Every Christmas, our family partakes in a popular Christmas custom from France. I am ashamed to state: I discovered this custom from a tacky “Hallmark Channel” Christmas motion picture. The custom focuses around the Santa of France called Pere Noel. The cheesy motion picture taught me that if your kiddos leave their shoes under their beds (or near the fireplace) on Christmas eve, Pere Noel will fill them with treats/candy. When I found out of this custom, I understood we would do it. I laid the groundwork by telling my daughter that Santa has various customs worldwide. I informed her something like, “Maybe if we’re fortunate, the Santa from France will come by; he leaves candy in your shoes if you lay them out on Christmas Eve. We ought to just attempt it and see if he comes.” We significantly picked out her favorite pair of shoes, laid them under her bed, and pleaded with Pere Noel to swing by … you understand, from France. The next early morning, she screeched with pleasure to find her shoes filled with her favorite reward: Lindt brand name chocolate balls. Every Christmas, the candy in her shoes on Christmas morning excites her just as much as her presents in the living-room. As I considered this custom, I began to wonder about other fun occasions that occur for Christmas globally.
It ends up, France is not the only location to do the treats in the shoe custom. Kiddos from Germany, Iceland, and the Netherlands likewise leave their shoes out for deals with during the Christmas season.
In Finland, families play a game with their breakfast on Christmas early morning. The kiddos consume a breakfast of porridge with cinnamon and whoever gets the bowl with the surprise almond within is the “winner.” It is noted that parents usually conceal a few almonds so that all the kids will “win.” A sweet tradition!
Ukraine celebrates Christmas from Christmas day all the way till January 7th! They parade through town singing carols and have a fun custom with a special meal called, “Kutya.” They toss a spoonful of Kutya towards the ceiling and if it sticks: it is forecasted that they will have a great harvest that year. Here is a link to a recipe for Kutva for any families who wish to attempt it: https://www.food.com/recipe/ukrainian-christmas-kutya-77525
Swedish families develop their own development calendars for Christmas time. Either the moms and dads do them, or they make it a family activity and the kids take part too. I have actually heard of a couple of households doing that here in Oregon this year! Amazon has a cool one that has pockets you can fill with goodies: https://www.amazon.com/Pockets-Learning-Personalized-Christmas-Calendar/dp/B009DJ7U0W
In El Salvador, children commemorate Christmas by lighting fireworks. Smaller sized children utilize little fireworks called volcancito (little volcanos) or (estrellitas) little stars, while older children utilize roman candles. Fun!
The Yule Lads are 13 challenging elves that come out in Iceland during the 13 days leading up to Christmas. Kiddos leave their shoes out each night and will either receive treats if they are excellent, or rotten potatoes if they are bad! The fairies each have their own unique name, here is the link for more info: https://www.momondo.com/discover/christmas-traditions-around-the-world
Concealing the home broom is a custom in Norway. Families highly believe that witches and fiends come on Christmas eve and will utilize their brooms to create chaos.
In Venezuela, families roller skate to church on Christmas eve morning. There are no cars and trucks allowed on the streets these days to maintain this crucial custom. The evening is scheduled for eating a tamale dinner. Yum!
Italy takes Christmas extremely seriously. They commemorate Christmas from early December to January 6th. Kids go caroling and play music on Shepard’s pipelines. Kiddos also wear Shepard’s clothing and sandals. Lots of Christmas markets and occasions occur consisting of a midnight mass that is held by the pope. One Italian tradition that American’s can participate in is delighting in a tasty panettone (a cake). Zupan’s has a few choices, here is their link: https://www.zupans.com/search/panettone/.
Various households have differed customs. In this unconventional year that is 2020, it may be enjoyable to mix things up a bit by indulging in enjoyable, global traditions. Commemorating Pere Noel has actually significantly boosted our Christmas the previous few years. It is funny to me that my kiddos completely believe that Santa comes all the method from France to bring them chocolate, but I think it’s not as far brought as the standard Santa visiting every house in the world. The magic of Christmas is essential this year and embracing international customs might bring a little bit more magic to our families. Best of luck to you all in making a memorable Christmas for your households.
Stephanie McCoy was born and raised in Portland, Oregon-where she still lives. She recently finished with a Master’s in Education degree from Concordia University. In her free time: she likes to check out and compose, get outdoors, welcome her kiddos and partner, and watch travel documentaries.