Christmas is a time for friends and family, receiving gifts, and most of all giving back. From decorating Christmas trees to decorating Christmas cookies and baking Christmas pudding, there are many festive things one can do during the holiday season. It’s interesting how people celebrate Christmas in many different ways around the world. Below we’ll show you 8 of our favorites.
1. Sledding with the Kids in Norway
Sledding is not just for kids — it’s also a favorite pastime for adults in Norway during Christmas time. Families gather on hills outside their homes and enjoy sliding down snowy slopes together. This tradition dates back hundreds of years when locals would use whatever was available to slide down hills — rocks, tree trunks, or even old furniture!
2. Caroling in Belgium and France
Caroling has been a popular tradition since medieval times when people sang religious songs door-to-door. Today, you’ll find street carolers singing festive songs like “Silent Night” in Belgium and France during December. If you get invited inside while they’re there, don’t be surprised if they expect a small gift as payment!
3. Mulled Wine in Germany
Mulled wine is a popular Christmas drink in Germany, and it looks like the Germans have been drinking it for centuries. It’s made by mixing mulling spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg with red wine and then heating it on the stovetop. Sometimes cider is used instead of wine, or both are combined. The hot drink is served warm in cups or mugs and topped with whipped cream or eggnog.
4. Austrian Christmas Demon
Krampus has been part of the Austrian Christmas tradition since at least the 16th century when he was said to be the companion of St Nicholas. According to legend, Krampus punishes naughty children by beating them with sticks. If they are good, however, he rewards them with candy and toys.
Today there are Krampus walks in many Austrian cities during December, where people dress up as this demon and roam the streets frightening children. It’s considered an important part of celebrating Advent in Austria.
5. Swedish Yule Goat
The Yule Goat is a Scandinavian tradition that dates back centuries and it’s one of the oldest surviving Christmas traditions today! According to legend, this goat was supposed to keep evil spirits away from homes during the Christmas season. It was originally made of straw but eventually evolved into being made out of wood. Since then, many families have kept their own Yule Goat in their houses during the holidays. The yule goat is said to bring good luck, wealth, and prosperity for the coming year.
6. A Parade in Bolivia
In Bolivia, the Christmas tradition involves people dressing up as ghosts, stars, elves, angels, snowflakes, reindeer, and other traditional figures associated with the holiday season. They visit houses during the night to deliver gifts to children who’ve been good all year long—and to scare those who haven’t! This tradition is also practiced in some other Latin American countries.
7. Christmas Eve KFC in Japan
The Japanese KFC, or Kentucky Fried Chicken, is famous for its unusual Christmas tradition. On the 24th of December, people flock to their local branch of KFC to get their hands on a special Christmas meal.
The reason? There’s no better way to celebrate Christmas Eve than with a chicken dinner from the Colonel.
Thanks to clever marketing in Japan, having a KFC on Christmas Eve is a popular tradition. You’d have to make a reservation if you want your Christmas chicken fix. When you arrive at the KFC restaurant for your holiday meal, you’ll be welcomed by a Colonel Sanders statue wearing a Santa outfit (it suits him, right?) and the chicken comes in special Christmas packaging so extra!
8. A Gift-giving Gnome in Denmark
In Denmark, people celebrate Christmas by setting up a “Nisse”, which is a small gnome that looks after houses during Christmas. Nissen brings gifts to children if they are good throughout the year or punishes them by stealing their treats if they misbehave.
There’s a whole other world of holiday celebrations out there. So get out there and spread some holiday cheer this season. You might just find that some of these traditions can make your home more festive and the holidays a little brighter.