Christmas Traditions Around the World

Christmas Around the World with CurrClick has partnered with myself and nine other homeschool bloggers this week. Each one of us will be giving goodies away during our bloggy event so be sure to check the schedule and stop by each site to learn about Christmas in other countries, enter the giveaways and maybe even make some new friends!

I chose the country of Hungary because 1. I am Hungarian, 2. Missionaries are my heroes and 3. I would like to mix #1 and #2 and feature a missionary mom blogger from Hungary!

So meet Kevin and Kristen from Following the Dream and their two children. They have been living in Hungary since 2007 as missionaries!

Here’s the church in town on Christmas Morning.

Here’s ice skaters in front of one of their castles – beautiful!

Szent István Bazilika in Budapest, decorated at Christmas

The Christmas Market

Here’s Kristen’s friend Audrey eating a type of langos, which is a popular food that they serve everywhere, but especially at the Christmas market.
For a couple years, Kristen taught a free English class with a couple others to Hungarians in the community. They celebrated Advent with them, and despite most of them not being “religious,” they all do know what Advent is.
Kristen says: “Boldog Szent Mikulás Napot!” (Happy St. Nicholas Day!) In Hungary, December 6th is the day that St. Nick/Santa in their culture makes his appearance. Baby Jesus is the one who gives gifts on Christmas Eve. For Szent Mikulás Day, the good kids get treats in their boots only if they are clean! And the golden switches the “bad” kids get are called virgács.

And although the Baby Jesus is the one who brings gifts on Christmas Eve, hardly anyone actually celebrates Jesus as the meaning and reason for Christmas. Traditionally, Hungarians put up the tree the night of December 24 and keep it up until Feb. 6th. It’s always the dad who puts the star or a csúcsdísz (ornament for the top) on top of the tree.

Usually before Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner, Jézuska (little Jesus) comes. A little bell will ring and gifts will be under the tree. All will say Boldog Karácsonyt (Merry Christmas) and listen to Christmas music and sing Csendes Éj (Silent Night). And yes, some go to the midnight mass.

After the gift giving, they have their big dinner on Christmas Eve with lots of traditional Hungarian food, usually fish or maybe turkey breast. They also enjoy fish soup, töltött káposzta (stuffed cabbage), húsleves (meat soup, often with pasta in it), and some stuffed turkey breast…and of course bejgli! (poppyseed=mákos, walnur=diós, or maybe chestnut=gesztenyés).”

Thank you Kristen for sharing! I’m reminded of Revelation 5:9b which says “with your (Jesus’) blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and launguage and people and nation.” I deeply admire your willingness to take the gospel to another nation – a nation that Jesus loves and for which his blood was shed. We serve a worthy Savior and I am honored and humbled to be called your sister in Christ.

Now for you dear readers, I have some giveaways!

CurrClick is giving away 5 items for one reader to win! To be eligible for the giveaway, leave me a comment answering this question – what nationality are you? I’ll select one winner of all 5 items randomly on Dec. 14 at 9m.

Prizes include:

Christmas Copywork by Lilliput Station
Let your child learn the true story of Christmas as they practice their writing skills. This file contains fourteen different copywork pages with verses from the KJV Bible and one with a verse from a hymn. Each page is illustrated with black and white drawings and comes with both primary and straight lines.
Christmas Around the World by Homeschool Learning Network
Christmas is coming! You’re probably getting ready to decorate the tree, hang your stockings and make your wish list. Did you ever wonder how children in other lands celebrate or observe this holiday? Why do some countries’ celebrations last for weeks? What do you do with a buche de Nol? Who’s La Befana? Why do some children wait until January 6th to receive their Christmas gifts? Christmas traditions and celebrations vary around the world. Learn all about Christmas around the world as HLN journeys across the globe in search of the spirit of the season.

Missionary Heroes by Brandenburg Studies
Looking for a great way to inspire your student with exciting, true stories of some familiar and not-so-familiar Missionaries? This “restored” out-of-print book is just the ticket: 28 enthralling accounts that are sure to have your son or daughter “thinking” about what is really important in life.

Faithbooking: Missionary Biographies by Fortunately For You Books
This series will take your child on a journey of faith, trust, and service towards God the Savior. We believe every child should know of God’s great and wonderful commission found in Matthew 28:19-20. Students will be learning about famous missionaries and their life stories. They will learn about what events triggered a
life-long service to the Lord in foreign countries. These missionaries took the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself” to a new heights and learned to love, really love, their neighbors and fellow man. Missionaries covered are: J. Hudson Taylor, Mary Slessor, David Brainerd, and William Carey.

The Great Commission by Live and Learn Press
Christ commissioned his disciples to “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations…” Since that time there have been countless missionaries who have gone into the world with the Gospel. Some of them are well-known, and others may be known to very few. Our Learn ‘N Folder will help your student learn more about the missionary of his or her choice.

I can’t wait to hear what nationality you all are!! God created us all – every nation, language and people group for his glory!

Walk with the King!
I am linked to (In)Courage today.



  1. Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of this, Courtney! And if you ever want to visit the land of your ancestors, you have a place to stay! Merry Christmas!

  2. Reminds me of the year we have been living in Prague, Czech Republic. Quite similar. And of course quite similar to some German traditions, too. It is amazing how in this big world things come toghether more and more.

  3. Wow what a wonderful giveaway! My nationality is quite eclectic, I am 1/4 Japanese, 1/4 Native american, english and german.

  4. Missionaries are Heroes to me too! Thank you for sharing about Hungary. I am 1/2 Finnish with the other half 'mutt'. 😀 In the mixture is some Welsh/Irish, Cherokee, French, some English and maybe a little bit of German.

  5. What a beautiful family! Thanks for the link so we can be following and praying for them too. My roots are a bit muttled, but I've got some Cherokee, Irish and Scottish in me. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  6. I'm Ukrainian. З Рiздвом Христовим! That's MerryChristmas in Ukrainian:)
    Thank you for the story and for pictures, now I want to go to Hungary;)

  7. Thanks for the opportunity Courtney! I am part Indonesian, part Dutch and some Irish and German! I am quite the combo!!!!

  8. I am a mix of many things…though my uncle has traced back on my dad's side to Ireland. This Christmas will be spent in South Korea due to my husband's job, so we will be celebrating Christmas on the otherside of the world.

  9. Learning about traditions of other countries is always fascinating to me. More fascinating is the willingness and obedience of missionaries. Thanks for sharing about this couple.

    I am 1/2 puerto rican and the rest a mix of polish, english, and pennsylvania dutch.

  10. Hey Courtney! I am loving your site more and more every day! I just want you to know you are teaching me SO MUCH on how to be the best homemaker and homeschooling mom I can be! Thank you so much for your time you take to instruct us!!

    I am American…going back as far as I can remember. My grandmother is 1/4 indian(cherokee I think).

    I LOVE missionaries and LOVE to hear their stories and keep up with them. Our church personally supports over 100 missionaries! We are very mission minded and I love it!!

    I would LOVE to win this giveaway! Thank you so much for the opportunity!

    And keep up the good work on your blog! I greatly anticipate seeing what you have to say every day! Thank you!!


  11. I'm an American (a southern one at that:-). My husband is turkish so my kids are part turkish or little turkeys as I tease them and say. LOL Thanks!

  12. Guten Tag! My husband and I are both German. We are hoping to take the children there in the next couple of years to see what a beautiful country it is.
    Thanks for this giveaway!

  13. Vesele Vanoce! I am part Czech, growing up with a full-blooded Czech grandmother who spoke in her native tongue often.

  14. Both my husband and I are a good mix – so I'd say American! haha! There is some Welsh, French Canadian, and Irish in there though 🙂

  15. I am kind of a mix, but one of my great grandfathers came to America from Portugal. Thank you for an encouraging blog!

  16. Happy Holidays Courtney! I love your blog! My great grandparents on both my mother's and father's side, came to America from Germany. So that makes me German. Thank you for this opportunity!


  17. I'm quite a mix. You wouldn't know it from my fair skin and eyes, but I have a bit of Choctaw Indian from my maternal grandfather. Thanks for the givaeaway, hope to win 🙂

  18. Thanks for this opportunity! I'm an American – mutt, actually. The majority of my ancestry is German, next is Irish, a little bit of Scottish, English, and Native American. There are a lot of missionaries on my mom's side of the family, and my son-in-law's sister and husband are currently missionaries in Haiti.


  19. I really enjoyed this post….it's so neat to see how other countries live and the traditions they hold!

    I am {Southern} American all the way in south Alabama….and really, isn't that a nationality all it's own?? lol

  20. Thank you so much for your blog. My heritage is German. My dad was born in Frankfurt, Germany and came to American when he was 2.

  21. What a great article. I'm Irish, Scottish, English, and perhaps a touch of French (we haven't been able to verify the French heritage).

  22. I love learning about other cultures, and like you, missionaries are my heroes too. I am quite an ecletic mix with some German, British, Welsh, and even some Native American in there. What a great giveaway!

  23. I love this! 😀

    I am 95% German about 5% Irish. We are beginners at homeschooling and would love to win these great resources to use with our kids next year once we get started in full swing! We will be homeschooling full-time beginning 2011. So excited! Thanks for the peek into Hungarian Christmas celebrations…growing up in a German family, we celebrated St. Nicholas day too…and we are passing that tradition on to our children. I love that they have Jesus bring the gifts on the 25th. What a great idea!

    Blessings to yoU!

    Mary Joy

  24. Hi Courtney!! That is so awesome, I am a homeschooling Mom and this is awesome. My nationality is Mexican American or Hispanic.

  25. Awesome! I love how the sign also had the words in English.
    My heritage is Mexican from my mother's side and Spanish, Hopi & Yaqui Indian from my father's side.

  26. Neat article! I'm 3/4 German and 1/4 Polish. My hubby is most proud of his Italian heritage…I laugh because it works out to be only 1/16 of the mix! 🙂

  27. Gosh, I don't know… I would have to say Texan! Native American, Irish, English, probably a little German thrown into the mix and the rest is unknown … BUT.. we are all children of GOD 😉

  28. Thank you for sharing about Christmas in Hungary! My parents were missionaries, too. People don't realize how much missionaries have to give up to serve Him in a culture where they don't fit in. That "langos" Danish thingie looks yummy, by the way!

  29. This was neat to read about. We will pray for these missionaries as they do the work of God in Hungary.
    I am heavily Irish and Italian with a smidge of Cherokee and Iroquois mixed in.

  30. Looks like some great books! My human family tree branches are wide(mostly English, some Irish, Scottish, Cherokee, and who knows what else). But, the honest truth is, I used to be in Adam, but now I am in Christ so my family is really HUGE!

  31. Another mutt here…maybe some German and Irish, but a tiny bit of Cherokee. We're still trying to figure out exactly where our family is from!

  32. Love this. My husband is Colombian and so it's so awesome to me to find out about other cultures. As for me all I really know is I'm mostly likely German since I come from generations of Mennonites haha

  33. My Dad is Scottish and my Mom is Icelandic/Swedish. I guess that makes me pretty eclectic. 🙂 We live in Canada though so we mostly say we are Canadian.

  34. Courtney, this is a magnificent rendering of Christmas in another place. Felt like I was there. Thank you. It looks often like we’ve forgotten Our Lord in this country – much of Europe is way ahead of us on that track. And your missionary friends have their work cut out for them I’m sure. God Bless them.

    As to your question? Like so many above, I’m a classic American Mutt. My ancestors were apparently very – err – ummm – social – that’s the word. There’s English and Welch, Irish and Italian, and French, and Native American and French Canadian Indian, and I think that’s just the surface. I’m a citizen of heaven if that counts. 🙂

  35. I am british. all my children have been born here as has my husband.
    On the whole i am proud to be british and i thank the lord we live in a christian country.
    i am so proud of our history and i love researching past histories

  36. I am british. all my children have been born here as has my husband.
    On the whole i am proud to be british and i thank the lord we live in a christian country.
    i am so proud of our history and i love researching past histories

  37. I am british. all my children have been born here as has my husband.
    On the whole i am proud to be british and i thank the lord we live in a christian country.
    i am so proud of our history and i love researching past histories

  38. I am an American of German descent. It has been so interesting to learn about the different cultural traditions. Thank you for this one.
    PS. It would be nice if you give each book or two to a different commenter.
    violets4von (at) hotmail (dot) com

  39. This was a great post–thank you. We really enjoyed reading about Hungary alongside with the missionaries' perspective. My kids thought the pictures were very interesting, and I appreciated the scripture and your faith that you wrote at the end. As for our nationality, our ancestors were from Denmark, Sweden, England and Germany. Merry Christmas!–Emily

    gammonfam [at]

  40. Love Love these pictures, I am truly an American Mutt, I have pre-revolutionary English and French ancestors, Scottish ancesotrs, Italian, German, and Cherokee ancestors, my greatest herritage is Irish, making up about 1/4 of my DNA! I would love these books.

  41. Thanks for the info. I thought it was interesting that they leave the tree up until February 6th. Do you know the reason why? I also like that the Dad always puts the star on top.

  42. Courtney,
    This was a great post. My son is a missionary in Slovakia right now. Their Christmas traditions are similar to Hungary's. Many of
    Kristen's pictures look like the pictures my son has posted on his blog. By the way I am german. Thanks so much.

  43. My husband's family is German (his dad speaks low German), and my mom's family spoke low German as well! She is German and Dutch, while my dad is Irish and British.

    Very interesting info on a Hungarian Christmas! I lived in the Netherlands for a year as a missionary, and got to spend a week at a conference in Sopron, Hungary. The Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas on Dec. 5… in a similar way as what you described as the Hungarian "St. Nicholas Day."

  44. I'm so enjoying your blog Courtney. My paternal grandparents came to the US from Sweden. The traditional Christmas dinner was not very appetizing for me as a child. Lutefisk and pickled herring I'll pass on. On the maternal side we have Irish and Welsh mixture.

  45. I am 100% Norwegian, with 3 of my grandparents immigrating here and one grandfather born in the US of Norwegian immigrants. Thank you for sharing about Turkey. That is one country in our studies that we have not covered yet so now will be sure to use this info for future studies!

  46. I didn't know you were Hungarian! I'm 1/4th Hungarian (I have others in me, but Hungarian is the biggest percentage, so it's the one I remember easiest LOL)! I don't know much about Hungary, though. I always mean to study up on it more, but never get around to it. Something to work into our homeschool, though. As well as my husband's nationalities.

  47. I am Native American and German. I'm sure I have a little "mutt" mixed in there, like most of your followers. lol

  48. I'm Canadian. My mom was German and my dad French, but all born in Canada. I love the story of baby Jesus bringing gifts. Makes way more sense than Santa, doesn't it?

    The photos are so beautiful. Love this post!!

  49. How lovely Hungary is at Christmas. I am Hispanic which can be a mix of Mexican, Spanish, Native American Indian and Anglo.

  50. My mom is Scottish, and my dad is American. I married a Louisiana Cajun. My kids enjoy learning about their ancestors.

  51. I consider myself Norwegian. My mom is my birth mom, but when she re-married when I was 5 years old, my dad adopted me, and he is a proud Norwegian! I love my family & my heritage! "Of-da-boogan!" 🙂 {that means "ahh! I'm satisfied!")
    -Be blessed!,

  52. I have really been enjoying your website lately. I found you through Time-Warp Wife. Anyhow, I am English/German descent. My mother was a second generation born American. Her maiden name was actually Lichtenberger! Fun, huh? Well, Merry Christmas!

  53. Thanks you very much for sharing, I love stories about any missionary. I was going to be one "when I grew up." My family has German heritage on my dad's side, and on my mom's side they trace the family tree back to the mid 1700's in Georgia, so we don't know. Thanks again!

  54. Thank you so much for sharing the information and the beautiful pictures. I also was wondering why they leave the Christmas tree up so long.
    Both of my parents were Portuguese/Hawaiian. My husband is mostly Danish. This info about Christmas traditions around the world has got me thinking that I really should do some more research into our family heritage and find more traditions to celebrate that. I think my kids would appreciate it.
    Again, thank you and a Merry Christmas!

  55. Thank you for sharing this! Missionaries are heroes to me as well. I had hoped to one day be a missionary, but at this point, God has different plans.
    I guess I am mostly German and grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch territory so my German heritage is strongest. The village my family came from was on the border of France and there is some French heritage as well. My mother has a touch of Cherokee as well as a touch of Irish to add to the mix! My husband has Scottish as well as German heritage. I think the German heritage and traditions are the strongest in his family as well.

  56. I am the "mutt"… a mix of pretty much anything Europeon. I know I have ancestors from Wales, Sweden, Germany, Austria… but those were the original immigrants back in the 1700's. So throw in a bunch of other nationaitlies with those too. My "claim to fame"… I'm related to John Brown, somehow. 😛

  57. Thank you so much for the information! I loved the pictures of the Christmas market. As for my heritage, I am definitely a little bit of everything- German, Scottish, English, and Czech on my father's side and Irish and Cherokee on my mother's side.

  58. What a great giveaway! I am a mix… mostly Irish, Polish, and Scandinavian but with a number of other nationalities thrown in there too. Our family is even more eclectic with one of our sons being adopted from Guatemala and the other domestically (he is Chinese, Russian, Irish, and Hispanic.) We are also currently in the process of adopting from Rwanda as well. I love your multicultural post!

  59. I am English/Scottish and my husband is Cuban. We make very beautiful babies. 🙂 I love having my children growing up with two very different cultures in their lives.

  60. I just found your blog, and am very encouraged by it so far. We are going to be doing the Christmas Around the World by HLN starting today! I've never used it before, but I am looking forward to it. I am mostly German, and we celebrate St. Nicholas too, just like in Hungary. Except we use stockings instead of boots. I am also part Swedish. Merry Christmas!

  61. Thanks for participating in this! It is so fun to see Christmas around the World! O.K., I am Native American, Irish, German, and English.

  62. Hi Courtney! Thank you so much for this information. This was a new culture for us to study, so it was very interesting!
    I am mostly Italian with with about 1/4 Russian Jew (I think they were Russian)We incorporate bot heritage styles into our holidays which is always a lot of fun!
    Thank you for this opportunity!

  63. I am American 😀 On my mama's side are some Scots, on my daddy's side there are Germans, Scots and a great-grandmother that was Native American though I know not which 'nation'. I am quite a 'mutt'.

  64. I am American, blah blah blah 🙂 But I am a missionary too, to China! Currently on furlough in the states and would love to win this gift package!

  65. Thank you for the interesting info about Hungary! I enjoyed it very much!
    I am American although my roots are many: Native American – Cherokee(can't tell as I'm a redhead), Irish, Scottish, English, Welsh, German, Austrian, Swiss, French

  66. I'm loving this Christmas Around the World series! So fun! I'm a Heinz 57…mostly German and Irish, but some Scotch, English, and even Polish and French thrown in too.

  67. My paternal grandparents came to the US from Sweden. The traditional Christmas dinner was not very appetizing for me as a child. Lutefisk and pickled herring I’ll pass on. On the maternal side we have Irish and Welsh mixture.
    Pet Ornaments

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