Celebrating Christmas around the world


India Benjamin


Think going global is as easy as hiring a translator? Think again. As an international agency, one of the most common misconceptions we are faced with is that language is the biggest barrier a company can face when trying launch their brand worldwide. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.  

Localising your content is the key to success when marketing worldwide, and there is no better way to do that than by mother tongue speakers, who truly understand the local phrases and culture. What works in the UK doesn’t necessarily work elsewhere – for example, in France free delivery is much less a selling point than it is in the UK, and our international team had greater conversion rates in paid media campaigns in France simply by changing the USPs to reflect this.  


In the spirit of Christmas, we asked our international team to highlight why simply translating content may not be effective, by revealing how different Christmas can be around the globe. Here in the UK, we celebrate on the 25th with turkey, a tree, Santa Claus and gifts. Around the world, celebrations vary! 

In France, the Réveillon is the main event of the festive period. This family feast takes place in the evening of 24th December, lasting into the early hours of Christmas Day, and contains well-known festive foods such as roast turkey, goose and a “bûche de Noël” (Yule log), as well as some not-so familiar foods, including lobster, oysters, snails and foie gras.  

In Spain the festivities are also celebrated on the Christmas Eve, or the Nochebuena. Depending on the region, a late night feast of either roasted pig with rice and beans or seafood is served, before families embark on midnight mass. However, gifts are not exchanged until 6th January, the day of Epiphany or El Día de los Reyes (The Day of the Three Kings). 

Those living in the Czech Republic, Germany and The Netherlands open gifts a whole month earlier – Santa comes on St. Nicholas Eve, on the 5th December, leaving gifts of chocolate and fruit. For those living in Syria, it is not Santa who brings presents but one of the camels that carried the three wise men to Bethlehem, while Italian’s believe gifts are left by ‘La Bafena’, a friendly witch. 

As you can see, it’s not just language that varies around the world. Traditions, and even key dates, can be completely different – something only mother tongue speakers are often aware of. Looking to scale your brand globally? Download our International Sales Events calendar for free to find out what events are relevant for the markets you want to expand to. Alternatively, get in touch and see how our international team can help you grow.  

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