European holiday traditions
3:16 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Celebrate Christmas in Seven Countries with Rick Steves

Watch Rick Steves' European Christmas on WV PBS.2 (where available) on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.

Christmas in Germany with Rick Steves
Christmas in Germany with Rick Steves
Credit Rick Steves

From manger scenes to mistletoe from Norway to Rome...Rick Steves and his family and crew are celebrating all over the Continent. Buon Natale! Frohliche Weihnachton! Joyeaux Noel! Merry Christmas! And thanks for joining us.

In melting pot America Christmas is celebrated year after year with traditions that came over on the boat with our ancestors. In this holiday special we're traveling back to the old country — to places of rich variety and deep roots. We'll explore the history behind our much-loved traditions. Joining friends and families across Europe, we'll discover a Christmas that is both familiar and different.

England is filled with voices singing in the season. The short days around the solstice bring Norwegians out to celebrate the light of Christmas. Families, friends, and food are the center piece of the French Noel. An angelic Christmas presence fills Germany and Austria with magical wonder. Italy reveals the sacred nature of the season, from it's countryside to its holiest shrines. Nature and all its wintry glory seems to shout out the joy of the season in Switzerland. And everywhere Christmas is celebrated with family, including my own, as together Europe remembers the quiet night that that holiest family came to be.

While each European culture gives Christmas its own special twist, they all follow the same story of how the son of God was born on earth — as told in the Bible and illustrated over the centuries by great artists.

Get recipes featured in this show, view a slideshow of photos and more.