Disney Holiday Preview: Celebrating Christmas Throughout the World at Epcot

I love the riches of tradition that take place throughout Epcot during Holidays Around the World.

Christmas Comes to World Showcase

Christmas Comes to World Showcase

And one of my favorite holiday rituals is learning about how others celebrate this important time of the year.

We all know about Santa in the United States and other countries, Père Noël  in France, and Father Christmas in the UK. Today, I thought we could take a look at some of the other Christmas traditions celebrated in the lands of World Showcase. And of course, we’ll be snacking along the way as well. :-)

La Befana in Italy

Italy celebrates Christmas in intimate, joyous fashion. After Midnight Mass, families gather for a sumptuous feast to mark the occasion. One treat that you may enjoy is Panettone, a sweet bread studded with dried fruits, that’s traditionally served around the holidays. It’s especially excellent with a glass of Prosecco.

Panettone and Prosecco to Celebrate Christmas

Panettone and Prosecco to Celebrate Christmas

We also learn of La Befana, a kind-hearted witch who journeys in search of Gesu Bambino (the Baby Jesus.) As she searches for the child, she leaves gifts for boys and girls.

La Befana in Search of Gesu Bambino

La Befana in Search of Gesu Bambino

But be careful not to misbehave, or you may end up with a lump of coal!

Don’t look for La Befana on Christmas Eve, however. Instead, she arrives on the eve of Epiphany.

Julenissen in Norway

Christmas is also observed in Norway, but celebrations differ between urban and rural areas. Both mark the holiday with lots of festivities leading up to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Families might enjoy beloved sweets at the end of their feast, like Riskrem, or Rice Cream! (Make some at home with our handy recipe!)

Rice Cream -- One of Our Favorites!

Riskrem or Rice Cream — One of Our Favorites!

In rural areas, children also look forward to a visitation from Julenissen. The kind gnome lives in barns and woods in the Norwegian countryside, and it is believed that he is the guardian of farm animals and families.

Julenissen Spinning His Tale

Julenissen Spinning His Tale

Children leave a bowl of porridge for him to help fortify Julenissen for his travels from farm to farm.

La Navidad in Mexico

Candlelight processions mark the season as friends and family celebrate La Navidad in Mexico. During Las Posadas, children dress up like Mary and Joseph and visit their neighbors as part of the procession. The celebration continues with singing, dancing, and breaking a piñata as homes are brightly adorned with native poinsettias and other decorations.

Breaking the Piñata During Las Navidad!

Breaking the Piñata During La Navidad!

One hallmark of the celebration of Christmas in Mexico is the making of tamales.


Sweet Tamales Pay Tribute to a Beloved Mexican Culinary Tradition

The Mexico Pavilion pays homage to this tradition with a sweet version of the masa-based dish.

Don’t Miss Out on Any Disney Holiday Fun!

We’ve been hard at work updating the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays, 2015 e-Book with all the latest holiday tips and brand new info you NEED to know before you hit the parks this November, December, and January! With 330 pages of detailed information and multiple bonus extras, it WILL save you time and money during the busiest season in Walt Disney World! And it’s here just in time!

Order your holiday guide today!

Order your holiday guide today!

And since we want you to save some cash right NOW, we have a special discount for DFB readers (as always!).

Get the brand new guide today for 20% off the regular purchase price for a limited time! How? Use code PEPPERMINT at the check-out!

The DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2015 e-Book features 330 pages of all the info you need to know (and not JUST food!) before you head to Walt Disney World for the holiday season, including NEW events and holiday happenings, plus over 300 photos.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy for a 20% off using code PEPPERMINT at the check-out! Happy holidays from all of us here at DFB.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition observed during Holidays Around the World at Epcot? Leave a comment and share it with us!


  1. Essie says

    Great report, A. J. There is nothing more fun than Holidays around the World in EPCOT; I just wish that I had gotten there while they still had the Lights of Wonder. They were gone in 2012, but I enjoyed World Showcase and all of the traditions immensely, anyway. I can’t wait to do it all again!

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