Only one more sleep until Christmas! Have you ever wondered how Christmas is celebrated in different countries? Every country and culture celebrates Christmas differently. Some celebrate the festive period in a specific way, while others don’t celebrate this holiday at all! Here are my experiences of celebrating Christmas back home in the Czech Republic.
Christmas to me means being together with my loved ones and family. Being an international student can be quite difficult during this time of the year, since not all students get home for Christmas.
However, you can still enjoy Christmas in the UK and celebrate it with some students that may be staying as well. I have friends who went for a very nice meal and to the cinema and then had Christmas later in January again. Therefore, there is always an alternative for you to have magical time during the winter period.
Christmas day in Czech Republic vs. England
This is where the main differences appear. In Czech we celebrate Christmas on 24th of December, meaning you have both dinner and presents on the same day (I know, much better, because who can wait till next morning?). Whereas in England you have Christmas dinner and unwrap your gifts on the 25th.
For us, the following day is all about visiting grandparents, giving and receiving even more gifts and eating till you have to unzip your trousers and change into pyjamas, so you can continue eating (the diet starts in January, right?).
The Christmas meal differs a lot from what I am used to in the UK. At home we start with cutting an apple into halves, if there is a star in the core everyone takes a bite and then we start with the meal. First, we have a fish soup followed by a fried carp covered in breadcrumbs served with cold potato salad (don’t ask why fish is twice in the menu when we are not even surrounded by the sea). In the end we eat some Christmas candy our moms or grandmothers have made.
Whereas, we don’t have Christmas crackers or turkey and there is no gravy on our table (yes, you heard me, NO gravy). Nevertheless, every family celebrates Christmas differently and it is up to everyone’s preferences. But I enjoy both types of typical dinners and would like to experience and try even more culturally different Christmas meals (goes straight to my TO DO list).
Doing something nice for others
Me and my mom would go to pets shelter on Christmas day, pet the animals there, bring some treats, food, warm blankets and toys for them. Seeing those grateful animals fill your heart with love and warmth is something you need to do at least once a year. Find a local charity or shelter and give someone a merry little Christmas.
It’s always good to think of others, so have a think if there’s something in your home you can give away. If you are staying in Worcester or even if not, you can give away tinned food or food that would have expired by the time you are back to Worcester food bank.
After all, it doesn’t matter how you celebrate Christmas or who with. The main thing is that you relax a bit before the end of a busy semester and gain some well needed energy and do something nice for others. So Merry Christmas to you (or Veselé Vánoce as I’d say in Czech).
Loved this blog post? Read: 5 ways to help others this festive season