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Christmas in Latin America – statistics & facts

From “posadas” in Mexico to “novenas” in Colombia, Christmas in Latin America is full of diverse celebrations and unique traditions. Rarely understated, the traditionally Christian holiday is celebrated among close family members or extended relatives around decorated trees, nativity scenes, gifts, and big feasts. According to a 2019 survey, nearly three out of ten people in Latin America considered Christmas dinner their biggest priority when going Christmas shopping. Christmas presents only came as the second main concern. However, with a region as diverse as Latin America, Christmas customs and consumer behavior greatly varies from one Latin American market to another, ranging from more indoor winter celebrations in Mexico to summer blowouts in Brazil or Argentina.


In Argentina, dinner, presents, and the Christmas tree are some of the most essential features when celebrating Christmas Eve. In 2019, food and beverage made up the largest sales share of small and medium-sized businesses before Christmas. More so, the average Christmas tree spending (including decorations) amounted to almost nine thousand Argentine pesos, making artificial trees the preferred type to set up at home.


With the largest population in the region, the Portuguese-speaking giant was estimated to generate nearly 38 billion Brazilian reals from retail sales during the 2020 Christmas season. Particularly, e-commerce sales have thrived in recent years. In 2019, Christmas online sales in Brazil generated almost 3.8 billion reals in revenue. According to a survey, most Brazilians intended to purchase Christmas presents and no less than 70 percent preferred to give clothes and shoes as Christmas gifts.


For many Colombians, Christmas season starts on December 7th with the celebration of “The Day of the Little Candles”. However, most Colombians start preparing even farther beforehand for Christmas holidays. In 2020, nearly 60 percent of Colombian respondents planned to do their Christmas shopping as early as November. Similarly to Brazil, clothing and accessories are among the most popular products to give as presents, and a higher-than-ever number of shoppers intended to do their Christmas shopping online, likely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


As one of the few Latin American countries celebrating the end of the year during winter, Christmas traditions and celebrations in Mexico are focused on family and friends. In 2020, over 90 percent of Mexican survey respondents planned to celebrate this holiday in a home venue among their beloved ones. And just as other countries in the region, Christmas dinner tops all other priorities when it comes to Christmas shopping in Mexico. In fact, the largest share of Christmas spending among Mexicans is devoted to food, rather than gifts or clothing. Although traditional meals for this season differ from state to state, the most common dishes include tamales, pozole, and turkey.


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