Countries that Celebrate Christmas
Families also look forward to gingerbread houses and nutcrackers (Nussknacker) being prepared and displayed Father Christmas will come to deliver the presents in the late afternoon on December 24th after a church meeting. The presents will all be found under the tree. A member of the family rings a bell and calls everyone into the room to unwrap the gifts. On Christmas day, a large and festive meal is prepared. This may well include a fish or a goose and many other delicacies. The Christmas season is a time of festive foods and baked goods for Germans.
In Hungary, it is Uncle Mikulas who arrives on the 6th day of December. He arrives and he makes rounds in schools and stores much like the American Santa. This day is known as Mikulas Nap. There is also the custom for children to clean their shoes and place them outside the door before going to bed. For the ones who have been well behaved, candies and toys in small red bags are found in their shoes. For children who don’t behave, a little bundle of twigs or switches may be left for them.
The Christmas tree in Hungary is put up on the 24th of December and all of the family is involved. Tree decorations will include candles and sparklers and special holiday candies. These candies are called Szaloncukor and they are chocolate with marzipan and flavored jellies inside. These candies are placed in brightly colored red, green, or gold foil wrappers and have decorative ribbons and bows. Lights are not used outside or in the streets, but will be used inside a house for decoration.
Merry Christmas in Japan is Kurisumasu Omedeto. Christmas is a commercial time of celebration in Japan and it is not a holiday at all. There is a Santa Claus type figure that brings gifts to the boys and girls and he is called Hoteiosho. He is said to have eyes in the back of his head to watch children’s behavior and he has a giant sack filled with presents.