Imagine sitting around a warm fireplace with your loved ones, while you exchange presents and holiday treats. As you stare out the window, the snow flakes float down from the heavens.
Now, imagine throwing all of that out the window and partying until you get heat stroke, then you have the Brazilian Christmas.
In this post, you are going to get a good idea of what the real world Christmas is like in Brazil and what you should expect.
Note: this is a generalization and your personal results may vary 😉
An Introduction to Christmas in Brazil
I will never forget my first Christmas in Brazil.
Picture being on the other side of the world and in a place where new summer heat records are being set.
Where the 24th of December is spent swimming, bbqing, hanging out and drinking cold ones while working on your tan.
Tons of hoots and hollars can be heard from the neighbors’ houses while loud party music is blaring.
Sounds like a typical Brazilian party right? Well, it pretty much is – just a huge one.
Yeah there is some history behind the , but I’m going to focus on the practical stuff here – having fun!
What to Expect During a Brazilian Christmas
The focus is on one thing and one thing only: having a good time.
Yeah the traditions vary a bit from region to region but the overwriting theme is to enjoy each other and the day.
This all happens on the 24th contrary to the 25th in many countries.
The day is usually (un) organized like this and you should expect to (in no specific order):
- Go to a pre-arranged host’s house
- Bring whatever you are supposed to food-wise for the BBQ
- Bring any gifts for your immediate family or friends
- Drink beer
- Take a swim
- Eat food
- Drink more beer
- Watch the family get into a dramatic fight and smash some dinnerware against a brick wall.
- Watch everyone make up.
- Unwrap presents (takes approximately 5 minutes).
- Eat the special midnight slow roasted roast.
- Drink other things.
- Eat more.
- Drink more.
- Collapse somewhere (hopefully not the pool)
Yeah, the day isn’t all planned out and organized; it’s actually quite chaotic and crazy.
Expect to be up until well after your bedtime and make sure you have a pre-arranged place to crash.
And if you’re lucky, maybe Santa Clause will show up in his thin silk Santa suite to greet you all the way from the north pole (he must change on the way)!
Gift Giving on Christmas and What You Should Know
The real underlying theme buried under all of the traditions within a North American or European Christmas is usually one thing: gift giving.
You make a list, check it twice, give your family and friends presents regardless if they are naughty or nice.
Because that’s what’s expected and you don’t want a disappointed Uncle Marty making a scene in front of the entire family now do you?
The truth about giving gifts in Brazil
The shocking truth about the Brazilian Christmas (and why I love it so much) is that gifts aren’t the underlying theme – the people are.
So forget the stress of making huge gift lists and spending millions of Reais on presents, the focus is on the people.
As a matter of fact, I know many middle class families who have never given gifts during Christmas time in Brazil.
Yes, buy some presents for your most immediate family and friends but don’t make a big deal out of it.
This could be as simple as getting one basic present for each person. During my first Christmas in Brazil, I only got one present and gave 0 – yet it was the best Christmas I had to that date.
Any Christmas after that in Brazil, we gave just 1 present to each of our children and to each other and it was marvelous.
Other Smart Tips About Christmas in Brazil
There are some very important things I would like to share with you about the Brazilian Christmas, and this is on a bit of a more serious note.
1. Be Careful With Drinking and Heat Stroke
I can’t tell you how many people get heatstroke during the Brazilian Christmas.
This is due to the heavy amount of alcohol drinking and lack of water drinking…
Simply put, make sure that you stay hidrated by drinking tons of water and challenge your friends to do the same.
The summer sun does kiss your skin, but it will rape your body if you let it.
2. Stay Off the Roads
Don’t drink and drive blah blah blah…
You’ve heard it before I’m sure and of course you are wise enough to put the keys away if you do decide to drink.
My focus here isn’t on telling you to not drink and drive it’s in warning you to stay away from Brazilians who drink and drive!
There are actually too many who drink and drive during Christmas and I would warn you to stay put wherever you are and sleep there if possible.
This is for your best interest and safety.
Books could be written about the Brazilian Christmas and I’m sure there are…
Though, my hope was to give you a quick idea of the inner workings so that you at least can be a bit prepared come Christmas eve.
If you found this helpful then please do the following:
- Write a comment sharing a bit about your run ins with the Brazilian X-mas
- Share this post with a friend who would enjoy it.
- Sign up for my free newsletter at the bottom of this post.
Have a wonderful Christmas and catch you on the flipside.
Um bom natal para você!