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Christmas and new year

Tenby boxing day swim


Around the world, he’s known by many names, Santa, St Nicholas, Father Christmas. In China, he’s called Dun Che Lao Ren (“Christmas Old Man”). Did you know that in Welsh he’s called Siôn Corn? (A direct translation to English would be “John Chimneypot”). Of course, English speakers in Wales use Santa or Father Christmas.

In Wales, as in many other countries, Christmas is one of the main celebrations of the year. It is a time for friends, family and giving.

There’s plenty of opportunities to shop for that ideal Christmas gift. We've lots of modern shopping centres, as well as Christmas markets selling unique crafts, food and drink. 

While many of our Christmas celebrations, carol services, nativity plays, Christmas trees and present giving are common with other countries, we also have our uniquely Welsh traditionsPlygain – singing early on Christmas Day and Noson Gyflaith – for those with a sweet tooth. 

New Year

People celebrate New Year in a variety of ways, including seeing the New Year in with family or friends. 

New Year's Resolutions

Every New Year, lots of people in Wales promise to give something up, or perhaps try something new, for the year ahead. The New Year seems a good place to make a new start! However, it needn’t just be about giving things up, it could be about trying something new, perhaps visit somewhere new or start a new hobby?

Visit one of Wales' UNESCO World Heritage sites. In fact, you could go to all three! 

Take a ride on the longest and fastest zip wire ride in Northern Europe - if you have a head for heights, then ZipWorld is a great place to go. Take a look at our Extreme Sports page for a range of other items.

Learn to speak Welsh - if you would like to learn the language, we've some tips that can help you get started.


New Year is a time for traditionsMari Lwyd, a mid-winter tradition particularly associated with the New Year, and Calennig are both old traditions in Wales.

Fun runs taking place in winter include the Nos Galan Races. The races take place each New Year's eve and commemorate the Welsh runner Guto Nyth Bran. Other fun runs include the Christmas Santa and Elf Dash in Cardiff Bay.

Most of us in the UK and western world celebrate New Year on 1 January. In the Gwaun Valley, Pembrokeshire people celebrate 'Hen Galan' on 13 January.