Christmas around the World

Instead of posting People of the World this week, we decided to post about how people celebrate Christmas around the globe. Hope you enjoy! Happy holidays from the Danckie sisters!

Author: SDanck

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, this year to save me from tears, I’m giving you a blog post about Christmas traditions.

That’s how the song goes, right? No? There’s a dance that goes along with this song but it mostly consists of me drinking coffee and telling KDanks I’ll finish the blog post in time. TBH, I guess you can say the choreography is very similar to the one in Mean Girls.

Except in sweatpants.

And a Ponytail.

And by dancing, I mean I’m sitting on the couch with wine.  Whatever, my dance is so fetch.

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Ah, Christmas.  The time of year that Mariah Carey sings until your ears bleed and Michael Buble crawls out of his cave to spread Christmas cheer.

The time of year where it’s perfectly normal to see Santa hitting on Rudolph on the local ball crawl.

The time of year where your ugly sweaters are appropriate again. The time of year where we’re all fine with the idea of a red clad stranger breaking into our houses, eating our food and leaving random shit for us.

Ah, Christmas in the USA; a beautiful time of year.  

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Christmas traditions can be really beautiful but also really weird. I love traveling to learn about other cultures and traditions and what better traditions to learn about than the ones surrounding Christmas?  

USA

So I have already described some of the very well known Christmas traditions, but can we address the whole Santa and his little elf helpers? It’s weird af to think there’s an old man at the North Pole watching us 24/7 to see if we’re naughty or nice.  Do I love the idea of some random person leaving me gifts? Hell yes.  Do I love the idea of being judged for all of my bad life decisions? No, because hungover me judges me enough.

At holiday parties, be prepared to hear that one cynical person who thinks they’re oh so clever announce  that Coca-Cola came up with our modern image of Santa Claus for an advertising campaign.  

Partially True. Saint Nick has been portrayed in red almost exclusively since the 19th century and the cartoonist, Thomas Nast, started to portray Saint Nick as round and jolly in the 1870s. In 1931, the artist, Haddon Sundblum, perfected the image of Saint Nick for Coca-Cola advertising purposes.

So, yes, Janice. You are kinda right. But mostly wrong. Go be get a glass of punch and be quiet.

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Austria

Some people like to spread Christmas cheer, while the Austrians like to scare the shit out of  get their children to behave. Krampus, the Christmas devil, goes around beating naughty children with branches. If you thought getting coal was extreme, imagine getting taken to the Underworld. He shows up on Krampusnacht (December 6th), which also happens to the the day St. Nicolas comes.

And Krampus doesn’t just visit Austrian homes. He’s also a German nightmare, where he has been roaming around for centuries.

Thanks, Austria & Germany, but I can live without this nightmare.

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Germany

I know everyone is obsessed with the Pickle tradition that apparently comes from Germany, but honestly my family has never and will never hang a pickle on our tree.  A green pickle does not match the silver bulbs that my meticulous mother has hung.  And Wikipedia, the most valid source of information, says basically no one in Germany has heard of this tradition.
The tradition that we do follow happens before Christmas day.  On December 5th, children place leave their shoes out for St. Nikolaus. St Nikolaus fills the shoes of good girls and boys with sweets and little toys.  If you’re naughty, you get a stick so your parents can beat you later. And in case that doesn’t horrify you enough…in some traditions, St Nikolaus travels around with Krampus or another figure who is his opposite.  Just a very casual reminder, that fear and horror lie behind everything nice.

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Italy

Instead of in St Nick or Santa Claus, the Italians believe that Befana, a friendly witch, brings children sweets and toys on January 5th. If it’s secretly Minerva McGonagall spreading Christmas cheer, I am definitely more on board for that instead of Mr Claus. #sorrynotsorry

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Norway

Norway has a different view of witches around the holidays. For some reason, these witches and evil spirits can’t use their legs to get around so Norwegians hide their brooms to make sure the evil spirits are stuck.

While the Norwegians are busy hiding their brooms, they also make sure to leave porridge out for Nisse, a mischievous barn gnome. He would assist farmers with their livestock and expect respect and porridge in return.  If the farmers failed to keep him happy, he would wreak havoc. So be nice or he’ll be your worst nightmare.  

For the longest time, I thought Kesha was my spirit animal but Nisse is sounding like another good candidate. Just add more glitter.  

Australia

So this only counts as a weird tradition because I am used to celebrating Christmas with a side of hot chocolate and the occasional frostbite.  If you’re spending Christmas in Australia, it’s summertime so you may see a Santa hat on a guy surfing.  While I will be munching on a nice ham roast, the Australian Christmas spread tends to have more seafood and barbecue.  When I’m saying the Australians have weird Christmas traditions, I’m saying I’m jealous. I was outside for five minutes walking to my office and am 99% sure that I have minor frostbite from the walk.  You guys have a pretty solid Christmas strategy, so I’m just here looking for an invite.   

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I could go on, but I think the summary of this article is that people are weird af and that weirdness tends to translate into some pretty ridiculous traditions.  What you probably think is a normal tradition is definitely not, but hey, it’s a great ice breaker and keeps shit interesting. Brightside, you’re tradition probably has nothing to do with the number two unless your from Catalonia.  

Catalans have a poop log and like to add a defectating figure to the Nativity scene. I’m sorry, Catalonia, but that tradition is too weird for me to get behind or write about. I’ll take Krampus any day over a poop log, thanks.

This was fun. I think I need to go have a bottle glass of wine to forget some of these.  Have any other Christmas traditions that you and your fam celebrate? Comment below so we can all judge appreciate each other’s weird af special traditions.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Bdanks says:

    Krampus is mostly in Bavaria. Knecht Ruprecht goes around with St. Nikolaus in other parts of Germany. He is not scary. But St.Nikolaus had a golden book and knows everything you do!
    On Christmas Eve the Christkind will visit and bring the main gifts and often, if children are still small, it also brings the decorated Christmas tree with real candles!

    Like

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