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8 Christmas Movie Traditions That Don’t Make Sense For Brazilians

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

The article below was written by Manuela Massera and edited Anna Bastos. Liked this type of content? Check out Her Campus Cásper Líbero for more!

Christmas movies show a lot of traditions, but these may be traditions only in Europe and in the US, because surely in Brazil they’re not. 

We have all watched a Christmas movie at least once, and every single one of them shows a great deal of Christmas traditions. But, even though those traditions may be very common in the United States and Europe, here in Brazil most of them don’t make any sense, and here’s why. 

Everything related to snow and cold weather

Building a snowman, making a snow angel, going on those slides, fireplaces, all the coats that we see, none of that is common during Christmas time in Brazil. And that’s because of a very simple thing: it doesn’t snow here.

Well, to be fair it does snow a little bit in some towns in the south of the country, but that doesn’t even matter because in the Southern Hemisphere Christmas is celebrated in summer! So that beautiful final scene from “A Christmas Prince 2” would never happen here in Brazil, it would be a hot night. For us, Santa Claus should wear shorts and flip-flops. 

Christmas cookies

Everyone has seen those cute scenes where the family is reunited to build a gingerbread house, like it happened in “Love Hard”. But here in Brazil, gingerbread is not common at all, actually, any type of Christmas cookies aren’t. They are not a part of our traditional Christmas food, and I assure you that most Brazilian grandmas don’t even know that it exists. Or even chocolate cookies for a matter of fact.

Our traditional foods are very different; turkey is very common here too, but eggnog is not. We do have it here, but it’s not a Christmas drink. But the biggest difference is the food that is not in those movies, such as our traditional chocottone and panettone, that is a type of bread with chocolate or crystallized fruits, and “pavê”, a dessert made of cream and biscuits.

Leaving Santa Claus milk and cookies and going to sleep

It’s a classic scene: the kids putting cookies and a glass of milk for Santa Claus to eat when he comes, and then going to their bedroom to sleep in their cute Christmas pajamas on the 24th of December, and then they try to catch Santa falling from the chimney. Or, the mother telling the kids that if they don’t go to sleep, Santa will not come.

Well, in Brazil we do things a little differently, first we do not leave anything for Santa Claus, second, he does not come when the kids are asleep. What happens here is that we throw a party on the 24th and usually Santa Claus crashes that party, and the kids get to meet him. In most Brazilian households, the person who plays Santa is a family member, but in the richest ones often hire a Santa.

Someone starts ringing a bell, then comes a very high “ho ho ho” and Santa enters with his giant bag of presents and calls every child’s name. They go, sit on his lap and after everyone gets their presents, Santa is off. No falling from the chimney here, we don’t even have fireplaces in our houses. Here, kids get to meet Santa Claus and thank him for the gift.

Opening presents on the morning of the 25th 

Another classic scene is the 25th morning, like the one from “Home Alone 2”, where the whole family is opening their presents. But, as I said before, we do not go to sleep early on the 24th, we actually go to bed very late, including the kids. We throw a party with the whole family, and I’m saying a party, it’s not just a dinner, in most Brazilian houses there is music, games, dancing and, of course, a lot of food. And it’s at that party that the presents are opened.

We wait until midnight when it’s officially Christmas, we say “Merry Christmas” to everyone and start giving gifts to each other. It’s a chaotic and very loud moment, but it’s the best part of the party.

And we do not put gifts in stockings with the names on it, we don’t even have this type of stockings, the farthest that we go is to use it as decoration. The 25th for some of us is just a “hangover day”, and we just eat leftovers from the party and wait for the day to be over, while in other households it is celebrated with another part of the family in a big lunch. 


The iconic scene from “Love Actually” could never happen here. Absolutely no one knocks on doors singing Christmas songs. That just does not happen. We have 5 traditional songs, and we barely listen to Christmas music, when every country has “All I Want For Christmas Is You” on their Spotify top 10, we have some new funk or sertanejo song. 

Going to a farm pick a tree

It’s very unusual to see a real tree in people’s houses here, pine trees are not very common in Brazil, and those farms that we see in movies like “A Castle For Christmas” where they go to pick a tree don’t even exist here. We just use store-bought trees, some people use white ones, green, red, even pink trees. Of course, you’ll find people who use real trees, but it’s very unusual.


The whole “underneath the mistletoe” thing that makes the couple kiss in most of the movies such as “Love The Coopers” is not a thing here. No one buys mistletoes and puts it around the houses, not even public places do that, I don´t know why, it’s simply not a tradition here.

House decorations 

Brazilians do decorate their houses but the inside. The outdoor decorations that we see in simple romcoms such as  “A Holiday Calendar” or even a whole movie about it like “Deck The Halls” are not really common in Brazil. Surely some people decorate the outside of their houses, but usually, it’s just some lights on a window and that’s it. It’s rare to see big reindeer and lots of lights on houses when you walk down the street, but we do decorate the inside the same way as it’s shown in the movies. 

All those Christmas movies that everyone has grown up watching are full of traditions, but they’re all made by Hollywood or Europeans, and Brazilians, and actually all countries from the Southern Hemisphere traditions are not in them. So, if you want to see a movie that really shows how we celebrate Christmas, I recommend you watch “Just Another Christmas”. It’s on Netflix and will be a sad and fun ride.

👯‍♀️ Related: One Month ‘til Christmas: 6 Ideas To Enjoy The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Manuela Massera

Casper Libero '24

A journalism student obsessed with books and films. Always on twitter and listening to 80´s music.