When we questioned our team about their Christmas night traditions:
Half of our team at F.Fonseca is divided between Christmas movies, board games or simply catching up with family members.
The other half would rather have a glass of wine next to the fireplace.
🍷 🔥

54% - Have a glass of wine next to the fireplace 🏆
17% - Board games
17% - Catch up on a full year with family
13% - Christmas movies
Each home with their own customs. Each country with their own traditions.
Christmas traditions around the world
In a mostly Catholic country like Portugal, Christmas has strong traditions. Families gather on the night of December 24th for Christmas Eve, where the traditional dish is codfish. On the 25th, the tradition is stuffed turkey. In the North, octopus is also tradition. Sweets such as “filhoses” and “rabanadas” are popular all over the country. Nativity scenes have a strong tradition from the North to the South of the country. In Algarve, for example, it is custom to set the nativity scene in the form of a ladder, with baby Jesus at the top, surrounded by oranges, flowers and plants.
Only on January 6th, King’s Day, do the Spaniards exchange gifts, but on Christmas Eve, the night of December 24th, families also get together for Christmas dinner and then attend the traditional Midnight Mass. On the Christmas table you can find "pata negra" ham, seafood and fish, paella, roast lamb, “torrone” (sweet made of almonds and sugar) and “roscón de reyes”, similar to our “bolo rei”.
It’s custom to have a very religious Christmas and most families attend midnight mass. Same as Spain, you have to wait until January 6th to open your presents. On the Italian Christmas table are various fish dishes, notably eel and codfish, pasta, stuffed turkey and “panettone”, a Christmas candy originally from Milan that has spread throughout the country.
The Christmas tree was born in this country in the 16th century. Advent wreaths are typical and the four candles that make them up must be lit, one at a time, on the four Sundays before Christmas. Pork dishes, sausages and chorizo are common. “Stollen” cake, made with grapes, almonds and cherries, is very popular, resembling a more elongated, pie-shaped “bolo rei”.
As in other European countries, Catholic families attend midnight mass and then gather around the table for supper. The cuisine varies greatly from region to region. In Paris, for example, the most traditional dish is made with oysters, while in Alsace goose is the dish of choice. Roast turkey accompanied by boiled chestnuts is also very popular in the country.
In this European country, the cold is intense during Christmas and children believe that it is elves who bring them Christmas gifts. In the Scandinavian countries, which include Sweden, Norway and Finland, among others, the celebrations begin on December 13th, when Saint Lucy's day is celebrated. It is tradition for the eldest daughter to dress in white, place a wreath of candles on her head, and wake up her parents with a song.
It is the land of Santa Claus and the season takes place in the scenery that makes up our childhood imagination, with snow on the street and the fireplace burning in the house. The fir tree is the Christmas tree. The exchange of gifts takes place on the night of December 24th to 25th, when the family gathers for the main meal. On the menu are various mashes (carrot or potato), beet salad, salted raw salmon, herring, and roasted pork leg. Dessert includes gingerbread cookies, plum cream, and sweets with fruit sauces. As it is very cold, it is usual for Finns to go to a sauna on this date.
The movies have helped create an image of American Christmas’ in the world's imagination, with seasonal music being played in the streets and a rush to the stores to buy presents. In the houses, decorations with lights, candles, Christmas trees, wreaths and snowmen complete the scene. At the table you will find many culinary traditions, since the United States integrates a great variety of cultures.
Although it is a country with little Catholic tradition, the celebration of Christmas has become popular among children and the exchange of gifts, especially electronic ones, is already quite common. As for gastronomy, the Japanese who celebrate Christmas have imported western habits, including the turkey meal, for example, but they also put sushi and sashimi on the Christmas table.
What if it was 30 degrees on Christmas? In Australia this season is associated with high temperatures and families often celebrate the date with picnics and trips to the beach. During the celebrations on the seafront, it is common to see Santa Claus appearing on surfboards or lifeboats. The exchange of presents takes place on the 25th.
In Mexico there are the traditional "posadas", parties that take place from December 16th to the 24th, in which the story of Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ parents, is told in detail. During these celebrations piñatas are a must, a typical game in which there is a hanging clay pot filled with sweets inside, which the children (and the grown-ups too) try to break blindfolded with a stick. The most successful ones keep the candy.
In Uruguay families gather at the homes of grandparents or older relatives. The "picadita" is a tradition, consisting of the preparation and tasting of cold appetizers, cheeses, whiskeys, wines, pieces of lamb or suckling pig before dinner and throughout Christmas Eve.
Another country where Christmas takes place in the summer. It is common to exchange gifts through a secret friend. Christmas carols are not part of the Brazilian Christmas traditions, but turkey is a part of the Christmas table, accompanied by tropical fruits.
The continent's Catholic minority celebrates the date by replacing the traditional pine tree with cypress. On the Cape Verdeans' table, for example, there is usually stew, while Mozambicans prefer roasted baby goat and Angolans enjoy vegetarian dishes with “manioc”. Many families hold their Christmas party outdoors because it is hot.
Great Britain
Children hang stockings by the fireplace for Santa Claus to place his presents after he comes down the chimney. It is on the morning of December 25th that the presents are opened. Gastronomically, plum pudding is a very typical sweet of this season.
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