowly but surely until Christmas can be seen everywhere!).  I really think that this is because Christmas is a huge thing to look forward to amongst the cold, dark months.

Chile: In comparison, in Chile, Christmas is a much more low-key event.  There are decorations in shops now but it’s much less of  a big deal.  Instead, Chileans main celebration is their national day in September.  DSC04395DSC04392

The date

England: Christmas is celebrated on the 25th December with a late lunch at home or at a family member’s home.  The 26th is a public holiday too and people tend to visit other family, go to a football match or stay at home eating leftovers.

Chile:  Christmas is celebrated on the evening of 24th December.  People go to work as normal that day and maybe leave a bit early to get home.  Most people have a late evening meal (really late) and many go to midnight mass too.  The 25th feels like a normal day with family.  Then, everyone is back to work on the 26th.DSC_0082

The weather

England:  A cold and wintery but cosy day.  Despite the snow themed decorations, it is verrrrry unlikely to snow on Christmas day, even though lots of people wish it would!

Chile:  Hot, hot, hot! The temperate is above 30.  Last year on our wedding date (26th Dec), it reached 36 and it was HOT!DSC04361DSC00103


The decoration

Funnily enough, despite the difference in temperature, the decoration is very similar:  Christmas trees, light, snow-themed decorations.  However, there is more decorating in England compared to Chile.  Though putting lights up outside homes is becoming more popular in Chile too.DSC04396DSC04394

The food

England:  A traditional Christmas meal is turkey, stuffing, gravy, road potatoes and vegetables.  Followed by Christmas cake or Christmas pudding.

Chile:  In Chile, some people have a BBQ, or turkey.  DSC_0096

Where are you celebrating Christmas?  Is it different from Christmas at home?

Marcella xx

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42 thoughts on “Christmas in Two Cultures

  1. Ah that warm weather on Christmas almost makes me miss California! Growing up as a child, Christmas was always a bit warm – anywhere between 60-80*F in San Diego. We wore shorts and sandals on Christmas day haha #WanderfulWednesday

  2. It’s soooo weird to see Christmas decorations here in KL! The city itself doesn’t do it, but the malls go ALL OUT with decorations! And I noticed that a lot are very wintery themed too, even though obviously, it never snows in this part of the world. I’ve been asking around and it seems like that nothing actually happens for Christmas though. I don’t think people even get the day off here.

  3. Wow, it is almost complete opposites!! It is funny though, because in Mexico Christmas is a bigger deal than here in Slovenia, at least celebration wise. People only have lunch on the 25th. We have a dinner on the 24th and brunch and all day binging on the 25th.

  4. Wow – so interesting to read about the differences. In Chester, UK I have already been to two Christmas light celebrations and parades and it’s not even December yet!! It feels too early, but a nice excuse to drink mulled cider. In Vietnam last year, they also loved their snowy decorations despite the heat. My friend also insisted on eating a full turkey meal when she lived in Abu Dhabi despite the heat. I love Christmas around the world!! 😀 What’s it like for you having to go back to work on the 26th, or do schools take a break?

  5. Very interesting! Particularly about people celebrating on the eve of the 24th and going back to work on the 26th. I’d say we have it better here, but 30+ deg weather sounds nice… How do you manage to eat turkey when it’s that hot?!

    Also like Anna, having spent Christmas in a hot country it’s really weird to see all the decorations so tailored for winter. Like, snowflakes, woolly sheep, etc. Very incongruous!

  6. I’ll be celebrating Christmas abroad for the first time this year and I’m so excited!! Christmas in Chile still seems odd to me with it being warm but with the weather we’re currently having, I wouldn’t actually mind some sunshine and warmth that much 😀

  7. I’m having trouble adjusting to Christmas in winter. It doesn’t seem right to not be able to go for a swim on Christmas Day or that Pavlova isn’t really an “in season” dessert. #WanderfulWednesday

  8. It’s so crazy how different celebrating the same holiday can be around the world! I had no idea that you get the day after Christmas off in England, and I wish that they’d do that in America! We only get the Christmas Eve and Christmas day off. It sounds like an English Christmas is pretty similar to an American Christmas when it comes to the food too!

  9. I think Christmas is very unique in Puerto Rico, so, it will be very different from anywhere in the world. It is said we have the longest Christmas in the world. Things start to warm up after Thanksgiving and they end mid January (after that, a famous carnival like celebration starts). it is nearly impossible to get decent public services during that time. And, yes, it is hot! #wanderfulwednesday

  10. I love hearing how different countries celebrate around the world and have been lucky to spend Christmas in many different places and continents (I have, in fact, scheduled a blog about this exact subject due for release in a couple of weeks time!). So, I have experienced celebrations on 24th and 25th December, in snow and in sun – and I love it all mainly because I am not in the damp, dark UK lol. Thank you for bringing us some festive cheer with your delightful post! #wanderfulwednesday

  11. It is funny how celebrations can vary so much! We are spending Christmas in France this year, and although it is not that far from England, there are still huge differences. We will be celebrating on the 24th (like in Chile) with a whole array of seafood, oysters, snails etc followed by some sort of roasted bird, which has never been a turkey in the past! Fingers crossed there will be something to remind me of home this year 😉 – Freckles

  12. It’s so weird how hot it is here! I’ve had Christmas in Florida before, but never been so hot in December in my life! ahha I also love how all of the decorations here still have to do with snow and cold weather…. very strange! And I’ll be celebrating Christmas right here in Santiago with friends 🙂

  13. haha I’m definitely halfway between the two because of my two parents and I think it’s getting the best of out both worlds 🙂 I find Britain (and North America too) a bit too intense on the decorations and the christmas shopping, so I’m more Chilean that way, more low key. And I love a good bbq on Christmas! Every time we spent it in Chile it was so fun! I think New Year’s is a bigger deal in Chile.

  14. this was super interesting to read Marcella! A few years back a friend of mine from New Zealand broke the news to me that Thanksgiving is purely an American holiday. It was so crazy to think at the time, but since I’ve spent more time traveling I always find it so interesting how holidays differ in other parts of the world.

  15. Marcella – so interesting that we all find it hard to think of Christmas in a warm climate. I grew up in Hawaii and even though I knew nothing else – I still wanted snow on Christmas. And I never did get used to palm trees instead of the northern woods. Great blog – enjoy reading about your adventures.

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