As we get closer to the jolly holiday season, we can't help but feel the anticipation building. If you have a little one who's about to experience their very first Christmas, you're in for a treat! While we adore our traditional roast dinners, complete with pigs in blankets, Brussels sprouts, and a cheeky Yorkshire pudding (especially for our Northern families), we're taking you on a global exploration to see how different countries celebrate Christmas. 
Gratitude and Grand Parades 
In the USA, the festive season of course kicks off with Thanksgiving, a time for families to come together with a turkey feast as the star of the show. It's a day to express gratitude for life's little blessings and cherish time with loved ones. Parades, like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, are something of a spectacle for most Americans featuring giant character balloons and celebrity performances, setting the stage for the Christmas season. Let's also not forget the incredible movie-worthy home decorations! 
Magical Christmas Markets 
Now, let's hop across to Germany, where Christmas markets or Weihnachtsmärkte are ready to make anybody's holiday dreams come true. These markets truly transform towns and cities into winter wonderlands of their own, with twinkling lights and local crafts stalls. For those of you eager to experience a bit of German-style Christmas magic closer to home, we've got you covered! Here's a list of five fantastic German-inspired markets right here on our own doorstep: 
● Birmingham Christmas Market 
● Edinburgh's Christmas 
● Manchester Christmas Markets 
● Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London 
● Leeds German Christmas Market 
Savoring the Panettone 
As we all know too well here in the UK, it's about the early morning rush of gift opening, but in Italy, Christmas Eve is the day that holds a different kind of charm. Families gather around the table for some delicious food while exchanging presents - also known as "La Vigilia" or "The Vigil”. It's a time when families come together, put out the ‘presepe’ and head to where it all really starts…the kitchen! In celebration of this foodie-driven country, we've prepared a gorgeous authentic Italian recipe for you to try at home... 
500g bread flour 
10g active dry yeast 
150g sugar 
200g candied fruit 
100g raisins 
3 large eggs 
120ml warm milk 
120g butter 
Zest of one lemon and one orange 
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm milk. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until frothy. 
Add the eggs, flour, and butter, and mix until you have a smooth dough. 
Fold in the candied fruit, raisins, and citrus zest. 
Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a panettone mold or a tall, round baking tin. Let it rise for a couple of hours until it doubles in size. 
Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F), and bake the panettone for about 45-50 minutes. 
Once it's golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped, it's ready to enjoy! 
At Wellies Day Nursery, we're all about sharing the wonders of different cultures and traditions with your little ones. As we approach the Christmas period, we can't wait to celebrate with your family. Stay tuned for more festive fun and tips coming to our socials throughout November and December! 
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