As the New Year and Christmas have just passed almost everywhere, but in my country X-mas hasn't come yet,I am interested in customs and traditions you have in your country. :)
In Poland Christmas is preceded by many days of preparations. Shops are full of people buying presents and food for Christmas dinner. People buy Chistmas trees and set up in their homes.
Although it is not correct concerning Catholic theology, the most important day for Poles is the day preceding Christmas - "Wigilia". When the first star appears in the sky, people take their seats at the Christmas table. The table is covered with a white tablecloth and hay is pread under it.
Traditionally there should be twelve dishes during "Wigilia". The most popular dishes are red borsch and cabbage with mushrooms, fish. There is also a custom of giving presents and you can find your present under the Christmas tree.
At midnight many people go to the church to attend a special mass during wich Christmas carols are sung.
The first and the second day of Christas is spent at home.
Above I wrote about tipical Christmas celebrated by most of Poles. As I am not Roman-Catholic but evangelical Christian I spend this time in a different way. Catholicism in Poland is mostly conected with a culture of nation and not with a personal faith. Most of Catholics in Poland celebrate the public sphere of religion and olny perform a religious ceremonies. But they are not devoted to Christ as personal saviour who can change all human's life. Therefore I prefere spend this time with family for praying and reading the Bible.
In Italy (in particulary in Sicily) Christmas is very important. like in Spanish we have a dinner on the 24th December and we wait the midnight. Who attend church goes to the church to prat and to wait there. the the 25th we have lungh with all the familiar and we stay togheter. on the other evening we play and we go out:)
Poorly those foreigners only like Taipei and there are no entertainments for Christams so that those customes are only for certain shops or supermarkets represent global warming.
Why? Is it because you are orthodox christian? Here in Spain it is common to have a dinner with the family in the 24th of December, and then to have a lunch with the family too the 6th of January. Actually, most of the people that I know and I are atheistics, so I don't know what Christian people do in my country in those days :)