Whether it’s leaving some treats out for Santa and his reindeer or simply decorating the tree, Christmas time is full of family traditions.
But just how do children and their parents celebrate Christmas in other countries across the globe?
More than two billion people celebrate Christmas globally every year, so we’ve put together a fun guide to some of the unusual ways in which other nationalities mark the occasion…
Tradition: Tying up mom and dad
Here it’s not tradition to give presents at Christmas, but on the Sundays before. Two Sundays before December 25th the children tie up their mom. She then has to pay a ransom in the form of gifts to be freed. The following Sunday the same happens with dad.
Tradition: Santa’s spooky helper
As a part of celebrations in Germany as well as Austria and some parts of Switzerland, St Nikolaus (the saint on whom many countries base Santa Claus) is accompanied by a scary devil-like character as a warning to children not to be bad. In France there’s a similar figure called La Pere Fouettard.
Tradition: Sinterklaas and Black Peter
In Holland Santa Claus is called Sinterklaas. He doesn’t live at the North Pole, but in sunny Spain and arrives by steamboat with a helper called Black Peter rather than an elf.
Tradition: Spider webs on the tree
It may sound more like a Halloween tradition than a Christmas one but Ukrainians decorate their Christmas tree with spider webs. Legend says that a magic spider once visited a poor family at Christmas and turned the webs in their home into gold and silver.
Tradition: Stick patting
One of the Christmas traditions is koleduvane involving boys singing carols outside neighbours’ houses then patting them on the back with decorated sticks.
Tradition: 13 Santas
There are 13 Santas in Iceland. These Yule men, more troll than our traditional Father Christmas, traditionally come down from the mountain one by one during the days of the festive period leaving presents or rotten potatoes depending on the child’s behaviour. They have names like Door Sniffer and Meat Hook.
Do you know of any more different Christmas traditions?