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Christmas Traditions Around the World

21st November 2016

Although Christmas in Britain is all about the mince pies, Christmas pudding, paper crowns, and personalised Christmas cards, there’s a good chance that some of these well-loved traditions would seem foreign and unusual to someone from Japan or Venezuela.

Are you curious about how Christmas is celebrated in other parts of the world? Here’s a quick look at some of the fun and also unusual Christmas traditions from around the world.

Australia – Christmas picnics and BBQs

Picnics and BBQs are probably the last thing on your mind when Christmas comes around, but in Australia Christmas falls during the summer months, which makes it the perfect occasion for an outdoor celebration. Most Australians celebrate Christmas with a beach picnic or poolside BBQ, and are more likely to feast on prawns and cold beer than roast turkey and hot buttered rum.

Iceland – 13 Yule Lads

Who needs Father Christmas when you have the 13 Yule Lads? In Iceland, kids leave their shoes on the window ledge each night in the 13 days leading up to Christmas. Each of the 13 Yule Lads has his own distinct personality, and every night a different one will turn up and leave small gifts and candy, or in the case of naughty children, a rotten potato.

Germany – Christmas markets

There’s probably nothing more Christmassy than the German ‘Weinachtsmarkt” or Christmas market. Christmas markets usually start in late November, and visiting one is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit, stock up on unique gifts and personalised Christmas cards, and of course, sample traditional delicacies like spiced brätwurst and Glühwein.

Norway – Hide the brooms

Everyone knows that witches ride on broomsticks, which is why in Norway, families hide away any and all brooms on Christmas Eve to prevent them from being stolen by witches looking for a free ride. This goes hand in hand with other Norwegian Christmas traditions like putting on new clothes to greet the festive season and burning a Yule log.

Japan – KFC Christmas dinner

Until recently, Christmas wasn’t really celebrated in Japan since only about one percent of the population is Christian, but one tradition that seems to have stuck is eating Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas Eve. The reason for this somewhat bizarre ritual is a KFC ad campaign from 1974, which encouraged the Japanese to enjoy “Kentucky for Christmas.” These days some people even order their KFC Christmas dinner months in advance to avoid the long queues on the day itself.

Venezuela – Roller skating

Why drive when you can roller skate? In Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, many of the roads throughout the city are closed to traffic in the days leading up to Christmas, allowing thousands of churchgoers to make their way to Christmas Mass on roller skates. Before going to sleep, children even tie a piece of string to their big toe and dangle it from the window, allowing the skaters to give it a little tug as they pass.

Of course, this list only scratches the surface of all the fun and quirky Christmas traditions out there, as most countries have their own specific customs and ways of celebrating.

Are you planning to order your Christmas cards online this year? If so, check out the Bob Books photo card tool, which allows you to design your own Christmas card by adding personalised photos and text.