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EXPERIENCE CHRISTMAS ABROAD-Celebrating the Holidays with a Host Family

Guest and host Traditions and festivals

EXPERIENCE CHRISTMAS ABROAD-Celebrating the Holidays with a Host Family

Equipo de Marketing December 10, 2015

Can you imagine celebrating Christmas, with a host family in a different way?

We’re already in December and that means Christmas is getting closer, a time of year when cities are decorated with lights, families get together and friends have parties.

But… have you thought about doing something different? Something like celebrating Christmas in another country.

Wouldn’t it be a fun adventure to try celebrating Christmas in a very different way, with another family, getting to know about the traditions and customs in other parts of the world?

Here is a list of 7 places where you could celebrate Christmas in a different way.

1- England

We can imagine how Christmas is celebrated from seeing so many of the typical films. In all of them, mistletoe, a plant that wards off evil and brings luck to homes, appears. The tradition is to stop under the mistletoe and kiss the person in front of you.

We also see children hanging stockings next to the chimney so Santa Claus can fill them with presents.


2- Japan

Christmas isn’t really celebrated there; it’s considered more as a romantic evening than as a religious celebration. The most important day in Japan is the 1st January which is New Year’s Day and it’s celebrated with style.

An interesting fact is that Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is considered as the official Christmas hymn and presents are shared out between friends and couples, but not between members of the some family.


3- Finland

Although usually it’s celebrated at home, sometimes the family rents a cabin or a country house. The typical main dish is a roast suckling pig accompanied by fish, casseroles and salads. Breakfast is also traditionally rice pudding. Christmas Eve is the main event in Finland and Father Christmas arrives then with his presents.

Curiously, having a Christmas sauna and going to midnight mass is a tradition.


4- Russia

In Russia, Christmas is celebrated later. On Christmas Eve, it’s typical to have 12 dishes, one for each apostle. Fish accompanied by beetroot soup is the most traditional dish.

The figure of Santa Claus is Ded Moroz which translates to “Cold Grandfather”. In difference to the Father Christmas we know, he knocks on the door and comes in to see the whole family with his sack of presents.


5- Italy

The strangest thing for us to see is how New Year’s Eve is celebrated; with lentils.

At the “Cenone”, which is the typical big dinner, there are some rules. The first of which is to eat only fish and another is that there has to be a pasta dish. Santa Claus is known as “Babbo Natale” and he’s anxiously awaited by the children.


6- Sweden

Christmas in Sweden starts on the first Sunday of Advent. From that day on, every Sunday a candle is lit until all four are alight which completes this liturgical period.

The 13th December is the most popular tradition in Sweden: it’s St Lucia’s Day. This day is celebrated with processions of young girls dressed in white with red sashes around their waists and crowns of candles on their heads.

The traditional food is julbord, a Swedish Christmas buffet.


7-  Germany

Germany Christmas held on 24, 25 and 26 December.

Christmas meal is lamb, duck, fish, sausages and salad of potatoes or noodles. After the meal, are placed the gifts under the tree. It is a custom that all family members receive a dish full of sweets and fruits.

As data curious, before Christmas, the Germans make an advent wreath which consists of branches of green pine and four candles. In each of the four Sundays before Christmas, a candle is lit.

The five of December  Santa supplies them with sweets, nuts and apples, while Knecht Ruprecht is responsible for punishing those who have been bad.


What do you think about these destinations for a Christmas visit and trying a different Christmas?

With the community MyHOSTpitality you can make an exchange and travel to other countries to know about Christmas. You can live with a host family in the country you choose and live Christmas in a different way.

To search for accommodation with a host family just register on our website and choose to the host family you like to make the exchange.

You can tell us your experiences in these or other destinations and share them with other members of our community by sending us an email to





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