Christmas Eve and Christmas traditions

Hello Everybody!

I hope you’re all well and looking forward to the festive period. This post has nothing to do with learning Welsh (although some vocab may pop up)

Someone Emma works with is going back to Sardinia to spend Christmas with her Family and her daughter’s fiancé’s family. Apparently their tradition is meat on Christmas Eve and then Lobster on Christmas Day. This reminded me of when I lived in France, they have shell fish on Christmas Eve and tend to do most of their celebrating on Christmas Eve.

My parents were both raised as Catholics so Midnight Mass was a big part of their traditions. I was just wondering if you had any local traditions you’d be happy to share? :slight_smile:

Nadolig Llawen!


Here in yr Almaen (Germany), the main celebrations and the gift-giving are on the 24th, typically around 6pm. This is called “Heiligabend” (holy evening). In my family we tend to have some “simpler” food on Heiligabend, which can be easily prepared in advance and then heated up, such as potato salad and sausages. The main feast in our family then happens on Christmas Day at lunch time, when the family gets together for a more involved meal, usually with three courses.

Fröhliche Weihnachten! :slight_smile:


A friend from Sweden told me that they would have their big meal on Christmas Eve (I think she said a ham and traditional potato dish) and then spend all day Christmas Day out ice-skating! There was some fish involved too - can’t remember if it was before or after the ice-skating!

I love hearing about others traditions. I like the sound of the custom in parts of Wales of waiting up all night for an early morning plygain service, and making toffee. I don’t know if it would work for me though - I’m not very good at staying up all night!


I was part of a generation of (English) Catholics for whom midnight mass was an important part of Christmas.

Then in the morning, a late breakfast and present-exchange, and eventually a fairly late “lunch” extending into dinner/tea time. Watching the queen’s Christmas broadcast at 3pm(?) was more or less obligatory when I was growing up. (much less so now!!).

However, I think most churches now have brought “midnight” mass forward to the evening, so the magic of the midnight service has gone. Seems slightly sad, but as I no longer practice, it doesn’t affect me personally.


When I was kid in the Rhondda in the 1940s, the tradition was that we only went carol singing on Boxing Day morning.

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Look for Customs thread and in Mari Llwd or Mari Lwyd for tradition, once common on Gower, not seen for years there, but seemingly happening elsewhere. The Gower version was a bit threatening, “Give us food, drink and coin or ELSE!.” I think. And a horse’s skull isn’t a friendly thing to invite indoors, but I think the modern revivals are friendly. This was a New Year event on Gower back when!

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That reminds me - my dad had a record (78rpm) of Phil Tanner singing The Gower Wassail Song. I think it ended rather pointedly -
“And if we should live to another new year
Perhaps we may call and see who do live here.”

On the other side was mouth music - a rousing tune but with nonsense words.

I haven’t thought of that for over 50 years.



When we lived in Bath and I was old enough to stay up, we would go to the midnight service (not mass, but Higher C of E so still formal and rather grand). Every year we would go dressed up - bikers, fairies, ayyb. To keep ourselves awake we would put on a ghostly film until the appointed hour. The Innocents, or Whistle and I’ll Come To You, or something like.
There is something really magical about wondering about a Georgian city following the sound of bells late at night. Not so keen now that I live in a field, mind! Christmas Eve is a cosier (and more secular) affair!
Not a tradition in the oldest sense, but it was part of our Christmas rhythm.


My Mum and Dad’s Christmas ritual is always a fried breakfast with the Chieftains “The Bells of Dublin” playing. Then bucksfizz and presents. My Dad also tends to don a bright shirt, bow tie and waistcoat with some kind of Christmas hat and makes the same joke about working for the National Elf Service.


In our Methodist Church we had one service on Christmas morning, a bit earlier than our usual 11.00 a.m., but not at night. So most of us also went to the Midnight service in the Church in Wales (Anglican). Walking back was fun because we all walked together! (OK, if weather terrible, cars were used but. for years, the church was short of a car park and habits stick!). They used to come to our service too. Of course, back when ne’er the twain… but in my day, all were friends. I remember one Church welcoming me to preach for the Women’s World Day of Prayer with great delight from the Rector who insisted on putting me in their ‘book of visiting preachers’ and enthused that, “One day we may even have women ordained in the Anglican Communion!” I often think of him since now, they have Women Bishops! (My lot still are very anti- Bishops and really that was an accidental result of John Wesley’s certainty that Methodists were really Anglicans and would be seen as such ‘soon’!)