Q:

Which country celebrates Christmas first?

A:

Quick Answer

The first country to celebrate Christmas is New Zealand, due to their +13:45 time zone offset. When midnight hits on December 25 in New Zealand, it is only 5:15 a.m. Christmas Eve in New York, 10:15 a.m. in London on Christmas Eve, and only 9 p.m. in Sydney, Australia.

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Full Answer

Christmas in New Zealand comes in the middle of the summer season, unlike in the United States where some states are cold and covered in snow. The celebration in the country is similar to that of the U.S. There are Santa parades, decorated Christmas trees in most homes and Christmas presents exchanged in the early morning before a large feast is served.

One of the noted differences between New Zealand Christmas celebrations and the celebrations found in the U.S. is the food traditionally served that day. Most people in New Zealand partake of a Christmas lunch instead of dinner. The food commonly served includes roast chicken, barbecue shrimp, venison, roast lamb, coleslaw and hot fruit pudding. Another big difference that is notable is the spotting of Santa Claus on the beach. During the warm climate, the jolly old man has been known to be spotted parasailing, surfing and catching a few rays in the warm sand. Merry Christmas is pronounced "Meri Kirihimete" in the Maori language.

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