Addressing the elephant in the room

15 interesting, fun, weird and downright gross Christmas traditions from around the World

Christmas traditions

I thought with Christmas coming in just 4 days it would be fun to see how the rest of the World celebrates Christmas. Below are 15 interesting, fun, weird and downright gross Christmas traditions from around the world.

Christmas traditions in East African countries such as Kenya and Uganda are much more religious and less commercial than our western holiday. The most common gift is a new outfit to wear to church, and many people collect stones, leaves, and other natural items as a birthday present for Jesus. Roasted goats are often the center of the Christmas feast.

The candy cane’s origins can be traced back to Europe circa 1670, but it didn’t appear in the U.S. until the 1800s. They were generally all white until the 1900s, when they took on a shape representing Jesus’ hook for shepherding his lambs and colors representing purity (white) and Christ’s sacrifice (red).

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Sushi rice and miso soup may all sound like healthy Japanese foods.It may come as a surprise to know that family Christmas traditions in Japan include eating their big holiday meal at fast food giant KFC!

According to legend, the first person to decorate a Christmas tree was Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546). He was so moved by the beauty of stars shining between branches of a fir tree, he brought one home and decorated it with candles for his children.

Germans made the very first artificial Christmas trees, using dyed goose feathers to look like needles of a pine or fir tree.

The Christmas tradition of hanging stockings allegedly began with three poor sisters who couldn’t afford a marriage dowry. The wealthy Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna (modern-day Turkey) saved them from a life of prostitution by sneaking down their chimney and filling their stockings with gold coins.

Christmas customs don’t come much weirder than in Catalonia, where the “Christmas Crapper” is an annual tradition. Statues of famous figures doing their bathroom business are believed to bring hope, prosperity, and fertility in the year to come.

Puritan Oliver Cromwell made Christmas illegal in England from 1647-1660, claiming it was immoral to hold a celebration on one of the year’s holiest days.

In spite of Ethiopias Christian heritage, Christmas is not an important holiday there. Most people actually call the holiday Ganna or Genna after a hockey-like ball game played only once a year, on Christmas afternoon.

Early illustrations of Santa Claus pictured him as a stern, commanding disciplinarian holding a birch rod. The jolly old elf we know and love today was created by artist Haddon Sundblom for a Coca-Cola ad.

Christmas traditions


In Venezuela worshipers attend Mass around Christmas time. Caracas residents have the strange tradition of riding roller skates to mass.





Greenland has to win the prize for the worst Christmas dish since fruit cake (sorry I know some people like fruit cake). Kiviak is 500 dead auk birds rapped in a seal skin and left to ferment for 7 months. Nothing like dead rotten fermented birds for Christmas.

Christmas traditions

Yum Yum


In the Ukraine they decorate the Christmas tree with spider and webs instead of tinsel and ornaments.

In Italy children wait for a friendly witch named Befana who delivers treats and gifts on January 5th.

And apparently the old getting a lump of coal story comes from England. In England Santa leaves a present in the stocking of good children and a lump of coal in the stocking of bad children.

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