Different Christmas: there is 37 different Christmas celebrations in Wunderman

Different Christmas: there is 37 different Christmas celebrations in Wunderman

The end of the year is coming and so is Christmas, often called the feast of rest and peace. There are more than 507 people working in Wunderman in Prague, and do you know how many nationalities does our Wunderman team in Prague consist of? The answer is: 37!

That means 37 different Christmas traditions, habits, Christmas dinners and so on and so on. That’s why we couldn’t help and ask some of our colleagues how they celebrate Christmas in their country. The answers varied, so are you interested in how they celebrate in Ghana, Columbia, Italy or Belarus or in Oxford, for instance?

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Some colleagues told us how they celebrate in their countries.

Radka Carrion, HR Specialist: Traditionally, we fly to Spain at Christmas to the family of my husband. Christmas in Spain is about family, friends, fun and a lot of food. I haven’t experienced any traditional Christmas Eve dinner yet, there are always the best things that could have been bought and prepared on the table..there is usually even not enough place at the table for all of us 😊 My husband’s family has got everything shifted so my daughters were waiting for Father Christmas until 11 PM last year and I had to explain to them he had to fly over from Czech Republic. We have dinner just before midnight and then there’s only entertainment…dancing, cuba libre and singing😊

Continuing our journey to the traditions in various parts of the world, let’s have a look at Israel!

There is one official religion in Israel – judaism. This year is 5778. Jews don’t celebrate Christmas or New Year’s Eve, says our colleague Semion Bourakevich.

And how do people celebrate in Ghana? Our colleague Paul Ablorh shares their traditions with us:

In Ghana and most parts of Afrika, Christmas and New Year’s celebration mean a hope for future, harvest, fertility, happiness and peace. It’s the time of big celebrations – dancing, drumming, eating a lot of food, wearing new clothes, exchanging greetings.

Young people build traditional Christmas chalets or little houses where they gather at Christmas.

24 and 25 December are days when people eat and drink a lot. On 31 December people are awake until the new year starts, there are fires in strategic places and people dance around them. There is a special greeting Afi oo Afi (afishaapa) – happy new year.

Our next stop is…. Columbia!

Eduardo Escobar says: Columbia is mainly a catolic country, the Christmas celebrations start around 6 December with nine-days-prayers directed to the parents of Jesus in Bethlehem and it culminates with his birth on 24 December (Noche buena) and a family dinner. And 25 December is the day the son of God brings presents to children.

The end of the year means a celebration at night with food and a family dinner…and a lot of alcohol :D. In some places there is a tradition to offer a pig as a sacrifice and use the meat to prepare a meal together with neighbours.

Five minutes before the start of the new year is the time to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new one. Burning of dummies followed by a firework is very common. Another tradition is to eat 12 grape berries as every berry means one wish for each month.

And what’s next? Belarus!

Andrei Mychko will give us an understanding of it. Most residents of Belarus are orthodox Christians who celebrate Christmas after the New Year’s Day. On 31 December we have a festive dinner, we give each other in the family small presents and at 11:50 we watch the New Year’s speech of our president on TV, but we usually watch it because of the countdown before the new year starting at 11:59, and we wish a happy new year to each other during the last minute.

Christmas is also a family feast, in my family we traditionally visit the elders in our family, we go to the village where my grandma lives, there is always a gathering of many relatives there. We have a special lunch. It is a good tradition because almost all people from our big family gather in one place for this feast at my grandmother.

In Italy it is very similar to Czech Republic although there are a few different things there:

We decorate the Christmas tree in the beginning of December and keep it until the first week of January. We put presents under the tree and open them on 25 December after lunch, says Mattia Li Puma, our Campaign Execution Specialist.

 And how do people celebrate in Oxford? Nicholas Eglin, our copywriter for Shell and Amazon teams, told us a bit about British Christmas.

A Bit of an English Christmas

In England, Christmas is frequently a family affair, filled with food, presents, a message from the Queen, grandad snoring, television, and the odd drunken drama or three between lovers. We decorate our houses with spruce, pine, or fir trees, and hang mistletoe, holly, and ivy wherever we can. (Be careful when standing under mistletoe, because you HAVE TO kiss whoever else is standing under it with you. IT’S TRADITION!).

For the religious among us, Christmas Eve (which is the 24th of December) is a time to take to the streets and fill the night air with Christian songs. These songs are called carols, and the people who sing them are called carolers. The people who throw eggs at carolers are called heathen teenagers who have stolen their grandma’s bottle of Bailey’s for the first time. One religious habit which still captures the least religious among us is midnight mass. This is a Christmas service held in churches up and down the country in the middle of the night. It can be really quite beautiful – songs by candlelight, the smiles of strangers, a reminder to be kind – even if it’s usually freezing by the time it’s all over.

For those among us who don’t go to church, Christmas Eve is the last chance to go to an open pub, meet friends, and get smashed. We drink mulled wine, which is an infusion of cloves, cinnamon, orange, and a whole bunch of other stuff, with sweet red wine. And it’s hot. In some pubs, you might get the chance to roast chestnuts on an open fire. These nights can be a cathartic release for the trials of the year gone by – enemies joining hands, friends becoming enemies, everybody singing and dancing. It’s generally an evening of celebration before everybody retires to spend time with their families.

(Shhhh, be quiet, it’s the middle of the night. Right now, Father Christmas is climbing down chimneys and leaving presents under trees for children all around the world. We always leave a small snack of mince pies and milk (or something stronger) for him by the fireplace to help him on his journey).

Christmas Day (the 25th of December) is different for everybody in terms of schedule. Usually, kids run downstairs and try to open every present under the tree, which is probably why we have stockings. Stockings are large socks that are hung at the end of the bed, and are traditionally filled with small presents, (or lumps of black coal if you have been a bad child throughout the year). I sincerely hope there are no parents that have actually filled their children’s stockings with coal. Then, there is breakfast, which can be anything, but for adults it usually includes Buck’s Fizz, which is sparkling wine and orange juice. Yes, the drinking continues. We eat mince pies whenever we want, and lunch is usually the biggest meal of the day.

Christmas lunch is typically a roast turkey or goose, and an array of roasted vegetables, parsnips, potatoes, carrots, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. It’s a Christmas tradition to hate brussel sprouts, even if you like them, but we always cook them anyway. The most important food to remember is Pigs in Blankets – sausages wrapped in bacon.

A somewhat idiosyncratic Christmas tradition in England is the pulling of crackers at the lunch table. Yes, we’ve found a way to include explosions while we eat. A cracker looks like a large cartoon sweet in its wrapping. You hold one end, and someone else holds the other end, and you both pull. There is a small explosion and small gifts fall out of the cracker. These are usually paper hats, sewing kits, jokes on paper, or small knives. I know.

After lunch, depending on your family’s Christmas schedule, is present-opening time. We all exchange presents and open them, thank each other, have some drinks, and settle down to watch the Queen’s message. Every Christmas at around 3pm, the Queen of England appears on the television and gives a small speech about the year just past and the future ahead. It’s one of the only opportunities most English people have to hear her majesty speak.

Around 4pm, people settle down to watch films, go back to the lunch table, or go to sleep wherever they happen to be sitting at the time. Some families play games together, like charades (you can look it up). This is usually when the Christmas schedule becomes a distant memory, and people feel the effects of mass consumption from the previous few days.

The day after Christmas Day (the 26th of December) is called Boxing Day. Traditionally, this would be the day when families gave presents to the service workers that orbited their lives – like postal workers, milk deliverers, window cleaners, etc. We would box up things from Christmas Day and give them away on Boxing Day. I think this tradition has faded a little, but that’s where the name comes from. Boxing Day is like an even sleepier Christmas Day. We make all the leftover Christmas Day food into sandwiches and soup, watch more television, and just enjoy being with family.

Then, depending on work, we slowly prepare for New Year, which is a whole other story …I’m Nicholas from Oxford, England, and sometimes my Christmases were a bit like that.

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