Holidays Around the World

By: Sean K. Thompson
| Published 11/12/2021


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- One sure-fire way to realize that the holidays are upon us is the appearance of Santa Claus into the yearly zeitgeist. Right on schedule, jolly old Saint Nick today landed his sled on the roof of The Woodlands Mall, and is set up in his little nook of the common areas in the mall to entertain and regale children and learn what they want for their special holiday.

A sampling of how some other countries celebrate the season

(FUN FACT: The current version of Santa Claus that we all know and recognize on sight - red fur-lined suit and all - is based on a 1930s Coca-Cola advertising campaign.)

This year, you can set up your reservation to get the kiddos’ photos taken with Santa by clicking here.

Now, while we here in The Woodlands area have our holiday traditions down pat, Woodlands Online wants to give you a peek into how other countries and cultures celebrate the season.

Down Under, the holiday season lands in the middle of the Australian summer. Christmas is normally celebrated in the usual manner – decorating trees, giving gifts, and visits from either Santa Claus or Swag Man (the latter with his team of dingoes), but mixed in with this is surfing and sunbathing.

Brazil has holiday customs that originate from its heritage as a former Portuguese colony. Presépios, or nativity scenes, are set up all over in homes, churches, yards and public areas. The people of northern Brazil enjoy a version of the folk play “Los Pastores”. Papa Noel visits the children, but he comes from Greenland and wears silk clothing to beat the Brazilian summer heat.

In China, the main winter festival is the New Year (now officially called the “Spring Festival”), which takes place at the end of January and is a time where children receive new clothing and toys, enjoy fireworks and remember their ancestors.

The main feast is celebrated at midnight Christmas Eve, where everyone looks forward to a dessert where a special rice pudding is served. Inside is a single almond, and whoever finds it will have good luck for the coming year. The bringer of gifts is known as Julemandan and is assisted by attic-dwelling elves called Juul Nisse.

The Netherlands
Here, St. Nicholas is known as Sinterklaas. Dutch children are told that he sails from Spain on his feast day, December 5. They fill their shoes with hay and sugar for his horse and awake to find them filled with nuts and candy.

Christmas is a public holiday that is widely celebrated. The famous shopping belt on Orchard Road features the Christmas light-up and other activities such as caroling, concerts and parades. Like much of the rest of the world, the home celebrations include a feast on Christmas Eve and opening presents the next morning.

Woodlands Online wishes a safe holiday season to all. No matter where in the world you live or how you celebrate the season, we hope you have a wonderful holiday time of the year, and we look forward to a brand new year of successes and prosperity.

(Photo credit: By Jonathan Meath - Jonathan Meath, CC BY-SA 2.5,

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