How to celebrate a Swiss style Christmas

Christmas in SwitzerlandTo celebrate a Swiss style Christmas you must begin your festivities almost a month in advance, on December 6th, with the feast of St. Nicholas. At dusk on this day a procession of men (lifeltrager ) goes walking through the towns and cities wearing gigantic illuminated lanterns in the shape of a Bishop’s mitre on their heads. All through the Christmas season, singers (Sternsingers) dressed as the Three Kings parade through the streets of cities and towns singing Christmas songs. The way to celebrate Swiss Christmas is to allow the traditions of the Swiss to mingle with your own.

A few suggestions

  1. A week before Christmas let children wearing their best festive dresses, go from home-to-home bearing small gifts. Have them collect small donations to give to the poor and needy.
  2. Have a lady dress up as the Christ child (Christkindli) and arrive with gifts for everyone. Let her wear white with a face veil held in place by a jeweled crown. Light tree candles on your Christmas tree when she arrives at your house. Have small children serve as her helpers and hold her basket while she hands out presents from the basket.
  3. Make Santa faces by obliquely slicing the top of a small log and painting a face. Have candles rather than electric lights on the Christmas tree but if you prefer lights then have the usual ones that give out warm yellowish light, rather than the blinking colored lights often seen in other countries.
  4. Make a traditional Christmas feast with chocolate truffles and Swiss spice cookies and loudly ring bells to call the parishioners to Midnight Mass. Serve large Swiss doughnuts called Ringli and hot chocolate after the service.


  • Keep the evening of December 24th for family celebration to have the children see the decorated and lit tree, complete with wrapped gifts underneath.


  • Don’t let customs and traditions bind you so much that you are not able to enjoy the festivities. Follow only such customs that you can adapt and make your own.

2 Comments about “How to celebrate a Swiss style Christmas”

  1. alex Says:

    this is soooooooooooo cool but i wanna know how to make it

  2. kristen Says:

    I love to learn about other ways they celebrate christmas and i am doing this for school and it is so much funnn!

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