Look: Christmas Decorations Around the World

Take a world tour of how different countries prepare for Christmas

Trees covered in tinsel and baubles. Stockings hanging from the fireplace. Elaborate outdoor light displays popping up all over the neighborhood.

Christmas Tree Rc
Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center New York City

Think of decorating your home for Christmas and at least one of these traditions will likely spring to mind. Yet all over the world, countries celebrating Christmas have their own set of customs for decorating their homes for the holidays.

The Night of the Radishes in Mexico
The Night of the Radishes in Mexico (photo by Wikipedia Commons)

In Mexico, nativity-themed Christmas decorations are carved from radishes. In chilly Antarctica, fish heads hang in doorways to replace mistletoe. And in Ghana, palm trees decorated with candles replace traditional Christmas trees to suit the tropical climate.

As the festive season approaches, global real estate portal Lamudi takes you on a tour of Christmas decorations to be found in houses the world over.


In Africa, Christmas dinners after the church ceremony are prepared on tables out the front of homes, inviting people’s family and close friends to share a meal together. For this reason, outdoor decorations are more important than the interior. You may see fake snow decorating store fronts in Nairobi, oil palms loaded with bells in Liberia, or palm trees laden with candles in Ghana.

fake snow decorating store fronts in Nairobi
Fake snow decorating store fronts in Nairobi (photo courtesy of http://africatravelling.blogspot.com)

In Zimbabwe, Christmas is far from being a casual celebration. It is tradition for people to set up their biggest speakers in front of their house and play their favourite music as loud as they can. But don’t expect only Christmas tunes. You will likely hear everything from the latest pop tunes to more traditional African favourites.

Latin America

Christmas is the most important holiday of the year for most countries in Latin America. Cities are loaded with spectacular, colourful decorations, including lots of fairy lights. In Colombia, December 7 is Dia De Las Velitas (Day of the Little Candles) where the night is spent decorating all public spaces with paper lanterns and candles. Each household lights approximately 100 candles and places them outside their home in honour of the Virgin Mary.

Dia De Las Velitas
Dia De Las Velitas

On December 23, just before Christmas, farming folk in Mexico celebrate Noche de rábanos, or the Festival of the Radishes. They carve the vegetables into human figures, including those from nativity scenes. On Christmas Day, children can be found in Mexican living rooms attempting to and break apart decorated clay piñata using a stick – while blindfolded. Inside are small presents and sweets.


Because fir trees are not common in India, mango trees are often decorated instead. In addition, the whole house is decorated with mango leaves in order to brighten up homes. Large star-shaped paper lanterns are also very popular.

Parol by Eugene Villar via Wikipedia Commons
Parol by Eugene Villar via Wikipedia Commons

In the Philippines cities shine in colorful lights during Christmas. People decorate their homes with buntings, candles, and wreaths. It is traditionally made out of bamboo and paper and comes in various sizes and shapes, but generally the basic star pattern remains dominant.The parol is the main highlight of one of the biggest festivals in the country, the Giant Lantern Festival, which is held in San Fernando City in Pampanga. People also put numerous Christmas cards in the living room for family and friends.

But one of the most original Christmas traditions comes from Antarctica. With mistletoe being in seriously short supply, residents will often hang up a fish head instead.

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