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UNUSUAL Holiday Traditions

In the USA, a traditional Christmas includes a manger and angels, Santa Claus and his reindeer, and trees decorated with tinsel and ornaments. Other countries often celebrate quite differently. Here are just a few of the unusual traditions from around the world.

Austria, Bad Santa Children beware a ghoulish creature called Krampus—the evil accomplice to St. Nicholas—who wanders the streets in search of badly behaved children. Expect to see masked figures of him terrifying children and adults about the streets during the month of December.

Ukraine, A Cobweb Christmas Using items found in nature to decorate a Christmas tree is quite common, but in the Ukraine, trees are decorated to appear covered with spiders’ webs shimmering with dew. The inspiration for the tradition comes from the tale of a widow who had no money to decorate a tree for her children. As legend goes, on the night of Christmas Eve the spiders that lived in the house took pity on the widow and spun beautiful webs all over the tree for all to find Christmas morning.

Finland, Festive Sauna In Finland it is common to have a home with a sauna in it, however, at Christmas time this cozy spot becomes a special place for the family’s long past ancestors. On Christmas Eve the family strips down for a long sit in the sauna, which is where the legendary sauna elf lives, before heading out for an evening of celebrations. Meanwhile, it is said, the spirits of their past ancestors then take their place in the sauna.

The Netherlands, Shoes by the Fire We think of stockings hung by the fire when we think of Christmas, but a shoe? Every year leading up to December 5th children that live in the Netherlands will place their shoes by the fire in hopes that Sinterklaas will fill them up with gifts. Tradition is to receive carrots—unless you were naughty. Then you would receive a potato in lieu of gifts.

South Africa, Fried Caterpillars Ham, sweet potatoes, green beans all seem like a traditional Christmas dish, however, fried caterpillars are what the local children of South Africa look forward to for their Christmas dish. This is not your typical caterpillar—this is the caterpillar from the Pine Tree Emperor Moth also known as the Christmas caterpillar. They say all who eat them will have a little extra luck in the coming year.


If you have an unusual Christmas tradition, tell us about it on our Facebook page @NaturalNJ.

These are just a few listed from the article Unusual Christmas Traditions from Around the World by Abi Silvester. Check out the full article at



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