Celebrating Christmas Around the World

Christmas is celebrated in many different countries around the world. Whether you say Merry Christmas or Feliz Navidad or Fröhliche Weihnachten, the spirit of the holiday is the same. There are many great books available to introduce children to Christmas celebrations all over the world. Why not take a trip around the globe together and learn some new customs? While learning how people celebrate Christmas around the world, you may discover something you want to make into a family tradition of your own.

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*Yes, I realize there is a lot of Tomie dePaola on this list. I can’t help it that he writes great books about other countries and cultures, and that I love his work!

Stories from Europe


The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie dePaola introduces kids to Old Befana, an old Italian woman who spends her days sweeping and baking. After she misses her opportunity to see the Christ Child, she starts roaming Italy searching for him. While she searches, she brings gifts and baked goods to Italian children on Epiphany.  Tomie dePaola’s warm and colorful illustrations will entertain children while teaching them about this Italian tradition.


Lucia Morning in Sweden by Ewa Rydaker introduces readers to the celebration of St. Lucia Day in Sweden. Celebrated on December 13, St. Lucia Day marks the start of the Christmas season and signifies light in the darkest of times. This book provides readers with information on many of the traditions of the holiday, including coffee, baked goods and singing. Children will enjoy the colorful illustrations while parents will appreciate the recipes and patterns which can be used to further introduce kids to these traditions!


Cobweb Christmas: The Tradition of Tinsel by Shirley Climo retells an old German folktale which explains the tradition of tinsel on Christmas trees. Everyone wants to look at Tante’s beautiful Christmas tree – even the spiders who are swept outside of her house. When Kris Kringle stops by her house, he lets them inside and they spin beautiful decorations on her tree. This is a great tale explaining the tradition of a beloved Christmas decoration. The beautiful illustrations and the magical story will keep kids asking for this story for years to come.

Stories from North America and Africa


The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie dePaola illustrates the procession of Las Posadas in Santa Fe. Las Posadas is a celebration of Mary and Joseph’s travels in Bethlehem seeking shelter on Christmas Eve. When the flu and a snowstorm threaten the procession, a mysterious couple saves the day. Tomie dePaola’s vibrant illustrations transport the reader to the beautiful procession. Kids will enjoy the colorful artwork while learning Spanish words sprinkled throughout the text.

The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola tells the story of Lucida, a little girl in Mexico who wants to bring the baby Jesus a special gift for her village’s Christmas procession. When her plans to make a blanket fall through, she is left to gather what little she has around her to find a gift. As her simple gift of weeds transforms into beautiful red flowers, she learns that the thought behind the gift is what makes it special. Check out my previous post on this book here, for fun activities to pair with it!

A Stork in a Baobab Tree: An African 12 Days of Christmas by Catherine House reworks the classic Christmas carol “Twelve Days of Christmas” to show the Christmas season throughout Africa. The beautiful illustrations include tidbits of information on activities, homes, and holidays in different countries in Africa. This book is sure to entertain and inform kids both young and old.

There are so many wonderful stories from countries celebrating Christmas around the world. Why not introduce your children to different traditions from around the globe, and perhaps find some new family traditions in the process? What are some of your family traditions from different countries?


 

 

58 Comments

  • Kiana

    December 19, 2016 at 8:59 am Reply

    As a teacher, I am loving the diversity presented on this list. I will be checking a few of these out.

    • Vicki

      December 19, 2016 at 1:14 pm Reply

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy them!

  • Belle

    December 19, 2016 at 9:32 am Reply

    These are all great books! I’d love to get these for the kids!

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

    • Vicki

      December 19, 2016 at 1:12 pm Reply

      Thanks! I hope you like them!

  • Jessica Peresta

    December 19, 2016 at 10:22 am Reply

    What a great list! I love finding new books I’ve never heard of before!

    • Vicki

      December 19, 2016 at 1:16 pm Reply

      Thank you! Me too!

  • Kathy Minas

    December 19, 2016 at 2:51 pm Reply

    So many of these titles are new to me! Can’t wait to check them out. Thank you for sharing.

    • Vicki

      December 19, 2016 at 11:52 pm Reply

      I’m so glad! I hope you enjoy them!

  • Kate Payne

    December 19, 2016 at 3:37 pm Reply

    Great suggestions! I’m going to have to check these out especially the German one since my hubby is German!

    • Vicki

      December 19, 2016 at 11:53 pm Reply

      Thank you! We have German in our background too! I have always wanted to travel there for Christmastime!

  • Lisa Sell

    December 19, 2016 at 3:45 pm Reply

    What a diverse and wonderful selection of books! These would be great both as a fun read and culturally educational. Great post.

    • Vicki

      December 19, 2016 at 11:54 pm Reply

      Thank you! I used a few of these when I was student teaching and I did a unit on Christmas Around the World. The kids loved it!

  • Divine Mwimba

    December 19, 2016 at 4:03 pm Reply

    Yes and I am from Africa and we have own special way of celebrating it as well.

    • Vicki

      December 19, 2016 at 11:59 pm Reply

      That is awesome! What traditions do you have?

  • Kandja Sylla

    December 19, 2016 at 4:30 pm Reply

    How I wish I’m a kid again! These books will surely be enjoyed by any child or kid at heart. Perfect gift for any child–very educational and can make new traditions. Great post! xx

    http://www.prettyweirdbombshell.com/affordable-coats-under-50/

    • Vicki

      December 19, 2016 at 11:54 pm Reply

      Thank you! I love giving books as gifts!

  • Leah

    December 19, 2016 at 4:53 pm Reply

    Love this list! Pinned it for future reference. I collect Christmas books.

    • Vicki

      December 19, 2016 at 11:56 pm Reply

      Thank you! I hope you find some new favorites on here!

  • Ada

    December 19, 2016 at 5:03 pm Reply

    What a great post! I love learning all about Christmas celebration around the world ! Those books sounds so great !

    • Vicki

      December 19, 2016 at 11:56 pm Reply

      Thank you! I love it too! We have picked up some great new traditions!

  • Amie

    December 19, 2016 at 7:21 pm Reply

    That’s so great! I love finding new books to celebrate the holidays with!

    • Vicki

      December 19, 2016 at 11:57 pm Reply

      Thank you! I do too!

  • Andrea | Messy Nest Mama

    December 19, 2016 at 9:06 pm Reply

    This looks like a great list! I love the idea of finding new traditions from different cultures!

    • Vicki

      December 19, 2016 at 11:58 pm Reply

      Thank you! I love finding new traditions too!

  • Vivianna

    December 19, 2016 at 9:16 pm Reply

    I love this!

    • Vicki

      December 19, 2016 at 11:58 pm Reply

      Thank you!

  • Shannon

    December 20, 2016 at 12:08 am Reply

    Great way to teach kids about other traditions. We celebrate a traditional Swiss Christmas with the grandparents on the 24th with real candles on the tree?

    • Vicki

      December 20, 2016 at 1:52 pm Reply

      That’s awesome! I love the look of real candles on the tree, but my fireman husband would never allow it!

  • Dani Adams

    December 20, 2016 at 7:35 am Reply

    This is such a wonderful collection of books. I truly enjoy how they all tell a story from a different perspective and focused on other culture. My kids will adore these.

    • Vicki

      December 20, 2016 at 1:53 pm Reply

      I hope so! I love learning the different traditions!

  • Miri

    December 20, 2016 at 9:37 am Reply

    A Stork in a Baobab Tree: An African 12 Days of Christmas looks interesting to me!

    • Vicki

      December 20, 2016 at 1:54 pm Reply

      That was a new one for me!

  • Ashley | Spit Up and Sit Ups

    December 20, 2016 at 11:41 am Reply

    This is so cool! I need to check out that German book!

    • Vicki

      December 20, 2016 at 1:55 pm Reply

      I hope you enjoy it!

  • Bethany Edwards

    December 20, 2016 at 12:46 pm Reply

    After the past two years of being deployed in Africa, I am convinced they do the holiday best!:) The Stork in the Baobab Tree is a favorite of ours!

    • Vicki

      December 20, 2016 at 1:55 pm Reply

      That is awesome! I would love to learn more about the traditions there!

  • Angela Kim

    December 20, 2016 at 1:03 pm Reply

    I love these selections! Perfect for babies and kids

    • Vicki

      December 20, 2016 at 1:56 pm Reply

      Thank you!!

  • Dearlyndsey

    December 20, 2016 at 1:54 pm Reply

    This is a great list of books. I will be adding some of these to the list of must reads.

    • Vicki

      December 20, 2016 at 1:58 pm Reply

      Thanks! I hope you enjoy them!

  • Mary Barham

    December 20, 2016 at 3:19 pm Reply

    These are great books to read to the kids and also fit a little learning lesson in!!

    • Vicki

      December 20, 2016 at 3:20 pm Reply

      Thank you!

  • Lauren

    December 20, 2016 at 5:46 pm Reply

    I love book roundups!I havent heard of a lot of these, thanks for sharing!

    • Vicki

      December 20, 2016 at 9:16 pm Reply

      Thank you! I hope you find some new favorites!

  • Bridget Riepl

    December 20, 2016 at 10:06 pm Reply

    thanks! this is amazing and I am so happy to have these new ones to add to my list!

    • Vicki

      December 20, 2016 at 10:31 pm Reply

      I’m so glad! I hope you enjoy them!

  • Meg

    December 20, 2016 at 11:05 pm Reply

    Love these ideas. I have long loved Tommie de Paola’s books, but the others are new to me. I am pinning this and will have to get some of these for next year!

    • Vicki

      December 20, 2016 at 11:20 pm Reply

      Thanks! I hope you find some new favorites! I am a big Tomie dePaola fan (obviously, haha), and I love that he does all of these legends!

  • Christy

    December 20, 2016 at 11:54 pm Reply

    My son’s class just finished learning about several of these traditions! I had never heard of Nights of las Posadas. He would love reading a book about it!

    • Vicki

      December 21, 2016 at 2:08 pm Reply

      I hope he enjoys it! I love learning about all of the different traditions!

  • Nichole Snellgrove

    December 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm Reply

    I love all of these Christmas books! What a great concept to feature ones from all over the world!

    • Vicki

      December 21, 2016 at 2:11 pm Reply

      Thank you!

  • nicole steinthal

    December 23, 2016 at 9:36 am Reply

    Awesome book choices…there are so many great gifts on here as well. I might have to head over to the book store today!!!! XO

    • Vicki

      December 23, 2016 at 2:04 pm Reply

      Thanks! I love all the different traditions!

  • Lisa Lee

    December 23, 2016 at 8:28 pm Reply

    As a homeschool mom of 3 boys that LOVE to read, I adore this list! Thanks!! #fdflinkparty

    • Vicki

      December 23, 2016 at 9:45 pm Reply

      I’m glad! I hope they enjoy some of them!

  • Becca

    December 23, 2016 at 9:33 pm Reply

    This list is awesome! We are going to be homeschooling and I think these books would be really helpful!

    • Vicki

      December 23, 2016 at 9:46 pm Reply

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy them!

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