This time of year is crazy in itself. While we all celebrate tradition in our own ways, family and friends are what makes the occasion special. Whether you exchange gifts, or just give thanks for the time you have, we all like to have as much fun as possible, doing it! Check out this list, of some of our favorite, exciting and unique ways that people connect with each other, this time of year!
Photo Credit - https://www.festivalsherpa.com/6-peculiar-and-amusing-christmas-rituals-from-across-the-world/
To keep things intresting in Venezuela during Christmas, on the night of the 24th, kids go to sleep with strings tied to their toes (with the other end hanging out a bedroom window). The next morning, residents will wake up, then lace up - they "roll" their way to Christmas mass, via rollarblades or skateboards! Along their journey, if the skaters pass by anyone that slept in, they will give the strings hanging from windows a yank, as part of the customary tradition. Hey, what are friends for?
Photo Credit - http://www.readersdigest.ca/travel/world/13-unusual-holiday-traditions-around-world/11/
Meet La Befana, the Italian Christmas witch. She is a good witch who leaves candies and small toys in good children’s socks. At night, families will set out a glass of wine, a plate of sausage, and broccoli for La Befana, which I'm sure is enough to make any Santa jealous!
Photo Credit - http://thefairytaletraveler.com/2013/12/21/the-dark-side-of-christmas-the-legend-of-krampus/
What kind of list would this be without mentioning Krampus, companion to Old St. Nick? Think of Krampus as the evil Santa from a dark universe. He comes for misbehaved children and punishes them by various, evil means.
While we're on the topic of spooky legends, there is a Ukrainian story, about a hardworking, yet impovershed widow who lived alone with her children. One day, a pine dropped a cone that fell to the earthen floor of her hut. That winter the pinecone rooted and grew into a pinetree. The children were excited by the thought of having a tree on Christmas for the first time. However, they could not afford to decorate it, and on Christmas Eve, fell asleep sad. But on Christmas morning, they awoke to their tree covered in spider webs, glistening and sparkling in the morning sun. When the sun hit the webs, it turned them into silver and gold! The widow and her children were overjoyed and never lived in poverty again.
Photo Credit - http://www.thesaucysoutherner.com/the-christmas-pickle/
Speaking of strange ornaments, has anyone seen, or heard, of the Holiday Pickle? Well this story is kind of a big dill in some families. Yet no one seems to really know where it originated. Some say Germany, others say it began as a Civil War story, then there is the Old St. Nick version. Whichever version you prefer, the point is to hide the pickle in the tree, and award the person who finds it!
Before you assume this list can't get any crazier, it does! Did you know in Japan, less than 1% of the population is estimated to celebrate Christmas? Never-the-less, one of the country's 'go-to' restaurants for the holiday is none other than KFC.
Photo Credit - http://www.best-country.com/africa/madagascar/christmas
Christmas in Madagascar is on one hand, extremely different than Christmas in America, but in another sense, very much the same. Families come together, exchange gifts when they can afford it, and catch up with each other over dinner. After Christmas Eve or during Christmas Day service, churches give out holy sweets or biscuits.
Photo Credit - https://thegrotto.org/christmas-festival-of-lights/
When it comes to lights, one city that knows what they're doing is Portland Oregon! In Portland, the Grotto, a public Catholic Shrine puts on their 'Festival of Lights' that transforms the Shrine into a wonderland of mystery, color, and enchantment. The show runs from Black Friday to December 30th and for $11.00 a ticket, that's one date worth every penny!
Photo Credit - https://karenmarrolli.wordpress.co
While the Grotto may put on a hella light show, the entire city of Santa Fe New Mexico lines its streets with small, sand-filled bags that are illuminated with votive candles. These glowing bags run throughout neighborhood streets, along adobe walls. Best of all, it's free!
Photo Credit - http://www.dailymail.co.uk
The Southwest region of the US has always had a bit of a reputation for doing things differently! In Scottsdale, Arizona, the gun club puts on an annual event named “Santa & Machine Guns”. "Santa & Machine Guns" is an event that hooks families up with the unique opportunity to have their Christmas photo taken with Santa Claus, AK-47s, grenade launchers, and machine guns. Nothing says “Peace on Earth” quite like this!
Photo Credit - http://runningofthesantas.com
Last but not least, I wanted to mention the "Running of the Santas". An annual (you guessed it) pub crawl, the ROS is really just another excuse for folks to get drunk and act silly. But it's all for a good cause! The objective is to raise money for local charities. If it accomplishes this goal by bringing people together to party, more power to them! I just can't help but wonder what a one night stand between two drunk santas might look like, omg!
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