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Christmas Around the World

'Tis the season to be jolly and get in the mood to celebrate Christmas, Yule, or Christmastide. What would Christmas be if we didn't take you on a worldwide tour to give you an inside view of how it's celebrated in different places?

While the name or meaning may change around the world, the goal remains the same; to bring people together in joy. We've got a lot to cover, so let's jump into our festive world tour beginning in the United Kingdom (U.K.).

In the U.K., Christmas is called "the season of Advent." Much like here in the U.S., the first sign of Christmas and its holiday season decorations can be seen in all the shops beginning in mid-November. Who doesn't love the chance to grab their decorations early?

The first known celebration of the season of Advent in the U.K. took place in the town of York in 521 AD, and even back then, they took Christmas caroling in the community very seriously. If you and your family want to try caroling, try using the Smithsonian Folkways Holiday Music Map and take some time to sing traditional holiday songs together.

These aren't the only things to know about Christmas in the U.K. several things set them apart, including the food that graces their tables for the midday Advent feast.

Such dishes include:

While that might be a lot to digest, we can't stop now! Let's put on our traveler's hats and head over to Spain. In Spain, La Navidad (Christmas) isn't only a time to celebrate, but it's the best time to try your luck by playing El Gordo, a Spanish Christmas lottery.

People across Spain play for their chance to win a huge prize and to make things even more festive; the winning lottery numbers are sung out loud for everyone to hear by a choir of children. Multiple winners are selected, and they split the prize money evenly.

Even if you don't win the lottery, we're sure it won't put a damper on your Christmas as you visit various shops that serve visitors the most lavish Christmas Eve meals. From garlic soup to Catalana escudella, the Christmas feast seems to go on and on, but who is complaining? After all the savory dishes have been cleared, you have to save room for the epiphany cake.

Do you have room for more? Brace yourselves, we're on our way to Ethiopia, and unlike other places in the world when they celebrate Christmas, it's in January.

In Ethiopia, during Christmas or Genna, the story of the three wise men is shared in every home because they firmly believe that these wise men were from Ethiopia. When it's time to celebrate the holiday season, many Ethiopians dress in white, and the only adornment is another white cloth that features various colored stripes called a netela. If you're feeling adventurous and wish to see what Genna is like, you can join hundreds of others as they participate in the Ethiopian Christmas tour and trek.

We're enjoying the tour just as much as you are, but it's time to go home and see what Christmas is like for us in the US. Christmas is a big deal around here, and we celebrate by decorating our homes with beautifully colored adornments, lights, and tinsel. On Christmas Eve children go to bed early in hopes that Santa will visit them and leave tons of presents around the tree. The crew at Gallopade even have our own special version of a beloved Christmas classic - The Peachtree City Night Before Christmas which tells the tale of Santa’s visit to our hometown in Georgia.

When they wake up on Christmas morning and see the gifts, it's the perfect way to begin the festive day. Remember to hang your Christmas stockings on the wall or by the fireplace so you can collect all the stocking stuffers.

Of course, Christmas is about more than gifts; it's also about spending time with friends and family you don't get to see all the time. If you genuinely want to get in the holiday spirit, try one of our favorite recipes and watch everyone's eyes light up around the table.

How do you and your family celebrate Christmas? Let us know! We'd love to hear from you, and don't forget to check out more of our must-read blogs.


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