“Christmas around the World,” Liahona, December 2019
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? Bundling up for some outdoor family Christmas caroling? Sledding followed by hot cocoa? Going for a barbecue on the beach?
Despite what some holiday greeting card companies seem to portray, Christmas is celebrated in every climate, culture, and location—often without a hint of snow in sight or the faintest scent of a pine tree.
Here’s a look at some ways youth around the world celebrate the Savior’s birth.
“The month of December in my family represents unity. We love to live by following the example of Christ, and we always try to remind ourselves of the acts that He did for us and the many blessings that we have received. In our living room we have a picture of the Savior, surrounded by about 20 red hearts.
“When we get ready to open our presents at midnight, I look first at my family and then at the picture of Christ. I am proud to have His image in that room, and I am proud to be able to say to myself that what He wanted so much for my family is happening.
“I am planning on serving a full-time mission. These moments shared at Christmas give me even more desire to share the gospel with other people. With the gospel, Christmas has a whole different feeling. With the gospel, everything about Christmas is centered on Christ and on the family, and that brings me an even greater comfort.”
Myrium G., Paris, France
“In Bangalore, Christmas is widely celebrated. Everyone celebrates, be they Hindu, Muslim, or Christian. Many people decorate a Christmas tree and hang the star in their house.
“One tradition we follow in our family is to participate in the Light the World calendar provided by the Church. Also, my mom starts preparing cakes for my neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family. On Christmas Eve we invite all our family members to our home. We start our Christmas devotional at home at 10:30 p.m., and we sing hymns, read scriptures, watch some Christmas videos, and talk.
“We invite the small children to place the baby Jesus in the crib at midnight on the 25th of December. We wish ‘Merry Christmas’ to each of our family members, cut the cake, talk the whole night, and go to sleep late that day.
“How grateful are we to have Jesus Christ as a part of our lives. Through Him we find everlasting joy.”
Ankita K., Bangalore, India
“Christmas 2018 was my most beautiful Christmas. There was a feeling of togetherness and friendliness, and I got to participate in an event for refugees.
“I made red paper boots and taught those who were invited to the dinner to make them, to place one on each plate. Those invited to the evening brought backpacks filled with personal hygiene items so that they could be handed out on a Sunday.
“We watched a film about Christ with the refugees as part of the evening. It was a good Christmas to remember.”
Alexis L., Paris, France
“We built this lemonade stand to use in the summer, but Christmastime is a perfect opportunity to use it to give people cookies and hot chocolate! I feel closer to my Savior when I find creative ways to serve others.”
Brooklyn H., Alberta, Canada
“I enjoy spending time with my sisters, especially when we play games together. At Christmastime we have candlelight dinners every night at supper. It feels peaceful. The light of the candles reminds me of our Savior, who is the Light of the World.”
Dane H., Alberta, Canada
“Many people consider the mountains as a place of peace where they commune with nature and discover the beauty of God’s creations. But here in Hawaii, we feel and appreciate the power of God in the sea and all the wonders it holds.
“Any time that you spend surrounded by nature and family, it is a bonding experience. You disconnect from the distractions in life and focus on the beauty around you, both in the things you see and in the people you share the experience with.
“What better time than Christmas to feel more connected to this earth and to our families, as we understand they both play a major part in the plan that has been laid out by our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ.”
Diane A., with photo of Zyrus A., Hawaii, USA
“My family is always involved in some type of service activity on Christmas. One thing we do is provide food and goodies for those in need. Through serving others, we are able to show God’s love. My parents have taught me the meaning of Christmas by setting a good example and serving others. This experience helped me to understand my role on earth and the true meaning of Christmas.”
Aaron S., Bangalore, India
“Sometimes, since we’re a big family, we all get together in this house and the house next door. We have music. We dance. We’re always together as a family as much as possible during December, because we’re out of school.
“We play. We talk. We laugh. We eat. That’s the tradition. When I’m in school, I don’t have time to do all of those things with my family. So we try to keep these traditions going. Family is the most important thing. These traditions help us stay together as a family.”
Juan C., Barranquilla, Colombia
“After the fire I realized that the most important things to have are your family and friends. So although we didn’t get many gifts, it was so really nice to just be surrounded by family. It was still a happy time for us, even though it wasn’t like our normal Christmas.”
“I got to help unload and organize several truckloads of donated toys. Then we opened the doors and let everyone in. It was really fun to watch all the kids. Their eyes would light up. They were so excited! It made me happy to see them so happy and peaceful after living through something so awful.”
“It was great to see everyone kind of get thrown together and depend on each other socially. … I learned that material things don’t matter as much. Service, family, and time spent together matters a lot more. Life is valuable. Things can always change for the worse, so we need to try to enjoy the positive times while they’re around. We’re the ones that make those positive times!”