10 Holiday Recipes and Decorating Ideas From Around the World

Add global flair to your Christmas celebration with these internationally inspired recipes and decorating ideas.

We all know and love the tried-and-true Christmas traditions of the U.S., like hanging stockings from the mantel or munching on gingerbread cookies and candy canes. But the holiday is celebrated in dozens of countries all over the world in some form or fashion – and every place does it a little bit differently. If you’re looking to mix up your holiday routine this year, try these traditional Christmas recipes (and twists on traditional recipes) from around the world, plus global-inspired Christmas decorations for your home.

France

BUCHE DE NOEL Food Network Eggs, Sugar, Unsalted Butter, Instant Espresso, Rum, Chocolate Genoise Sheet, Almond Paste, Confectioners’ Sugar, Light Corn Syrup, Egg Yolks, Salt, Cake Flour, Cornstarch, Alkalized Cocoa

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

Rather than hanging stockings from the mantel, children in France place their shoes in front of the fireplace or under the Christmas tree so Père Noël (or “Father Christmas”) will fill them with gifts. After midnight mass on Christmas Eve, French families gather for a decadent meal called réveillon, often featuring lobster, oysters, foie gras, cheeses, and turkey with chestnuts. The feast ends with bûche de Noël, a sponge cake whimsically decorated to look like a yule log.

Norway

CI-Laurie-March_Scandanavian-Christmas-ornaments-garland_h

CI-Laurie-March_Scandanavian-Christmas-ornaments-garland_h

©Marc Kelly

Marc Kelly

In Norway, small, heart-shaped paper baskets called julekurver are hung around the house during the holidays and filled with goodies. In this Scandinavian-inspired holiday scene, designer Laurie March incorporated a graphic, woven paper heart, a modern twist on the traditional julekurver.

Scandinavian-Inspired Christmas Decorations

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Sweet and Casual

The Scandinavian style can be incorporated into holiday decor very easily. This beautiful, comforting approach allows everyone to relax and enjoy each other’s company effortlessly.

©Marc Kelly

Natural Materials

Basket weaving is a Scandinavian tradition. These lovely stars complement the red, white and natural color scheme and act as a testament to classic craftsmanship.

©Marc Kelly

Salt Dough Ornaments

A wolf in sheep’s salt dough. Crisp white shapes found in nature such as animals, leaves and stars are perfectly complemented by red bakers twine.

©Marc Kelly

Spice Tree

This charming cinnamon stick tree is the perfect example of Scandinavian aesthetic. Charming, sweet and sure to make your smile.

©Marc Kelly

Handcrafted Accents

The combination of a woven deer and a more modern, graphic paper heart marries the freshness of current Scandinavian design, while celebrating the art of crafting.

©Marc Kelly

Blend Textiles

Mixing and matching textures and patterns creates a casual warmth sure to keep everyone in good spirits. Stick to your color scheme to keep things coordinated.

©Marc Kelly

Wood Wreath

Natural elements have a huge influence on Scandinavian design. Save scraps of wood all year long to see what traditional holiday pieces you might craft out of everyday materials.

©Marc Kelly

Wall of Wreaths

Hanging items in multiples create a high impact on a space. The combination of natural and woven materials keeps things feeling nicely Nordic.

©Marc Kelly

Woven Star

Simple, understated beauty makes everyone feel welcome and comfortable.

©Marc Kelly

Upcycle For the Unexpected

Just because the tone is unassuming, doesn’t mean it can include the unexpected. Pages from an old book create the perfect romantic bow.

©Marc Kelly

Happy Holiday Hearts

Whether you hang them from your tree or tuck them into your tablescape, homemade candy cane hearts are a sweet way to decorate for the holidays. No two are ever the same, and they're adorable, too. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

©Marc Kelly

Just a Touch of Bling

Scandinavian design is unfussy, but not austere. Delicate glassware and interesting hexagonal mirrors add interests to the buffet. Find more holiday entertaining ideas >>

©Marc Kelly

Gnome Decorating

Scandinavian design is known for its sweet simplicity. Humble craft paper and white ribbon are a charming place to begin. And who needs an Elf on a Shelf when you’ve got a gnome in your home? Get more gift wrapping ideas >>

©Marc Kelly

Sweet Snowmen

These Scandinavian snowmen know how to party! Warm cinnamon ornaments give them the support they need to dance on their reclaimed wood stage. Find more Scandinavian-style entertaining ideas >>

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Bunting

Banners, pennants and garland are all excellent nods to the past. These handmade salt and cinnamon pieces add some homespun festivity to the space. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

©Marc Kelly

Frame It

Everyone appreciates a fun little surprise. Hanging a wreath from an upcycled picture frame makes the old seem new again. Find clever ideas for storing decorations when the holidays are done >>

©Marc Kelly

A Touch of Whimsy

Woodland creatures and cookies? Yes, please! This wise man knows a good things when he sees it. WHO has some milk?

©Marc Kelly

Deck the Halls with Yarn

Add a natural element that you can do in any color. These yarn ornaments are easy and inexpensive make, and a fun project to craft with the kids. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

©Marc Kelly

Italy

PANETTONE BREAD PUDDING WITH AMARETTO SAUCE Giada De Laurentiis Everyday Italian/Italian Southern Comfort Food Network Whipping Cream, Whole Milk, Sugar, Amaretto Liqueur, Cornstarch, Panettone Bread, Eggs

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

Originally from Milan, panettone is a sweet bread often filled with candied citron, raisins and lemon zest that’s become a holiday staple all over the world. For a new take on the traditional treat, whip up Giada De Laurentiis’ panettone bread pudding with amaretto sauce.

United Kingdom

Christmas Time

Christmas Time

Christmas holiday dinner place setting with plates, gift box, bauble decorations, holly and mistletoe over oak table background.

Photo by: Marilyn Barbone

Marilyn Barbone

Christmas dinner in the UK usually consists of turkey and roasted vegetables, followed by Christmas pudding. Each person at the table gets a Christmas cracker — or a cardboard tube wrapped in colorful paper — that’s filled with a toy, a party hat or a corny joke. In some families, the crackers are pulled apart by two people (similar to a wishbone), and whoever gets the larger half keeps the prize.

Germany

Stollen Recipe

Stollen Recipe

Food Network Ina Graten Panettone Bread Pudding

Photo by: Marshall Troy Photography

Marshall Troy Photography

Originally a tasteless bread made with just flour, oats and water, stollen is now a sweet treat enjoyed on Christmas Day in Germany. It’s typically filled with dried fruit, nuts and spices and dusted with powdered sugar just before serving.

China

Chinese Christmas Lanterns on Trees

Chinese Christmas Lanterns on Trees

Photo by: DK - A Greener Christmas © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - A Greener Christmas, 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited

While Christmas isn’t widely celebrated in China, the holiday is growing in popularity in large cities. Christmas trees (typically artificial) are decorated in paper chains, paper flowers and paper lanterns. For a natural spin on this look, make these delicate yet vibrant ornaments from Chinese lantern plants. 

Mexico

DIY Flower Pinatas

DIY Flower Pinatas

A piñata filled with sweets is a star of Las Posadas, a series of parties held from Dec. 16 to 24 in Mexico. The piñata typically has a round center with seven conical points, originally representing the seven deadly sins. Make your own piñata for a Mexican-inspired Christmas celebration using floral foam, party hats, crepe paper and silk flowers.

Mexican-Style Christmas Decorations

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Bright and Happy Holidays

Yes, use traditional red and green for Christmas decorations, but why not turn it up a notch by adding more color, like a little yellow, pink or blue. It is a celebration after all!

Line the Walls

Paper garlands are a great way to decorate walls inexpensively. Our garland is a play on Mexican pennant flags and requires only a few sheets of cardstock and a craft knife.

Easy Centerpieces

Cone trees are an easy way to add a Christmas look to a table or mantel without spending a ton of money for a decoration that get used once a year. The center tree was made with snowflake confetti to add a bright punch of color that’s anything but boring. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Fringed Tree

What do you get when you cross a piñata with a Christmas tree? A fringed-tissue paper cone tree. This sweet little number is an easy way to add a whimsical Christmas element to your table or mantel for just a few dollars. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Multicolored Tableware

Pink and blue glassware add more vibrant color and sparkle to the table, while black plates help ground the setting and will make the food the focal point.

Sugar Skull Place Cards

Instead of standard place cards, Mexican sugar skulls were used to identify the seating arrangements. They were made inexpensively using disposable aluminum pans. A leatherworker’s stylus tool was used to hammer out the design and add each guest’s name.

Sangria Garnish

Cloves are used to create fun patterns in fresh citrus fruit. The contrast of the black spice against the bright lemons, limes and oranges creates an eye-catching and fragrant centerpiece.

Mixed Materials

Burlap placemats are paired with a felt table runner to add texture and contrast to the setting. Get step-by-step instructions >>

Shake It Up

Paper-mache and washi tape maracas filled with candy add to the festivities and make a great party favor. The candy is accessed by removing the paper straw handle.

Chocolate Spoons

Make dessert time a little spicy by serving a spoonful of cayenne-spiked chocolate with plain cup of hot cocoa. The savory and sweet mix is the perfect way to warm up a cold winter evening. Get three easy recipes >>

Custom Table Runner

If you have an oddly sized table, making a DIY table runner is often the fastest, easiest and least expensive way to add a little color to the table. Felt is an easy fabric to work with because it doesn’t fray. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Burlap Placemats

These embroidered burlap placemats are an easy and inexpensive way to add texture and natural tones to any table. Embroidery thread around the perimeter helps customize the table's color palette.

Puerto Rico

Food Network Puerto Rican Coconut Milk Rum Christmas Coquito Christmas Cocktails

Photo by: Armando Rafael Moutela

Armando Rafael Moutela

Coquito, an eggnog-like alcoholic beverage made with rum, coconut milk, condensed milk, egg yolks and cinnamon, is enjoyed alongside Christmas dinner in Puerto Rico. Serve it chilled and topped with a dash of cinnamon.

28 Holiday Cocktails

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Ginger Bell Cocktail

If you're a fan of ginger, then this cocktail is for you. Bourbon complements the flavors from real ginger and ginger beer. Get the recipe here>>

Pumpkin Pie Martini

Pumpkin pie is one of the most beloved desserts of the holiday season. Recreate the classic pie in a martini glass with vanilla vodka, pumpkin spice liqueur, Kahlua, butterscotch schnapps and half-and-half. Garnish with the perfect "crust": crushed graham crackers. Get the recipe>>

Sangria

Keep holiday guests smiling with this flavor-filled, spiced pear sangria with a champagne twist. Prepare the spiced pear mixture the night before to let the flavors soak into the fruit. Then top it off with a bit of bubbly right before the party. Get the recipe>>

Cocoa Raspberry Heaven

The name says it all — you'll be swooning over this raspberry-infused hot chocolate. Mix raspberry liqueur and creme de cacao with hot chocolate, then top with fresh whipped cream and a fresh berry. It's the perfect beverage for a cozy holiday gathering, or a great nightcap at the end of a holiday cocktail party. Get the recipe>>

Spiced Chai Tea

Whether or not you decide to put bourbon in this homemade chai tea recipe, it'll be sure to warm up your guests. Serve it from a teapot to keep it warm throughout your party. Get the recipe>>

Spiked Apple Cider Cocktail

A holiday gathering isn't complete without some apple cider. Add brandy to the sweet cider, and serve chilled. Garnish with apple slices. Get the recipe>>

Rosario's Rumpope (Ecuadorian Holiday Eggnog)

No holiday is complete without this traditional Ecuadorian family recipe for eggnog. Rumpope, pronounced "rom-poe-pay," uses eggs, condensed milk, peaches, vanilla extract and cinnamon to create a sweet, silky beverage that's perfect for cool winter nights. Add rum for an adults-only gathering, or serve it on the side so guests of all ages can enjoy this holiday treat. Get the recipe>>

Hot Peppermint Rod

This peppermint-infused drink will warm you up, thanks to hot water and a healthy helping of vodka. The peppermint stick and dollop of whipped cream make this easy drink dressy enough for a holiday or party cocktail. Get the recipe>>

Rose Lemon Champagne Punch

Using both sparkling white wine and rose champagne, this refreshing drink is perfect to toast with. Serve in shot glasses or champagne flutes with fresh berries at the bottom. Get the recipe>>

Hot Buttered Rum

Gather your friends around the fireplace for this truly traditional winter favorite. Heat brown sugar, hot milk and rich, dark rum, then float butter on top for a decadent cocktail. Garnish with a pinch of ground nutmeg. Get the recipe>>

Liam's Midnight Toast

A flavorful, colorful and classy cocktail for Christmas or New Year's Eve. Get the recipe>>

Cranberry Hot Toddy

Cranberry harvest season is in full swing during December, just in time for cranberry relishes, cakes and muffins to grace holiday tables. Use the berries in juice form for a twist on classic mulled apple cider: Heat cranberry juice with cranberry vodka, lemon juice, honey, bitters and cinnamon for a festive warm-me-up drink. Get the recipe>>

Holiday Citrus Spritzer

Citrus and mint meet in perfect harmony in this sweet drink. Add a glitter sugar rim to bring some sparkle to your party. Get the recipe>>

Heath Bar Cocktail

This grown-up take on a candy bar features a sweet mix of Irish cream, cognac and coffee and hazelnut liqueur. Top it off with freshly shaved chocolate for a sweet holiday treat. Get the recipe>>

Sake Sangrini

Say "sayonara" to typical sangria: This take on the classic fruit-and-wine concoction is infused with sake and a splash of sour mix. Garnished with an orange twist, it's the perfect signature drink for a winter cocktail party. Get the recipe>>

Warm Apple Pie Cocktail

This great holiday cocktail uses Tuaca, a delicious Italian liqueur made with citrus peels, spice and vanilla. Get the recipe>>

Homemade Eggnog

Top this traditional holiday drink recipe with a dash of cinnamon and a cinnamon stick stirrer for an extra punch of flavor. Get the recipe>>

Zuzu's Peach Sparkler

Greet party guests with this beautiful, fruity cocktail, made with cognac, peach schnapps, simple syrup and crushed fresh peaches, lemon and orange. Served over crushed ice, the drink seems to sparkle. Garnish with a mint sprig and a peach slice. Get the recipe>>

Mulled Wine

Serve this staple cold-weather drink with a holiday meal. Let the wine marinate for a few hours before serving for a robust flavor. Get the recipe>>

Caramel Apple Pie Cocktail

This festive holiday cocktail draws inspiration from decadent caramel-apple pie. Get the recipe>>

Uncle Billy's Holiday Treat

This creamy cocktail is a perfect after-dinner dessert. Get the recipe>>

Appleberry Pie Cocktail

If you're a lover of berries, this is the cocktail for you. It combines raspberries, blueberries and blackberries for a fruity combination. Get the recipe>>

Whiskey Buck Cocktail

A perfect treat for a retro-style holiday gathering, the whiskey buck cocktail gets its distinguished flavor from ginger syrup, and you guessed it — whiskey. Get the recipe>>

Rose and Mint Champagne Cocktail

Dried rosebuds, combined with champagne and fresh mint, give this drink an eye- and taste bud-pleasing appeal. Get the recipe>>

Pom-Berry Bellini

Made with pomegranate juice and blueberry jam, you can top this drink with non-alcoholic champagne or cider. Drop a few blueberries in each glass to create a beautiful color contrast. Get the recipe>>

Spiced Cappucini Cocktail

Need the perfect drink to pair with dessert? The warm cappucini cocktail gets its flavor from gin, coffee liqueur and fresh coffee and nutmeg. Get the recipe>>

Reindeer Bubbles Cocktail

Add pomegranate seeds to the bottom of this champagne drink to resemble Rudolph the Reindeer. A green-sugared rim adds extra color that will fit right into your festive holiday party. Get the recipe>>

Sparkling Grapefruit Cocktail

If you love mimosas, try this recipe that includes grapefruit juice. The tartness from the grapefruit prevents the drink from being too sweet. Get the recipe>>

Argentina

Snowball Garland

Snowball Garland

Create a snowball garland for a kid's room with string, white pompoms and a variety of white buttons. First, thread the string onto a needle, then weave the needle through the pompoms and button holes.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

Since temperatures are high on Christmas in Argentina, some people decorate their Christmas trees with cotton balls to represent snow. If you, too, celebrate the holiday in a warm climate, make this easy garland using cotton balls and buttons, as designer Brian Patrick Flynn did here. Drape it around your tree or over the mantel.

New Zealand

MIXED_BERRY_PAVLOVA

MIXED_BERRY_PAVLOVA

Named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, this meringue cake is a popular Christmas sweet in New Zealand and neighboring Australia. (The two countries have a running debate on who invented the dessert.) It's typically topped with whipped cream, strawberries, kiwi and passionfruit.

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