In the US, families love to set out treats for Santa on Christmas Eve.
Most churches also hold candlelight services or midnight mass, which often include reenactments of the Nativity.
In Canada, families often open presents on Christmas Eve after mass. Others only open one and save the rest for Christmas Day.
Many French Canadians have a huge feast after Christmas Eve mass, called a Réveillon, which lasts into the wee hours of Christmas morning.
The fast typically lasts until after evening service or when the stars come out. After the fast, some might eat a traditional Russian dish called kutya. Kutya consists of grains, honey, and poppy seeds, shared from the same bowl to symbolize unity. No meat is allowed.
Christmas apples wrapped in cellophane are a popular holiday gift in China, which is said to be because the word "apple" sounds similar to "Christmas Eve" in Mandarin.
A huge seafood and pasta dinner is tradition for Italians on Christmas Eve. The tradition of serving seven different seafood dishes stems from the Roman Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Christmas Eve.
In Denmark, people celebrate Christmas Day on December 24. The Danish also countdown to Christmas using Advent wreaths. Wreaths feature four candles, one candle lit every one of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Eve.
Whereas many picture Christmas as a cozy, snowy holiday, Australians experience Christmas in the middle of summer. Australians often have cold Christmas dinners, and on Christmas Eve, fish markets are packed with people hoping to stock up on seafood before the holiday. Apparently pavlova is also a must as a Christmas dessert.
Beginning on December 16, children in Mexico go door-to-door asking if there's a symbolic "room at the inn," and on Christmas Eve, they are invited in to celebrate. The tradition is called posadas, and it concludes in Christmas parties full of food, drinks, and pinatas.
In Norway, families light a candle every night starting on Christmas Eve and ending on New Year's Day. Norwegians also often exchange presents on Christmas Eve.
The gifts are brought by Santa Claus or by small gnomes called Nisse, folkloric characters historically responsible for the prosperity of the farm and family who began being thought of as the bearers of Christmas gifts in the mid 19th century.
Iceland has the tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve then spending the evening reading them. The holiday season starts off with the delivery of the Bokatidindi, which is a catalogue of every single book published in Iceland. The tradition began in during WWII. Paper was one of the few commodities not rationed, and Icelanders could indulge in their love of books (and in giving books as gifts) as they weren't in short supply.