Strange And Wonderful Christmas Holiday Traditions



Heat up some hot cocoa and light the fireplace ‘cause the holiday season is here. If you’re looking to spice up your Christmas traditions, then look no further than this blog post. I trekked across the globe and found some pretty unique traditions you may want to try… or not!


The first step to getting “festive” or “in the spirit” is decorating. Some people first put up the Christmas tree and ornaments the weekend or the day after Thanksgiving.  Here is what others do…

Ukrainians just stretch some artificial spider webs onto their trees and call it a day.  Tales state a Ukrainian widow couldn’t decorate her tree so spiders decorated it with webs. If this is the route you want to take, just use some of your Halloween decorations and call it good.

Due to the absence of fir and pine trees, those who celebrate Christmas in India opt to use banana or mango trees instead.

Italy and Norway also seem a little confused on whether it’s Christmas or Halloween, at least by America’s standards. The Italian alternative to Santa Claus is a witch that rides in on a broomstick with presents, and in contrast, children from Norway hide their brooms and don’t do chores on Christmas Eve to prevent theft by evil witches and spirits.

While most Americans have ham or roast beast (ala The Grinch) for Christmas dinner, the rest of the world has other ideas. In South Africa, caterpillars can kiss their dreams of becoming butterflies goodbye.  Deep fried caterpillars of the emperor moth are a South African Christmas delicacy.  And the Japanese know how to avoid the stress of cooking, since 1974 they have been eating at KFC on Christmas Eve.

In Venezuela natives travel to early church services during the festive period on roller skates, roads are closed for safety.

And while my siblings and I begged to open a gift before Christmas morning, in Germany, you just have to be the lucky kid that finds the pickle in the tree.  The first child to discover it receives a small gift.

Canada Post acknowledges mail sent to Santa Claus’ address and replies as Santa.

Father Christmas Traditions

  • The Yule Lads: Children in Iceland are visited by 13 Yule lads, mischievous trolls who leave a gift every night for 13 days.
  • Hoteiosho: (Japan) Is a Buddhist monk with a large belly and a sack of toys. He has eyes in the back of his head to see how children behave.
  • Sinterklaas: (Netherlands) A very similar figure to Santa Claus but instead of elves he has the help of Zwarte Piet and rides a horse.
  • La Befana: (Italy) La Befana: The Italian Christmas witch rides a broom stick placing sweets and toys in good children’s shoes and coal in bad ones.
  • Jultomten: (Sweden): Said to look like St. Nicholas, a goat and a gnome, he distributes presents to children much like Father Christmas.

We all have our holiday traditions, and no tradition is superior to the next. If you don’t have any family or friend traditions, then consider starting your own traditions – globally inspired.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *