Wed, Dec 21, 2011 10:20 AM
Christmas is pretty popular, and not just among right-wing
evangelicals. It's celebrated around the world, on all seven
continents (especially Antarctica, which is where all the really
cool Christmas parties are happening this year). The ways in which
it's celebrated, however, vary tremendously. Here's a look at some
of the fun Christmas traditions, as I imagine them, from nations
near and far:
Spain - Christmas cards are sent out not to friends but to enemies,
as a way to gloat about one's familial good fortune.
Scotland - Stockings are stuffed with haggis. Whichever family
member eats all the haggis in his stocking first wins
Uruguay - Santa's "nice list" is thought to consist of those
children whom he plans to kidnap.
Japan - Instead of using Douglas-firs, families decorate Bonsai
trees with lights and ornaments. Accordingly, the gifts placed
beneath them are very, very small.
France - Santa Claus is rarely, if ever, depicted without a
Australia - Christmas is celebrated in July, so that its
traditional wintertime imagery won't seem totally
South Korea - According to national folklore, presents are
distributed on Christmas Eve by an anthropomorphic reindeer whose
sleigh is pulled by nine fat men.
Argentina - Frosty the Snowman wears a ponytail.
The Netherlands - Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus are thought to be
Germany - Would-be carolers are required to audition in front of a
jury in order to earn a license to go door-to-door. Those who pass
the test are granted a jury-approved selection of three (3) songs
that they may perform. After Christmas, the carolers are
Thailand - The baby Jesus is depicted as being an excellent
Luxembourg - Christmas is celebrated only every other year, as it
shares Dec. 25 with National Mayonnaise Appreciation Day.
Namibia - "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham! is regarded as a
traditional Christmas song.
Austria - When a man and a woman meet underneath the mistletoe,
they're obliged to arm-wrestle.
Chile - Blitzen is regarded as a sex symbol.
Canada - Wreaths are commonly worn as necklaces.
Tanzania - Tickle Me Elmo has been officially banned from Christmas
Russia - Chestnuts roast you! Or something like that.
Lebanon - The Christmas turkey is a live bird that typically sits
at the head of the table during Christmas dinner. All gifts are
addressed to the turkey.
South Africa - "Little Drummer Boy" is altered to "Little Vuvuzela
Switzerland - Advent calendars contain actual good chocolate.
California - Clocks are set ahead three hours on December 24,
because they can't stand that we get Christmas before they
Here's to global-consciousness-raising! Happy Christmasing,