5 Wacky Christmas Traditions Plus 31 Days of Giveaways – Day 5

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One of the most amazing things about traveling is that you get to experience cultures other than your own, and different ways of doing things are especially obvious during the holidays.

Here’s a look at 5 of the wackiest Christmas traditions from around the globe, plus how to enter today’s giveaway!

Caracas, Venezuela

Just about everyone in the city roller skates to Mass on Christmas morning. Even before 8am, many roads are blocked off to vehicles in anticipation of the event. Some children tie a string to their big toe and let the other end dangle all the way down to the road below, so that it is within arm’s reach of those passing by. Roller skaters the next morning give a gentle tug on the string as they glide through the streets.

Japan

Thanks to a campaign started in 1974, KFC Christmas dinners are a big thing in Japan. In fact, reader Penguin tipped me off as to how huge by saying, “Families race to reserve dinner sets and roast chicken in advance. Christmas dinners are marketed as romantic occasions for lovers, and hotels compete to attract couples.” What great advertising, as it sounds like all of Japan has embraced KFC as “the” Christmas dinner provider!

Catalonia, Spain

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Screengrab photo from Wikipedia

Catalonia has to have some of the oddest Christmas traditions of anywhere in the world. A cute little hollow log is given stick legs, a red hat and a painted face. Starting in early December, children cover the log at night to keep it warm and “feed” it (imaginary food, I suppose). On Christmas Day, the special little log is placed in the fireplace and beat with sticks so that it will um. expel gifts. The name of the log? Caga Tia, pooping log.

There’s also the matter of the Caganer, a curious figure found in their nativity scenes that appears to be…doing the same thing as the log.

Ukraine

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The last decoration to go on a Christmas tree in the Ukraine is…a fake spiderweb. According to legend, a family in poverty had no money for Christmas tree decorations. After they were fast asleep, spiders in the home decorated the tree with beautifully intricate webs. The family awoke in the morning to find the sun’s rays rising over the webbed branches which turned to silver and gold, leaving the family wanting for nothing. Nowadays, the people of Ukraine make sure to add a fake spider web or two to bring good luck to the coming year.

Do you have a wacky Christmas tradition or have you heard of one? To enter today’s contest for a box of goodies, leave a comment on this post about your wacky Christmas tradition (or one you’ve heard about) If you can’t think of anything, any comment will work. The contest ends at 9pm PST tonight, and you can click here for full contest details.

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  1. Dan
    Reply

    The weirdest tradition I know is the Christmas carp kept in a bathtub for days leading up to dinner. This is in Slovakia.

  2. Ryan K
    Reply

    Christmas tree alternatives can be pretty creative in Hawaii as actual Christmas trees are priced out the roof!

  3. James
    Reply

    My wife’s family opens presents on Christmas Eve, while growing up my family opened presents on Christmas Day. Wacky stuff!

  4. J.
    Reply

    The topic is new to me.

  5. Renee
    Reply

    Every Christmas Eve, we eat Little Caesar’s pizza (because by then we are broke) and watch Elf.

  6. thomas
    Reply

    Love your blog. Just saw the movie Krampus. That a scary tradition from the German Alps.

  7. Marcus
    Reply

    I don’t celebrate christmas, but I do love giveaways.

  8. TJ
    Reply

    Sinterklaas and zwarte piet!

  9. elizabeth
    Reply

    It’s going to be a beautiful day.

  10. Anita
    Reply

    The ongoing joke is to wrap up this ugly Elvis figurine and see who gets it as a gift. This doll has been passed around for 14 years now.

  11. Carrie Conrad
    Reply

    Our Christmas Tradition is for our extended family Christmas Party, everyone shows up in their Pajamas!

  12. Marcia
    Reply

    The opening of presents on Christmas Eve one still gets me as I was used to opening up presents on Christmas morning.

  13. Denise L
    Reply

    No wacky tradition here…but thanks for the giveaways all month long!

  14. Laura
    Reply

    No wacky traditions but hoping to start some with the kids!

  15. Lois
    Reply

    Many years ago the power went out on a stormy Christmas, my mom passes out toy musical instruments and we all played and sang carols. Although we have power the tradition still stands.

  16. Star j
    Reply

    Hiding brooms in Norway

  17. DaninMCI
    Reply

    How about major network TV stations in the USA showing The Sound of Music for Christmas. It has nothing to do with the holiday. That’s weird to me 🙂

  18. JRG
    Reply

    Pizza on Christmas can’t be beat!

  19. Jennifer
    Reply

    When we moved to Los Angeles from North Carolina, my Mom was aghast at the price of Christmas trees. ($20, as I recall.) So, we drove east to the desert and she collected a huge tumbleweed, put on gloves and stripped the smaller thornier bits away, leaving a skeleton, which she spray painted gold and hung from the ceiling. Presents were collected underneath it.

  20. icicle
    Reply

    Elf on the Shelf. The idea that there is an “elf” watching kids every move is creepy. Then add on to it the new trend of adults putting the Elf in scenarios and instagraming it for the world to see…wacky and weird. And scary too!

  21. Jonathan C
    Reply

    The witch that lands in the center of Piazza Navona in Rome on Christmas

  22. Dee
    Reply

    Long ago my mom found some beautiful large shells on the Padre Island seashore. She has used them every year to bake individual seafood dinners for us on Christmas. Lovely to look at and stuffed with good food!

  23. David L
    Reply

    No wacky traditions but I am enjoying reading everyone else’s.

  24. Ben
    Reply

    Not too wacky, but certainly not too traditional: spending Christmas in Abu Dhabi for many years meant mimosas on the beach before we opened our presents!

  25. Karrie
    Reply

    ok weird but I like to go out on Christmas Eve and go out to dinner and watch all the mad rushes of people last minute shopping on christmas eve

  26. Jennifer Hayden
    Reply

    Christmas is wacky this year. We will be in Disney for Christmas so no opening presents Christmas morning. We plan on trying lots of food in Epcot and trying to deal with the crowds.

  27. Robin
    Reply

    I never have understood the pickle on the Christmas tree.

  28. Amanda
    Reply

    In Norway, people hide their brooms so that evil spirits can’t find them and ride away on them!

  29. Amy C
    Reply

    We go to Waffle house on Christmas eve. Its one of the few places that all the kids and adults like

  30. CT
    Reply

    When my husband was growing up they always had spaghetti for Christmas dinner. The difference between Christmas spaghetti and spaghetti the rest of the year was that they got white pasta whereas the rest of the year it was whole wheat.

  31. Liz
    Reply

    In Sweden they eat the same food three days in a row

  32. Michael H.(oldfox)
    Reply

    I don’t know of any wacky traditions, but I really enjoyed reading about some in other cultures. I love the spider web tradition in Ukraine.

  33. Nathan
    Reply

    I heard about the KFC Japanese tradition last year. Brand marketing can really work.

  34. r Hirsch
    Reply

    wierdest thing I know ifs that my neighbors run a non-sponsored marathon every year on Xmas morning! they just map out a 26.1 mile course and GO!

  35. cori
    Reply

    No Wacky traditions here, but I think my son would like the idea of opening the gifts on Christmas Eve rather than waiting until Christmas Day!

  36. Rajee
    Reply

    I love Wacky traditions

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