Germanic countries like Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Switzerland have long been hailed as the progenitors of most modern Christmas traditions such as the Christmas tree, holly mistletoe, and the exchange of gifts among others. It is believed that most of these traditions are carried over from the pagan winter festival called Yule .
It may come as a surprise but from 1917 to 1992 Christmas was banned in the Soviet Union as a heretical celebration. In fact many sects of Christians like Jehovah's witnesses have gone so far as to prove that Christmas was in no way sanctioned by the Bible and is therefore a pagan festival.
Of course you are no doubt aware that in the southern hemisphere Christmas is during the summer. So Australians celebrate Christmas in the blistering heat of the December sun. However, over the years, that has had very little effect on the common perception so Australians will still exchange Christmas cards that portray snow falling and Santa in a red hot stuffy coat for that weather for sure! Yet, they do have their own peculiar customs like Santa surfing on Bondi Beach, it's quiet a bit of fun really.