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Old World and New World all come together down in Argentina for the Holiday
If you want to enjoy a one-of-a-kind South American Christmas and New Year Celebration, you have to experience it in Argentina. With fireworks, warm temperatures, calorie-laden food, and dancing until dawn, Navidad in Buenos Aires is a party that is literally not for the faint of heart.
The Holidays falls in summer in the southern hemisphere, so traditions such as Santa Claus in full regalia, real pine trees and Christmas stories around the fire do not translate temperature-wise, making Christmas a mash-up of European traditions and Latin American summertime partying with family, friends, and feasting. With a strong European influence, Christmas in Argentina is much more similar to Europe and North America than other countries in South America but with a twist.
Over the years, Christmas has changed and moved away from a strictly religious event. Nevertheless, what remains important is the connection to family and friends during this popular holiday. Christmas is a family affair. The most important day is Christmas Eve as Argentine families attend Christmas mass and then return home for dinner and celebrations.
The festivities do not end on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day is very relaxed and the spirit is held through to Three Kings Day on January 6th where children receive presents.
Unlike many other South American countries, children in Argentina do write cards to Santa Claus.
Argentina being a nocturnal country, no one bothers to ask children to go to bed early with threats that Santa won’t come if they don’t - instead, they find a way to distract them, at which point Mr. and Mrs. Claus place gifts under the tree.
Most of the gift giving is focused on younger children. Families with older kids often exchange one gift with each member of the family. Purchasing gifts for friends are optional, although bringing food or drinks to share at gatherings is a common courtesy.
Everyone toasts Merry Christmas at midnight on Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) and gifts are opened afterward.