9 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.


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.




©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.


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.


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.


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.

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

See All Photos

Shop This Look


String 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



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.

Next Up

8 Holiday Decorating Ideas to Steal

Looking for inspiration for your holiday design? Atlanta’s Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse is the motherlode of genius decorating ideas.

10 Easy, Last-Minute Holiday Decorating Ideas to Try Today

Attention, procrastinators: There's still time!

7 Reasons To Visit HGTV's Santa HQ

Whether you've been naughty or nice, you're sure to have a sleigh-full of holiday fun at HGTV's Santa HQ.

Get an Inside Look at the White House at Christmas

Each year HGTV takes viewers on an exclusive tour of the White House during the holidays. This year is no exception, and the 2015 festivities offer one of the most visually impressive examples to date of this ambitious and multifaceted holiday tradition.

Our 12 Favorite Holiday Side Dishes From Food Network

Impress your guests with these winning recipes from notable chefs.

How to Set Up a Gorgeous Buffet Table for Your Holiday Party

Make serving effortless at your next holiday party with a buffet table. Create your own with these tips and tricks.

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree: 20 Inspiring Ideas

Dress (your Christmas tree) to impress.

9 Christmas Gifts You Can Put in a Mason Jar

Need a last-minute gift or the perfect way to present a gift card? These easy gifts in Mason jars should do the trick!

Gingerbread House Gift Boxes: A Jolly Way to Wrap Kids' Gifts

Upcycle cardboard boxes into fun and festive packages kids will love.

3 Creative (and Cute!) Ideas for Wrapping Cash

Because cash folded into a card just doesn't say "Merry Christmas" like it used to.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.