Christmas When I was Growing Up in Brazil

Growing up we mostly spent Christmas with my dad's family. Not for any reason in particular, but they lived in Rio, we lived in Sao Paulo and it was closer than travelling to the Central part of Brazil where my mum's brother and sister live.


Building up to Christmas we decorated our home with a Christmas tree and a nativity set. My mum also had some other decorations she used to hang up on the walls, but nothing huge. I don't remember having wreaths at our house. Another thing we did , we used to drive around the city checking out Christmas lights, we loved it so much!

Our Christmas tree this year

O Natal comemora o nascimento do menino Jesus.

Rio, Christmas Eve 12.24

Mums would cook dinner, kids would spend the day at the beach or at the pool. We'd come home shower, change into our best clothes and hang out with all the cousins until later when we would eat dinner, adults would eat their supper around 10 or 11 pm.

The Meal

In Brazil, Christmas supper varies, not only by regions, but every family does it differently. Even the same family might not have the same meal every year.

Main Dish: Chester, cod fish, roasted pork leg, pork loin or turkey.

Side Dishes: Rice with champagne, rice with raisins and nuts, sweet potatoes, different salads, "farofa" with nuts and dry fruits, potato salad, roast potatoes.

The Presents

Before the kids headed to bed, Santa would come. Yes, all lights would turn off and "Papai Noel" would show up in a helicopter (which we'd never see landing) and come into the house to deliver presents. Santa was so quick that we'd hardly see him. We'd hear him, and we always try to catch him, but we couldn't. As we grew older we would wonder where such and such uncle was or your dad, but it was all forgotten about with the gifts left under the tree. But if I remember it correctly, we couldn't open the presents, we'd go to bed,then open the presents the next day.

Oh, yes, we used to leave a shoe outside a door or by our beds and the main present was left by our beds.

Rio, Christmas Day 12.25

We'd wake up and run for the tree, of course. Open presents,and go play. breakfast is very late, one very famous dish is "rabanada", which came from Portugal, it is a dish made with bread, it resembles french toast, but a little different. Lunch is also late, kids basically spend all day outside.

There, these were my Christmas traditions growing up. Now that I have Victoria I like to show her a little of my tradition, so we've been having 2 Christmas dinners, one on the 24th and one on the 25th. If she has any presents under the tree she opens them on the 24th, but the main day of presents is the 25th.

One tradition I want to start this year, is to do some good on the 24th, so I've planned to take a gingerbread house to a fire station near our home to show some gratitude for the ones working during Christmas.