The long wait is finally over! Time to get the Christmas cookies out of the oven and those last presents wrapped! We hope you all have some wonderful, tranquil days and special moments with your loved ones.

The Pickmotion team has already left the office. Some of us even the country! As our team is so international, we would like to spread some festive cheer, sharing some of our Christmas traditions with you – traditions from all over Europe.

Ana, celebrating in: Romania

To Ana, a very pronounced part of the Christmas spirit is carol singing. The Romanian children start going from house to house around a week before Christmas, singing and receiving sweets, fruits or nuts in exchange. In smaller villages, young people dress up as animals like bears or goats. They sing and make a lot of noice to scare away the evil spirits. They also receive sweet bread, money or shots from their neighbours. Singing or reciting poems is also part of the celebration itself as children do so in order to get their presents. They also write long letters to Santa in which they state their wishes.

Maria, celebrating in: Portugal

Most traditions Maria was talking about revolved around food – and we enjoyed learning something delicious about Portuguese Christmas. There is very specific food that she and her familiy traditionally have for Christmas! They have sun-dried, boiled codfish (“the Portugese way”) mixed with potatoes, cabbage (“nabiça”), corn bread and olive oil for dinner. For dessert, they have “king cake” – similar to the German Christstollen or the Italian Panettone but more fruity. Apart from the food, Maria and her family exchange presents on Christmas Eve, watch the movie “Sound of music” and sometimes play boardgames like Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit. Also, their ceramic crip is traditionally part of Christmas.

Eszter, celebrating in: Hungary

In Hungary, it’s not Santa Claus bringing the presents but Baby Jesus. Traditionally, the fathers decorate the Christmas tree on the 24th of December while the children aren’t at home but instead, for example, gone to church where they watch the nativity play. Eszter already lived in several European countries and thus has experienced very different Christmas traditions. For a while, she lived in Italy, where the traditional Christmas food is Panettone (a sweet bread loaf, sometimes with dried or candied fruit) and presents are given on the 6th of January, and also in Spain, where people go clubbing on Christmas Eve and New Year’s is to many the more important holiday.

Patrice, celebrating in: Russia

In Russia, Christmas is celebrated on New Year’s when „Ded Moroz“ – a figure similar to Jack Frost – comes and brings presents. The church festival is celebrated on the 6th of January in the families. This is when traditions like the pouring of molten lead happen to predict what’s going to happen in the new year.

Christin, celebrating in: Germany

When she was little, an important part of the Advent season for Christin and her older sister was the set up of their crip. On Christmas Eve, they used to sing or play the flute, sometimes they even performed little plays or recited poems. A tradition that stayed even now that they are grown up, is their little ceremony of unwrapping gifts: One person starts (either the eldest or youngest) unwrapping and then decides on the next lucky guy who chooses yet the next one and so forth. Christin and her family also always have Raclette for dinner on Christmas Eve ever since she can remember.

Marta, celebrating in: Slovakia

Marta and her family set up their Christmas tree on the 24th of December. Afterwards, they visit other parts of the family to exchange their Christmas wishes. These are, however, not as sincere and festive as you would imagine but rather fun and creative. A tradition that has been in the family since a long time! In the evening, they cook, pray and eat together and then sit together, talking and playing some games.

With all these stories and traditions shared, there is only one thing left to say: Merry Christmas!