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Posted on Wednesday 20th December 2017 | Lesley Thomas

Keeping tradition alive in the festive season

One of the most wonderful things about celebrating Christmas outside of your home country is the chance to experience the festive traditions of other cultures. Be it beach barbecues in Australia or Father Christmas’ evil counterpart, Krampus, in Germanic nations, it’s always interesting to see how the season is celebrated outside of your own country.

If you’re in the Alps for Christmas, chances are that you’ll come across some of the traditions below - some are Swiss, some are French but all of them are sure to give you that festive feeling. You can pick and choose which to observe if you’re celebrating in the Alps, to create your perfect Christmas mix of traditions.

Postcards from Pere Noel

Since 1962, France has had a law which states that any letter to Father Christmas must be responded to with a postcard. It’s a charming tradition that your children will love taking part in!


 Switzerland’s answer to Santa is Samichlaus, who visits not on December 25th, but on December 6th. Although children still receive gifts on Christmas day, they also receive nuts, chocolates and mandarins on the 6th of December and are given a report on their behaviour over the last year. It’s a lovely tradition to observe if you’re in Switzerland on the day.

Nativity scenes

French nativity scenes are hugely popular around the country, but their cast is less traditional than one might think. As well as the traditional figures such as Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the kings, the scenes might feature vegetable sellers, bakers and local dignitaries!

Swiss Christmas cookies

As in many parts of the world, baking is an important part of the build up to Christmas. Home cooks whip up batches of Zimtsterne, Chräbbeli, Mailänderli and Brunsli to share with family and friends. It’s easy to find recipes online, so you could whip up a batch and have your holiday home smelling delicious in no time, to get in the festive spirit!

If you think a Christmas in the Alps sounds picture-perfect, perhaps you should think about investing in a holiday home? We have beautiful properties across all the main resorts in the Swiss and French Alps, and a knowledgeable team to help with any queries about buying property overseas. Get in touch today to find out more.


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