This year, Schmutzli translated because Samichlaus spoke only English. From England to Norway, Burgundy to Bavaria, Rome to the top of the Swiss Alps, locals brimming with holiday cheer celebrate Christmas in seven European countries, including a very memorable Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter's in Rome. To celebrate the season, I’m sharing clips, extras, and behind-the-scenes notes from Rick Steves’ European Christmas. The festive swirl of heartwarming sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas abound in the land where the season's most-loved carol, "Silent Night," was first performed over 200 years ago: Austria. No European traditions except we make homemade pizza on Christmas Day. As they cooked the goose, invited the grandparents, hung out under the mistletoe and so on, we were right there — on the carpet, in the kitchen, and under the tree with our cameras rolling. But the evening just felt stiff. Scheduling was also tricky. Merry Christmas! We had a lot of fun last night at our Monday Night Travel event! We hope you can enjoy "Rick Steves' European Christmas" this holiday season on your public television station. England came through royally. We included France hoping to show off the rich (and tasty) traditions of a great culture the challenges so many Americans. Experience the fun, conviviality, intimacy, and spontaneity of joining Rick in his living room as he shares his personal, inspirational, and … Today we travel to London, which offers Christmas fun fit for a queen and streets twinkling with joy. ©2021 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | High in Switzerland, the mighty Alps seem to shout the glory of God. First — like a video Advent calendar — we have lots more windows to open, peeking in on families and cultures and countries as Christmas approaches. But we did manage to go to the self-proclaimed Christmas capital of Norway and take part in Santa Lucia Day, which brings everyone out to dance around the trees...with their crowns of real candles. After considering everywhere from Poland to Greece to Ireland, we settled on seven cultures: England is so perfectly jolly and ye olde, with a Dickensian ambience and a wonderful tradition of caroling. I simply had to get snow in the Alps... and just barely did. Racing back into Salzburg to salvage something of Christmas Eve, we hiked to the abbey where Maria of The Sound of Music caused her fellow sisters to sing, "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" This was not a "happy holidays" sales gimmick, but a true celebration of Christmas. Up here, where villages huddle under towering peaks, Christmas fills a … We succeeded, learning about Epiphany, Advent wreaths, the origin of St. Nicholas, the pagan roots of so many Christian traditions, and all those fascinating cultural differences. To celebrate the season, I’m sharing clips, extras, and behind-the-scenes notes from Rick Steves’ European Christmas. The TV Special: Experience Christmas with Rick Steves in England, Norway, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland! It premiered on September 3, 2000; since then a total of 10 seasons and 129 episodes have been produced and broadcast in syndication. (Other shows I'd watched where the host was without family seemed almost mournful.). As the recent commercialization of the holiday season has driven me abroad for several recent Christmasses, I was happy to take our crew to a continent where people aren't counting the shopping days left until Christmas. Since we were footing the bill, we encouraged each family to pull out all the stops and put on a blow-out Christmas to remember…and they all did. They took me dashing through the fields in a two-horse open sleigh. Up here, where villages huddle under towering peaks, Christmas fills a … With the crew double-parked in the dark, I ran in, found the director, pleaded my case…and he said, “Ya, sure.” We finished setting up just minutes before show time. Then, at the door of their gingerbread-cute yet massive home, the entire family greeted us with a Christmas yodel.