Christmas traditions in Portugal, Germany and Italy

Stories about Christmas traditions around the world by our lovely international staff.

Learn how to say Merry Christmas in Italian, Portuguese and German !

uploaded on 10th Dec 2019

Christmas traditions in Portugal

By Derick Cursino - Accommodation and Enrolment Coordinator


The smell of logs burning at the fireplace comes to mind when I think about Christmas in Portugal.

Usually Portuguese people spend Christmas at their house back at the village they were born in – that’s a funny thing about Portugal, most people were born in small villages but moved to bigger cities such as Porto, Lisboa and Braga.

So on Christmas week people go back to their villages, where most of the times there will be a big gathering with the whole family! The houses back in Portugal are mainly made out of stone, so it can get quite cold! Needless to say we spend most of our time drinking a good wine in front of the fireplace.

We celebrate Christmas on the 24th, not on the 25th as some countries do. We always have a very big table for dinner with different dishes: cod fish, lamb, rice, potatoes and soup.

When the clock strikes midnight we all give hugs and kisses on the cheek to each other, is our way to demonstrate that we are welcoming Christmas with love! Right after this little ritual, we choose someone from the family to be FATHER CHRISTMAS!

Father Christmas is the person that will get the presents from under the Christmas tree and give it to the other members of the family. It’s a lovely thing to do and it involves a lot of jokes and a lot of laughing!!

Can’t wait for it to happen again!! “ Feliz Natal! 

Christmas Traditions in Italy 

By Giovanna Gentile - MFL Teacher


Christmas is celebrated on December 25th and is the most important party. The birth of Jesus is celebrated. On this day, families gather, eat a lot, play and exchange presents.

Tanti auguri a tutti voi

Christmas Traditions in Germany

By Andreas Krug - MFL Teacher


One of the Christmas traditions that we have in Germany is to bake a variety of Plätzchen. Plätzchen are small cookies that come in many different forms and flavours. From November onwards, people bake them at home and bakeries start selling them. There are Plätzchen with chocolate, coconut, hazelnut, vanilla, almond, Christmas spices, jam…you name it. You can enjoy them with a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine. Having lived abroad for some time now, Plätzchen are something that I look forward to having for Christmas each year. Some of them are quite easy to make so if you would like to get in the holiday spirit, gather some friends, put on Christmas music and bake some Plätzchen.

Frohe Weihnachten!