Celebrating Christmas around the world.

Christmas all over the worldMarilyn and I have been blessed and have travelled to a lot of different countries. It has been fascinating to see how things that we take for granted in our own country can appear so odd and are experienced so differently by our neighbours around the world.

Because of Christian House Sitters we have been able to enjoy Christmas in France (twice), Italy and the USA. In addition I grew up in South Africa and we now live in England.

In South Africa  Christmas is a summer holiday. In December, the southern summer brings glorious days of sunshine that carry an irresistible invitation to the beaches, the rivers, and the shaded mountain slopes. Then the South African holiday season reaches its height. Schools are closed, and camping is the order of the day. I remember how carollers made their rounds on Christmas Eve. Church services were held on Christmas morning. Christmas Eve celebrations in larger towns often include “Carols by Candlelight”. Homes were decorated with Christmas fir trees (often artificial and covered in fake snow)Roast Turkey Dinner

Many South Africans have a Christmas dinner in the open-air at mid-day, it is usually a traditional dinner of either turkey,  vegetables, and plum pudding, crackers and paper hats.

Often followed by a dip in the swimming pool.

When we moved to England there was hardly any difference except that it was mid-winter not summer so no need for fake snow and certainly no afternoon swim.

The first Christmas we spent in central France we were frustrated. We really battled to find a turkey. Christmas pudding and Christmas cake were unknown to the local supermarket. We did some research and found that the French make a traditional Yule log-shaped cake called the buche de Nol, which means “Christmas Log.” buche de Nol

The cake, among other food in great abundance is served at the grand feast of the season, which is called le reveillon which is a very late supper held after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The menu for the meal apparently varies according to regional culinary tradition. In Alsace, goose is the main course while the Parisians feast upon oysters.

Our Christmas in Italy was far from typical as we were staying high in the mountains and for 10 days could not leave the house because of a severe snow storm. So I read up on their Christmas traditions and discovered that On christmas Eve the dinner is called cenone which is a traditional dish of eel. Christmas lunch is Tortellini in Brodo which is filled pasta parcels in broth, also served is cappone which is boiled capon, or roasts are served in central Italy.Italian Christmas meal

Apparently in Italy the children wait until Epiphany, January 6, for their presents. According to tradition, the presents are delivered by a kind ugly witch called Befana on a broomstick. It was said that she was told by the three kings that the baby Jesus was born, she was busy and delayed visiting the baby. She missed the Star lost her way and has been flying around ever since, leaving presents at every house with children in case he is there. She slides down chimneys, and fills stockings and shoes with good things for good children and it is said leaves coal for children who are not so good.

Our American Christmas was fabulous with the traditional Christmas dinner of roast turkey with vegetables and sauces. For dessert it is rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. Mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit. Not unlike what we have back in England.

How do you celebrate your Christmas?

I am really interested to hear from people all over the world.

As you know we run Christian House Sitters for 2 reasons. Firstly it provides Christians all over the world with the opportunity to travel and experience other cultures. Staying in lovely homes rent-free. That is why we have been able to experience so many different international Christmases. Christian House Sitters also finds you someone reliable and responsible to look after your own home and pets while you are away. This is a free service.

The second reason for Christian House Sitters is to provide funds to run the Home of Peace Children’s Home in Kenya. We not only provide all their funds for food, accommodation, clothing, medical expenses and education but we are in daily contact and Marilyn ensures that the home is run properly and the money is used correctly. To read about it  CLICK HERE

Our involvement with this home brings home a couple of important biblical teachings. In Matthew 25: 41-45 we read “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’  “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

In James 1:27 it says: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress

Kenya 2010 051

As you enjoy your Christmas with the delicious food, exciting gifts and wonderful blessings will you take a moment to prayerfully ask if God would have you share something with these children. You can do so online at the bottom of the  Home of Peace News update webpage page CLICK HERE

God bless you and may your Christmas be filled with His love, peace and joy.


P.S. WordPress are adding adverts to blogs. Seems they are not always shown but if there are adverts on this page please note they were not placed by me, not approved by me and do not imply my recommendation.



Author: housesitters

ABOUT Christian House Sitters Christian House Sitters is a Worldwide ministry that started in order to provide holidays for Christians and sitters for owners who needed a reliable Christian to look after their home, pets and garden. House owners do not pay anything to have their property listed. House sitters are only charged £25 per year and in return for this some enjoy numerous holidays each year. All fees from membership go to sponsor food for children at the Home of Peace Children’s Home in Kenya. This only supplies about a quarter of what is needed to feed the children so we urgently need sponsors. All funds go via our Registered Charity TLC Children’s Trust Charity Number 1156786 website http://www.tlc-childrenstrust.org N.B. Joining Christian House Sitters does NOT commit you to sponsoring a child or giving any support beyond your membership fee to these children. Although naturally if you want to support that would be greatly appreciated. We have some regular sponsors and other people who give an occasional gift. All are greatly appreciated. ABOUT RAY & MARILYN We are Marilyn & Ray White. A fun loving Christian couple who have been in Christian work for over 30 years. Marilyn was born in England but moved to Zimbabwe as a baby. At the age of 16 she moved to South Africa. Ray was born in South Africa and grew up on a farm. We met in Johannesburg and got married in 1966. Ray worked in business for many years then he worked for YfC in South Africa then went on to Bible College and Pastored a church. In 1982 we moved from South Africa to England. In addition to his theological training Ray trained in Psychology and since moving to the UK he has lectured in Psychology, counselled for the NHS and opened a Christian Counselling Centre. Marilyn is also a trained counsellor and manager. In addition to the counselling we trained Christian counsellors both in our local area and by invitation in other areas of the UK. In total over 700 people completed the training courses. Many are serving the Lord by working in or through their local churches. We also ran a secular Stress Management business. We are now semi-retired and focus our time and attention on Christian House Sitters and Ray also serves as a member of our Church Leadership Team. Ray also has an active preaching ministry and runs Christian seminars on subjects such as stress management for church groups. He has written two books. A Christian book that is a very practical workbook on Christian commitment as applied to real life. The book looks at how we can surrender ourselves more fully to God. This is looked at under the headings of Physical, Mental, Social and Spiritual commitment. The book is called Let’s Get Serious. He has also written a secular book on Stress Management called Stress Overcoming this Potential Killer. (Ray was previously Chair of the International Stress Management Association UK). News Update This book has now been released as an e-book as well A few years ago we did a 2 month House Sit in France. Whilst there we felt the Lord leading us to set up a Christian House Sitting service. Since then we have done a number of other house sits. We believe this site will benefit many Christians around the world. Feel free to contact us (BUT please no spam) NOTE: If you want a fast reply the best way to contact us is via the contact page on the Christian House Sitters website www.christian-housesitters.com God bless you, Ray & Marilyn

2 thoughts on “Celebrating Christmas around the world.”

  1. This is very interesting, I have often wondered how different country’s celebrate Christmas. I hope through it all that the people realize that Jesus is the reason we have Christmas. God Bless You! Barb Stafford

    1. Thank you Barb,
      Your comment is an encouragement.
      As for the reason for Christmas I agree 100% but sadly so many people seen to focus on the more commercial aspects and forget without Christ there is no Christmas and no hope.
      God bless you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: