5 crazy Christmas traditions from around the world

Published December 24th, 2012

Whether it be taking bets on how long it takes for granddad to fall asleep or holding an annual prawn eating competition, every family has their crazy Christmas traditions. Some however, are crazier than others. In the spirit of Christmas we set about finding some of the world’s craziest Christmas traditions and were very perplexed/scared/amused with what we found. Here are some of the strangest:


In Austria Santa has an evil twin called Krampus

Thank God I didn’t grow up in Austria because Krampus scares the bejesus out of me! Though there is little family resemblance, Krampus is Santa’s scary beast-like twin, and according to folklore, was thought to punish naughty children during the Christmas season. To keep the fear of kids alive, on the evening of the 5th of December, people dress up as Krampus and wander the streets scaring the crap out of kids. Terrifying!


In the UK Christmas puddings make wishes come true

If you are celebrating Christmas in the UK this year then don’t forget to make a wish when making pudding. As the tradition goes, every member of the house should make a wish while stirring the pudding. Silver coins are also often put in the pudding mixture and are said to bring wealth to the person who has it in their piece.


Christmas_Nutcrakers_shutterstock_67856611 Christmas around the world

In Norway people hide their brooms

In Norway, Christmas isn’t all about Santa and presents and eating. It’s also a time when the evil spirits and witches are about. In order to ward off such scary stuff, most Norwegians hide their brooms on Christmas Eve. Because logic would tell you that with no broom, those pesky witches have got nothing.  Good work logic.


In Italy, a witch named La Befana brings kids presents

While Norway wards off witches at Christmas, Italy embraces them with open arms. Contrary to what Santa may tell you, he doesn’t deliver presents to all the kids in the world. Due to time restraints he skips Italy and leaves the gift giving up to La Befana, a cheerful witch who hands out presents to all the kids of Italy and even sweeps the floor before she leaves.


In Japan KFC is the traditional dinner

While many families would see ordering KFC for Christmas dinner as the lazy person’s option, the fast and fried chicken is the height of tradition in Japan. A result of effective Christmas advertising and a lack of large ovens, KFC over the years has become the customary Christmas meal, with many locals making reservations and ordering their value meals well in advance to ensure their Christmas is full of fried chicken.



Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.