Christmas is known as the most wonderful time of the year for a reason: because it’s incredible wherever you get to spend it. If you’re hoping to spend Christmas abroad in the near future, then we’ve got you covered today! In this post, we’re delving into how you can spend the festive season in Italy, France, England and Spain.
Italy’s Christmas celebrations begin on December 8th right through until January 6th, so you can have almost an entire month to celebrate the festive season if you like! It’s important to note that the most important date in Italy’s Christmas calendar is Christmas Eve, also known as la Vigilia. On this day, the Italians avoid eating meat or fish, in order to prepare their bodies for the following day. In the evening, it’s tradition to attend midnight Christmas mass. On Christmas Day, a large all-day lunch with multiple different courses is held, featuring numerous traditional Italian dishes like lasagne, panettone and pasta in brodo. If you’ll be in Italy for Christmas, check out our range of tours.
In France, the feast of St. Nicholas falls on December 6th, which is a common day for giving Christmas gifts to children in the north. In other parts of France, gifts are exchanged on Christmas Day itself, or alternatively on January 6th, the Feast of the Kings. The main Christmas meal in France is called Réveillon and is eaten on Christmas Eve, both before and after midnight mass. It tends to include roast turkey or goose, venison, oysters, chestnuts, foie gras, lobster, and a variety of cheeses. In terms of dessert, the usual is a chocolate sponge cake called bûche de Noël, but there can be up to 13 at a Christmas meal. Yes, you read that right, 13! Anyone have a sweet tooth? We think we’ll be spending Christmas in France for the foreseeable future! Be sure to check out our selection of Paris tours.
Christmas in England is all about spending time with families and loved ones: pulling crackers, munching on mince pies and the best dinner of the year on Christmas Day. Fun fact: mince pies aren’t actually made from literal mincemeat but rather stewed fruit and plenty of alcohol. Because if any time is the right time to indulge, it’s Christmas! The festive season is a time of hanging stockings by the fireplace and enjoying the feast of all feasts on December 25th. Think turkey, ham, stuffing, gravy, Yorkshire puddings, vegetables and every kind of potato you can think of. After that, it’s essentially time to sleep off the food coma in a comfy chair by the fire as you watch Harry Potter or Titanic on the TV. The most wholesome of wholesome days, don’t you agree? If you happen to be in the UK during Christmas, make sure to check out our London tours.
In Spain, Christmas Eve is known as Nochebuona and midnight mass is also named ‘La Misa Del Gallo’. In Spain, Beléns (meaning Bethlehem) are very common during the festive season. They’re elaborate nativity scenes that are set up on display in homes, public squares or shop windows. El Gordo is Spain’s Christmas lottery, translating to the ‘Fat One’ due to the large amounts of money that can potentially be won. The Christmas meal is usually eaten on Christmas Eve before midnight mass, and usually consists of seafood, desserts and sweets. There’s also some fun to be had after Christmas in Spain, as December 28th is Dia de los Santos Inocentes, which is the Spanish equivalent of April Fool’s Day. Don’t forget about our tours in Barcelona!