International Team - International Christmas
It is not a breaking news that Christmas time is one of the best seasons for all marketing sector, both big and small business. Sales indices go up, all marketers want to take advantage of this time to increase the results. There are more new ideas how to use Christmas to improve marketing rates. I´m sure that you can find a lot of tips like this in almost every blog that you subscribed. Because of that we decided this year to not repeat the same scema as everybody else and look at Holidays period from the other perspective.
Besides the marketing view, Christmas is a time to open up and get closer to the people. We also want to open up more and share how our team spends these special days. In the office you could feel the Christmas atmosphere already since begining of December.
Our office is really international so it will be interesting to make a review of the some countries where our team members spend their Holidays in their home.
In France, the Christmas meal is very important. On the evening of the 24th (meal of Christmas Eve), and on the 25th (at lunch), we have as a tradition to eat with our family.
We usually eat shellfish (prawns, langoustines etc.), oysters, foie gras with bread, a good wine and for dessert we eat the Yule log, tipical French christmas cake that looks like log.
On the evening of the 24th, we put our slippers around the Christmas tree so that during the night Santa Claus can fill them with chocolate. And of course all family is together around the Christmas tree so that each one of us can find its gifts!
Italians really feel the Christmas atmosphere since late November, but the Christmas season officially starts on December 8th, the Day of Immaculate Conception when everybody build up the Christmas tree!
Christmas day and Christmas Eve (Vigilia di Natale) are celebrated in different ways all over the country, depending on where you are. Some Italians start celebrating with a nice dinner on December 24th, while others prefer a light meal and wait for a huge Christmas lunch, the day after.
What is sure is that everybody will make a “cin-cin” with a glass of spumante, a slice of panettone and pandoro, and will open up the presents! Children, excited by Santa’s arrival, prepare a glass of milk, nuts and a slice of Christmas cake under the tree to thank Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) for the gifts!
For Italians Christmas is the perfect occasion to meet up with your family, sit around the table — trust me, almost all day long — and enjoy a delicious and exquisite menu!
Tha way that you spend Christmas in Spain, what you eat and drink depend mostly on the region where you are. There are 17 Spanish regions (Comunidad Autonomas) and all of them have their own traditions. Beside the traditional Christmas Eve Dinner and big Christmas lunch with family, what is most common for all Spain is that making plastic nativity scene (belén) is as popular as decorating a christmas three (or even more!). The day when children receive the biggest presenst brought by Three Kings is 6th of Januare. On 24th od December Santa Claus (Papa Noel) brings some smaller gifts, mostly sweets.
As our agency is in Barcelona, catalan traditions are the closest for us. The most specific tradition in Catalunya is Tió de Nadal (Cristmas Log) that brings presenst on 24th of December instead of Santa Claus. "Brings" is not a quite correct word because el Tió actually defecate presents. It is a really log that children keep in their home or in the school, they cover it by blanket to keep it worm and give coockies and milk during month of December. On 24th of December kids hit the log with wooden sticks to help it defecate and then find some gifrts under the blanked.
Another interesting tradition is to put Caganers in the Nativity scene. Caganers are small figurines that originally represented the shepherds in the act of shitting. Nowaday you can buy figurines that represent also famous people even from the politic world.
Ukraine is mainly an orthodox country, thus Christmas is celebrated according to the Julian calendar on the 7th of January instead of the 25th of December. During the Soviet era with its atheist views, Christianity and religious holidays were viewed as something archaic and redundant, so the main celebration of the year became the New Year. Even after more than 20 years after the end of the Soviet era Christmas remains a less popular holiday today. Though if you look at the way Ukrainians celebrate the New Year´s Eve you will see that it is pretty similar to what other countries do for Christmas. For example instead of Christmas Tree or Santa Claus who brings kids presents for Christmas in Ukraine you will find New Year Tree and Ded Moroz (Old Man Frost) doing the same for the New Year, etc.
Although Christmas is not a big holiday in Ukraine (at least not in the Eastern Ukraine) there are still some things that are commonly done during this holiday. For example children go to grand- and godparents to recite some Christmas poems and get pocket money for doing it. That used to be my favorite part about Christmas. Later families gather for the Christmas dinner where we are supposed to eat 12 dishes, but I don’t think people follow that rule nowadays. Altogether Christmas in Ukraine is an excuse for families to gather and have a quiet dinner together.
First of all in Poland you start to celebrate Christmas at the evening - 24th of December till the end of 26th, it means special breakfasts, lunch meals and dinners all time long.
The Christmas tree in Polish house is usually alive one with wonderful forest smell. Polish people start to celebrate Christmas when they see the first star on the sky, it is the moment in which whole family sits to eat together Christmas Eve dinner which contains 12 vegetarian dishes (you have to eat them all). They wish each other Merry Christmas sharing an OpÅ‚atek (hostia) with all members of family.
One of traditional dishes is carp that some people buy still alive some days before Cristmas, keep it in the bath and kill it before the Christmas Eve Dinner.
After the dinner they open presents which during the dinner an Angel or Child Jesus or Star (depend on region of Poland) brings under the Christmas tree. Then Catholics participate in the Midnight Mass at 12pm.
Christmas time is dedicated to family to spend it all together while celebrating around the table or doing some activities. It is not well seen to go out with friends or focused on personal activities.
Many Brazilian Christmas traditions come from Portugal. Nativity Scenes, known as Presépio are very popular. They are set-up in churches and homes through all December.
Christmas plays called 'Os Pastores' (The Shepherds) are also popular. In the Brazilian versions of the play, there's also traditionally a shepherdess and also a woman who tries to steal the baby Jesus!
Some people, especially Catholics, go to a Midnight Mass service called Missa do Galo (Mass of the Roster). The Missa normally finishes around 1.00am. After the Missa do Gallo there are often big firework displays and in big cities there are big Christmas Trees with electric lights.
The New Year’s Eve in Brazil is best celebrated by the beaches, under the sky, when summer temperatures are at its peak. Many people dress in white clothes and go near the sea, to bath and bring flowers and offering to Iemanjá, the goddess of waters and queen of the seas in the brazilian-african religion Umbanda.
There are many Christmas traditions in Venezuela that vary by the regions.
Generally the most important part is the family celebration with the Christmas dinner with traditional dishes such as Hallacas, Jamón bread, Chicken Salad, and the traditional baked meat. During the dinner it´s normal to drink wine, but before this there is a tradition to drink a lot whiskey. The christmas dinner is celebrated on 24th of December and the same night, or day after (it depends on the region), the child Jesus bring the presents.
On New Year´s Eve, according to tradition you have to eat 12 grapes and go out to the street in front of your house or block with suitcases that should ensure traveling and prosperity for the new year. It´s also important to wear new cloths, and yellow underwear that also should bring prosperity in the New Year. Rest of the night Venezuelan people listen christmas music called gaitas, and drink a lot.
As we can see, it doesn´t matter if you spend Holidays in West or East Europe or even in South America, all over the world the most important factor is sharing time with other people.
Members of international team exchange different experiance, learn from each other and expand their horizons not only during the Christmas Hilidays. The advantage of this is more variety, diversity, open mindness and creativity.