Brazilians start celebrating the Christmas season on Christmas day, and keep going until early February when Carnival ends. Brazilians often say the entire country is on vacation during this time, which isn’t far from the truth.
It may not be obvious to everyone why the Christmas season starts on Christmas day, unlike much of the northern hemisphere where year end parties, celebrations, and gift purchasing starts at the end of November and continues until Christmas Eve. It boils down to a couple of simple reasons. Brazilians don’t focus a lot of attention on gift giving, they like to celebrate Christmas with family and friends, much like thanks giving is celebrated in the US. Christmas is in the middle of summer, not winter, and finally the school year ends right before Christmas, for summer vacation! Christmas is actually the start of summer, summer vacation, the end of the year, and beginning of most employee vacation time. The entire country is literally on vacation during this time, enjoying the hot summer days and warm summer nights.
Christmas trees aren’t as popular, most likely due to the nature of keeping a tree alive in 100F weather! Nativity sets are a common replacement. Bright flowers and blossoming trees are often decorated with white lights. Finally, sweaters are replaced with bikini’s.
One of the most sought after vacation destinations by Brazilians is Gramado. I have spent a lot of time in Gramado and written about Gramado as a Vacation Destination. Geographically speaking, Gramado is a small town in the mountains of Southern Brazil. The real draw of Gramado is how it really celebrates Christmas with great gusto. Gorgeous decorations, Christmas lights everywhere and daily Christmas events. The city also offers Brazilians a small escape from the extreme weather most of the country experiences during this time. Gramado is usually the coldest place in Brazil during Christmas, even though shorts and t-shirts are still required!
Traveling through Brazil during this time can be fairly expensive as this is the high season. Flights, hotels and car rentals are all at a premium and often sold out. If you’re planning on booking a trip during the Christmas season, make sure you book in advance.
Christmas in Brazil is something you’ll never forget and well worth the journey. The endless parties, celebrations and beach goers make this an amazing Christmas destination, even if it’s a little different from how many of us have always spent out Christmases!