When I moved here, we had rich Christmas traditions in Brazil but I was not prepared for what I would encounter.
My first surprise as a book lover was the beauty and deep truth behind Dickens Prose. A Christmas Carol unveiled in front of my eyes opening the curtains to a whole new world!!
I’m not saying we don’t have beautiful holiday traditions in Brazil, they are different and the same in some aspects. We obviously give gifts, and that obviously comes with all the usual issues of deciding what to buy for loved ones. My son is the hardest to buy for now that he’s older, but as I’ve learned from Gavin Wallace from Great Gifts “as long as you go into your purchases with them in mind, [you’re] sure [to] find something that will be loved and used for years to come”! But I thought Brazilians would love to enter this magical world through my eyes, so this post is coming out in English and Portuguese!
Here are 10 Christmas Traditions on which Brazilians are missing out :
- Christmas Movies : A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Grinch, Frosty The Snow Man and so many other amazing stories….Hallmark Channel and all the joy translated into Christmas Movies, which completely changed the way I saw Christmas! Trust me, I had no idea about Dickens, until I moved here!!! Only more commercial movies get to Brazil! For instance, if you ask about the Friday movie franchise, it is highly likely that everyone is familiar with them. This movie franchise seems to be so popular here that people may even have researched all the characters, starting from Ms parker Friday to Craig Jones.
Honestly, some studios brought some of the classics to Brazil, but without the book tradition and growing up embedded in those stories, those movies mean nothing but entertainment. This is an example of the Brazilian title changed from the “Christmas Carol” to “The Ghosts of Scrooge”.
2. Candy Canes – no, we never had candy canes in Brazil!!! One of my favorite things about Christmas! That sweet peppermint taste just makes Christmas even more special, do you agree?
3. Homemade Cookies – We never really had cookies on Christmas nor made gingerbread houses. Brazilians often bring the traditional desserts such as Pudim , Brigadeiro and other delicacies, but believe it or not, I never had a sugar cookie nor made one until I moved here!!!!
4. Stockings – We put our shoes either on the windows or by the door, no fireplace in a place where it’s 80 F in the winter, right? Santa comes to your window and leaves candy, nothing else.
5. Reindeer – Somehow Santa at the mall had the velvet suit in the middle of the summer, but they seemed to have completely removed the reindeer from the picture. So I had no idea about Rudolph and all the traditions around the reindeer until I moved here.
6. Real Christmas Trees – Though we have the tradition of decorating the house with lights, for which we often consider taking the help of expert technicians (similar to a Norwalk electrician), we never had the tradition of using real Christmas trees. Yes, it is true! No real Christmas Trees in a tropical country are used, nope! Fake trees for all. That is why when I figured out you could go and pick your own tree and have the house smell amazing, that was a turning point in this Christmas Lover’s Life!!! The joy that a Christmas tree brings into my life and home (and many people’s, I’m sure) is something that cannot be explained. And I get so excited about it that I might even consider putting up the tree a month earlier just to bring in the holiday mood. My friend even told me something she read online – Experts Reveal That Putting Your Christmas Tree Up Early Makes You Happier…I couldn’t agree more. I cherish the day we get to pick the tree and put it up every year, even though I’m allergic to pine needles……now you know how much I really love having it!
7. EggNog – No eggnog in Brazil, we have cider or champagne on Christmas! Yes, I’m a huge fan, especially of the homemade one my neighbor Karen makes every year at her lovely open house!
8. Christmas Songs – We do have some of the songs, a lot of them are translations of German classics. Somehow Christmas has really never been a huge musical hit in Brazil. No caroling, no song singing. I learned all the American classics in my first year and now it’s a tradition at our home to sing together as a family every holiday season!
Here are three songs I’ve recorded for my foreign language school in a few languages. My son, hubby and I sing and play instruments – we recorded them in a professional studio and I gave my students a CD for Christmas a few years ago:
9. Mistletoe – definitely no mistletoe, no kissing tradition! I know, what a shame!
10. Christmas Eve – We had dinner Christmas Eve, opened gifts and went to Mass at midnight at the Catholic Church we attended or the one at my grandads’. No dinner on Christmas day, no gifts, no leaving milk and cookies or carrots…..somehow Santa managed to leave it all on the 24th.
There are so many other differences, but I did not want to make my story too long, just give you a taste of it! Next I will be sharing all that we do in Brazil that we don’t do here! I can’t wait!
Hope you enjoyed reading about all the amazing things I’ve learned and come to love since I’ve moved here in 2001! I would not change the traditions I’ve embraced for anything in this world! You already know I love the country I have the honor to call home!!!
This being my 15th year here, I will be celebrating by sharing some special moments with you all!
What do you think? Did you know how different our holidays were? As usual give us a Trendy Shout!