December 14, 2016

The World’s Quirkiest Christmas Traditions

Santas at the beach

Christmas is celebrated around the globe, but that doesn’t mean there’s a fat man in a red suit going down billions of chimneys. The holiday has evolved into every type of custom imaginable, some a bit stranger than others. Check out some of the most interesting Christmas traditions worldwide. Who knows, maybe you can even adopt one this year.


On December 8th, Catalonians pull out there Tió de Nadal, or “pooping log”, and feed it each night leading up to Christmas Eve. When the special night comes, children gather around the log and beat it with sticks, singing “poop log…If you don’t poop well, I’ll hit you with a stick, poop log!” Finally, the blanket is lifted off of the log to reveal all of the presents it pooped out. Maybe wipe off that toy before you play with it…

Tio de Nadal

Photo courtesy of Flickr | Valerie Hinojosa


According to legend, a horned monster named Krampus enters the homes of naughty children, and beats them with birch sticks. The worst of the bunch are then pulled down to the underworld for punishment. Austrians now participate in the “Krampus Run”, where 100s of people dress as devils and run through the streets. We’ll take a lump of coal instead, thanks.

Krampus Run in Austria

Photo courtesy of Flickr | tribp


Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan–only 1% of the population is even Christian–but they still have a fascinating Christmas tradition. Each Christmas Eve, droves of families trek to their local KFC for a fried chicken Christmas dinner. This is all thanks to an extremely successful marketing campaign that KFC ran in Japan in 1974. Ever since, it’s been Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!….”Kentucky for Christmas!”.

Colonel Sanders Japan

Photo Courtesy of Flickr | rumpleteaser


Whereas we’re scrambling around on Christmas Eve trying to make the house impeccably clean for guests, tidying up in Norway is strictly forbidden. Brooms, mops, and brushes are locked in the cupboards, otherwise witches and evil spirits may fly off with them and cause mayhem. No chores allowed? We can live with that. 

Bunch of brooms

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


In Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, streets are closed off so the masses can roller skate to church on Christmas morning. They bring shoes to wear at mass, but don’t put them on until they roll down the aisle to their pews. After church, families open up their homes to share coffee and tostadas with their neighbors.

Roller Skates Christmas

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay | Unsplash

Czech Republic

Tired of being lonely during the holidays? In the Czech Republic, single women stand with their back to the front door and throw a shoe behind their shoulder. If the shoe lands with the toe facing the door, you’re predicted to be married within the next year! Who knew it was that easy?

Czech woman tossing shoe

Image Courtesy of


Step aside, Christmas goose. In Greenland, locals enjoy the traditional Kiviak dish, which is a dead seal stuffed with about 500 dead birds, preferably auks. The stuffed seal is then left to ferment under a rock for several months. Come Christmas, the seal is retrieved and the birds’ juices are devoured like candy. So who’s coming to Christmas dinner?


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


According to Greek myth, tiny goblins (Kallikantzaroi) live at the center of the Earth, and work all year to chop down “The World Tree”. During the 12 days of Christmas, they come to the earth’s surface and wreak havoc. To stop them from coming down the chimney, large logs are placed in the fireplace and burned from Christmas Eve to January 6th. When they return to the center of the earth, The World Tree is fully regrown. Maybe next year, goblins!

Christmas log in fireplace

Photo Courtesy of Flickr | William Warby

South Africa

On Christmas Day, South Africans munch on deep-fried Emperor Moth caterpillars. It’s not clear how this tradition got started, but it may have something to do with the festive colors that line the back of the bug. And you thought fruitcake was chewy. 


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

These traditions are cool, but nothing beats the custom of sitting at home in pajamas and ordering gifts online. If you’re ready to make your Christmas shopping easier than ever, you’re ready for the Universal Shopping Cart. You’ll never have to register for another store, or sit through another checkout. Now that’s a Christmas miracle.

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