We are now well into Autumn and the nights are drawing in, meaning that Winter is approaching fast – if you haven’t already, you will soon be thinking of Christmas and everything that comes with it. For all the children of course, the main concern will be one particular visitor who they will be hoping to receive a visit from on Christmas eve! Making sure that they hang a stocking, leave a mince pie out and a carrot for the reindeer, and possibly even making sure that roofing company Cheltenham based hempstedroofing have repaired any problems with the roof before Santa Claus lands there on Christmas Eve! Although he travels around the world in one night, Father Christmas doesn’t encounter the same festive traditions in every country.

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In France, Pere Noel fills a shoe rather than a stocking on Christmas Eve, and sweets and toys will also be hung on the tree for them to find. Often, gifts are received after visiting Mass on Christmas Eve, and in the evening, the family enjoy the main Christmas meal. Nativity scenes are very popular in France, and most homes will have one as decoration over the festive period.

In Greece, Christmas trees are very popular, as is the singing of Carols. Father Christmas is known as Aghios Vassilis (Saint Basil). Christmas Eve in Greece is the time for children to go and sing carols in the streets, some play instruments and some sing, and they carry a decorated boat with them, which is one of the oldest Greek Christmas traditions.

In Germany, Father Christmas is known as der Weihnachtsmann and will see many similar sights as he does in Britain as many of our traditions and customs come from Germany. Singing Carols, Christmas trees and advent calendars are all traditional German celebrations of Christmas. In Germany, children often hope for gifts from St Nicholas on December 6th to place gifts in the shoes of children. A more sinister character who accompanies St Nicholas is a horned monster known as the Krampus and he comes to punish the bad children!

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In Russia, Christmas was banned in the days of the Soviet Union, with more emphasis being put on New Year celebrations, but in 1991, people were able to start celebrating it again. In Russia, they will celebrate on Christmas Eve with a feast – many will not begin to eat this until the first star has appeared in the sky. There are many Russian Christmas stories, including the story of Babushka and Grandfather Frost.