Coffee at Christmas – Traditions in various countries

In many places, coffee is also traditionally included in the festivities at Christmas.

What Christmas traditions are there around coffee?

Learn about the Christmas traditions around coffee in some countries around the world.


In the middle of the 18th century in upper-middle class Sweden a tradition arose where every December 13th the eldest daughter had to don a white robe, a wreath of blueberry bouquets with 9 candles and a red sash to serve breakfast: coffee with Lussekat.

This tradition has become deeply rooted in Swedish Christmas culture over time. Every year there is a competition to choose a national St. Lucia and there are various parades in the schools with children singing and giving out sweets.

El Salvador

In this Central American country, coffee is one of the typical drinks that no family table should be without at Christmas, along with pineapple juice, horchata (a drink made from peanuts), Salvadoran cherry horchata and hot chocolate. Remember that El Salvador is one of the countries that grows the best coffee beans.


In the Iberian Peninsula, coffee is the protagonist after dinner, as it is usually served after Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Eve dinner. It is an ideal time to have a relaxed conversation.

Coffee is also consumed on Christmas Day, but to a lesser extent as most people consume chocolate on this day.


In Austria, the coffee houses are decorated for Christmas so that citizens and tourists can enjoy the excellent combination of coffee and Christmas.


Christmas is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Pakistan. The urban middle classes celebrate December 25th with various parties in hotels, restaurants and of course some cafes to enjoy their favorite drink and socialize with family and friends.


In the past, young girls in Russia used to gather in their homes to perform the famous “Christmas prophecies”, a kind of ritual intended to illuminate the future of each of them, especially the future in love.

The young women used mirrors, cards, candle wax, ground coffee, thread and needles.

On the other hand, there is a tradition that dates back to the 19th century when people gave coffee to their loved ones. It should be remembered that coffee was considered “black gold” at that time, i.e. it was a very valuable and special element.

United States

In the United States, it is customary to have coffee with Christmas morning cake, also known as night cake. It is prepared, refrigerated overnight and then freshly baked on the morning of December 25th while the gifts are opened with family and friends.


Kaffemik, a Greenlandic word meaning “through time”, is held in Greenland at Christmas.

Kaffemik is an all-day event with up to 50 people coming and going. The idea of this particular organization is that people never meet at the same time during the party as they usually only have to be there for about an hour.

The goal of a Kaffemik is to provide a space for people to gather with their neighbors, friends, family, work colleagues, and even some strangers.

The food for this event consists of a variety of homemade cakes and sweets such as marzipan cookies, crowberry muffins and apple pie. There are also hearty dishes such as fish soup and reindeer meat, and of course a pot of freshly brewed coffee to enjoy while you chat.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when attending a Kaffemik:

  1. Take off your shoes when you arrive so you don’t bring dirt or snow into the house.
  2. Bring a gift for the party host.
  3. Have a cup of coffee and taste all the dishes offered at the event.
  4. Try to be friendly and greet everyone, even if you don’t have to talk to everyone if you want to.

Important things to note about coffee during the Christmas season

To ensure that your coffee goes perfectly with your Christmas dinner, you should consider a few things:

  1. Try to buy fresh coffee. It’s important to pay attention to the packaging date because if the coffee has been sitting on the supermarket shelf for weeks, it may no longer be good.
  2. Don’t buy ground coffee, grind your coffee beans at home before brewing.
  3. Make sure the grinder you intend to use can be adjusted to the grind size and extraction type of your coffee maker.
  4. Make sure that the coffee does not consist exclusively of Robusta coffee, but ideally consists of 100% Arabica or a mixture of Arabica and a little Robusta.
  5. Use still mineral water or otherwise high-quality water so as not to spoil the taste of the coffee. Since coffee is largely made up of water, the water must be of good quality in order to get a delicious coffee.
  6. Serve the coffee at the right time, i.e. not too early so that it doesn’t come to the table cold, and if you do, don’t try to reheat it either.

How is Christmas celebrated in coffee-growing countries?

Here’s how Christmas is celebrated in some of the world’s major coffee-growing countries:


Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in Africa still using the old Julian calendar. Therefore, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th and not on December 25th as is customary in most countries. That’s because Ethiopia is a largely Orthodox Christian country.

The word used for Christmas is ganna. During this period, beginning 40 days before January 7, families celebrate Mass in the church and prepare various meals such as injera, meat, and eggs.

12 days after Ganna is Timkat, a three-day festival commemorating Christ’s baptism. During this period, Ethiopians play a game called Ganna, which is similar to ice hockey.


Christmas in Kenya is a time of sharing with family. One of the country’s Christmas traditions is midnight mass, which consists of dancing, songs, prayers and poems.

Kenyan Christmas decorations are adapted to the climate, and houses and churches can be found decorated with Cyprus trees and green flowers.


Christmas in Colombia begins on the night of December 7th, known as ” Día de las Velitas “, a festival in which homes and streets are decorated with candles, lights and lanterns. You can also see various fireworks and people dancing to traditional December music.

From December 16th, the “Novenas” are celebrated, an event that lasts until December 24th, during which families, friends and neighbors come together to pray. During this festival, Christmas carols are sung and many foods such as buñuelos (yeast fritters with cheese filling), natillas (cream dish), arepas (corn cakes) and empanadas (stuffed dumplings) are eaten.

Finally, on the night of December 24th, the “Cena de Navidad” (Christmas dinner) is customarily eaten, which includes turkey ham and lechona (pork with peas and rice).


In the Central American country, Christmas officially begins on December 7th with the celebration of the conception of the Blessed Mother. There, people decorate altars with small white flowers of the arbutus tree, sing various songs, and also set off firecrackers.

Another traditional event is the famous “Gritería”, where people meet with other neighbors to visit different altars, sing songs and exchange gifts. It is customary for the “gritería” to end only when there are no more people singing or there are no more gifts to give.

The 25th of December is usually celebrated with a traditional meal consisting of baked bread, rice and nacatamal (corn porridge dish).


known as “pesebres” in other parts of the world.

Giving small gifts under a fictional name throughout December is also popular in this country. On Christmas Eve, you tell the person who their secret boyfriend was.

Catholics typically attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve, ending around 1 a.m.

Salads, rice with sultanas, pork, ham and fresh fruit are among the most popular Christmas dishes in Brazil.


Christmas is a very special time that is celebrated in many ways.

Each country has its own traditions, although most countries try to bring families and friends together.

In this sense, coffee plays a fundamental role, because it is the perfect element to accompany the different moments of Christmas.