It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the time when we put on Christmas jumpers instead of office apparel, when our office gets a nice festive makeover, and when we all go for mince pies and mulled wine after work. It’s Christmas.
In case you ever wondered, there’s more to our Christmas traditions than the above, and that’s because we have colleagues from different parts of the world. Moreover, our consultants add more to the ‘international Christmas’ each time they travel around the world, observing Christmas traditions in other cultures.
For this festive season, we want to tell you a little more about how we celebrate Christmas around Radtac. We’ve all learnt more about each other’s traditions - now we want to share them with you, hoping you’ll write back to us saying how you celebrate.
Christmas in our Kent office
"In the Radtac Kent office we like to start the Christmas celebrations early. Our office Christmas tree goes up on 1st December every year, with the newest member of the team asked to decorate. This year it was the job of Megan. We think she did a great job especially as this was her first time ever decorating a Christmas tree. On the same day our Christmas mugs and glasses make their first appearance on our desks.
Our colleague Alison (Radtac’s answer to Mary Berry) is always spoiling us with yummy cakes - Christmas is no exception. Check out the creations she concocted for us, complete with edible glitter!
This year we also arranged a Christmas Jumper Day for everyone working in the Kent office and all the businesses that work alongside us. Everyone donned their best jumper for the day – it was a fantastic effort from all. A special mention to our next-door colleague Barry (of EPML) who outshone everyone with his Christmas Tree jumper equipped with flashing fairy lights and Christmas pudding hat.
We’re all now really looking forward to an extended break, spending time with our families, watching Christmas movies, enjoying lots to eat and drink and exchanging gifts. It’s been a really busy year for us, but we’re looking to returning in 2016 to everything the new year is preparing for us.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"
Jo Sharp, Business Support
A (very) merry Christmas in Yorkshire
"Christmas in Yorkshire consists mainly of eating & drinking… far too much. It’s always been a Christmas family tradition for, as long as I can remember, to head for church to attend midnight mass (usually the only time of the year when I go to church). Naturally, our way back home was via the local village pub, which without fail stayed open “extra” late for mulled wine and mince pies on Christmas Eve. We would all, as a family, then get to open one present each on return from the pub before bed.
Christmas day… Amongst the chaos in the kitchen, the men of the house - my dad and I - would sneak off to the village pub for a pint or five of some proper Yorkshire Ale. In the afternoon, after a good feed and horrendous Christmas cracker jokes, we would head out for a walk with the dogs, naturally via the local pub."
Josh Philpott, Consultant
The CEO’s Christmas
"We always have an 'Advent calendar’ in our house: open a 'door' a day through December and get a choccie. When our kids were young we used to go to a 'Christingle' service at the church (which was pretty much the only time we went).
Another tradition for me is related to our local rugby club. They used to have a Boxing Day match - what many sports teams do.
After Christmas, for New Year it used to be traditional to take a lump of coal around to the neighbours when they'd give you a drink, although I haven't seen this done for many years."
Pete Measey, CEO
Exotic Christmas anyone?
"My Christmas tradition is to take off to sunnier (and warmer) places. Me and my family have developed a tradition out of this and, over the years, I’ve been to Tenerife, Morocco, Egypt, Cape Verde, Thailand, Oman, Cuba, Florida.
This year I’ll be in Phuket, Thailand, and in Bangkok for New Year’s Eve. I’ll be thinking of everyone … From my sun bed, by the pool, with a cold Singha in my hand! :)"
Michelle Sutton, Director, Head of People & Resourcing
Christmas in Lithuania involves lots of food!
Our colleague Rich was away hosting a training course in Lithuania this December. He thought it’ll be nice to know what the Christmas traditions are around there.
“I just asked our delegates on the course here and they said that in Lithuania, the family gathers on Christmas Eve and has a 12 course meal! The holiday is a merging of Christian and Pagan (the real owners of Christmas!) traditions.
After the meal, they all watch Home Alone.”
Rich Levy, Software Craftsman
A ‘Bristolian’ Christmas
"I can’t speak for the whole of Bristol, but ‘round by me’ we go to the local outdoor candle lit Christmas carol event every year. It is super ‘Christmassy’ with mince pies, mulled wine and the opportunity for over enthusiastic slightly drunken singing."
Andy Hiles, Consultant
What do you do for Christmas in Serbia?
"Well, with Serbia being Christian Orthodox and still observing the old calendar when it comes to Christmas and Easter, we celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January. The tradition is to fast up to and including Christmas Eve, meaning no fatty food and no red meat. So we typically have fish and/or squid and potato salad on the evening of the 6th January, followed by a big meaty meal on Christmas Day, which is usually centered around a roasted suckling pig.
Also, the first visitor that enters the house on Christmas Day needs to bring in a dry oak branch (at least I think it is oak - probably a pagan tradition too) and then light it up. The more sparks are made in the process, the more successful the home and family will be in the coming year.
Serbian kids living in the West are particularly lucky as they tend to get prezzies for both Christmases :).
Dragan Jojic, Head of Culture at Radtac
Christmas in Catalonia
Our colleague Paulo joined us a while ago, relocating from Barcelona to London. Read below what the Christmas traditions in Catalonia are like.
"Christmas in Barcelona involved a mash-up of Spanish, Catalan and Barcelona traditions. We / they don’t really celebrate Crimbo as it’s all about the ‘Los Reyes Magos’ (the Three Kings) which makes more sense really if you think about the gift giving.
More and more families are now celebrating Crimbo. Like Halloween these traditions are permeating in from Europe and Latin America.
However, my favorite traditions involve two quirky, Catalan characters: the Caganer and the Caga Tio.
The Caganer is a decorative figurine that traditionally depicts a farmer caught short going for a quick Harold Sump out on the fields. He symbolises fertility and good luck for the festive period, and you’ll see him in many ‘belenes’ (Nativity scenes) in homes, churches and many shop windows.
Caganer.com, a family based on the Costa Brava, create their own versions of celebrities and footballers. They have achieved cult status in Catalonia and throughout Spain as there is a lot of kudos attached to be depicted by them, as one.
I have about 10 Caganer figurines now, and over my 13 year stint in Spain I collected Obama, the Queen, Prince Charles, Mick Jagger, the Pope, and key members of the greatest football side the world has ever seen - FCB. Second fiddle to Tottenham Hotspurs naturally.
Caga Tio is even more far fetched. Children at home, in nurseries and in schools will feed a magical log (replete with painted face, legs and a Baratinha peasants hat) fruit and nuts during the build up to Crimbo.
On Christmas Eve they will gather around the said poor ‘tronco’, batter him with a stick whilst signing a traditional song roughly translated along the lines of ‘Caga Tio give us some sweets or I’m going to duff you up!’. Then the monitors will cover Caga Tio with a blanket whilst it ‘produces’ boiled sweets for the kids. It is the oddest thing I have ever seen out there."
Paulo Lopez, Business Development
Romanian Christmas traditions
"In Romania, Christmas is a big holiday from both a religious and commercial perspective, and each year the ‘Christmas madness’ does not fail to appear.
Like in Serbia, people fast up to Christmas Eve, refraining from meat and dairy products until then. After going to the Christmas Eve service in church, it’s time to indulge in the delicious meals the mothers, grandmothers and aunts have carefully prepared ahead of Christmas, but not before opening the presents under the tree.
On the First day of Christmas, the whole family gathers for a big meal together which usually (or at least in my family) consists of five courses: cold appetizers, soup, a warm appetizer (usually ‘sarmale’ - little stuffed sour cabbage rolls with minced pork meat and rice), a roast with mashed potatoes and soured, conserved vegetables called ‘muraturi’, and dessert involving homemade biscuits, cookies, gingerbread, ‘cozonac’ (‘Panettone’ style sweet bread) and cake. We like to drink ‘afinata’ (a delicious, sweet blueberry liqueur), red wine, beer and homemade ‘tuica’ (a traditional spirit prepared from plums).
As you can read above, food plays a big role for Christmas in Romania, and preparing it is almost like a pre-Christmas ritual. Also very important is being with family and friends, and going to the church. If we are lucky, we even get a white Christmas, although it was quite warm in the last years and it started snowing more towards New Year’s Eve."
Sabina Stoiciu, Marketing & PR Executive
Over to you - How’s your Christmas like?
We hope you enjoyed reading about our international Christmas traditions brought to Radtac by our colleagues and associates.
No matter what your traditions are, we would like to send you warm Christmas wishes from the whole Radtac team. We hope you enjoy the holiday with your family, friends and loved ones.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,
The Radtac Team
Image sources: Shutterstock & personal archives