4 min read
We often forget just how localised and distinct Christmas is in each country that celebrates it, bearing in mind that the festival originates in the Middle East. Many of the things we take for granted wherever we celebrate the holidays show just how distinct it is in every country. However, some country’s celebrations are a little bit more distinct than others.
We’re going to cast our eye over some of the most spectacularly weird Christmas decorations found around the world today.
Christmas Pickles – USA
There is some debate as to whether this decoration comes from Germany or the US (our German sources say no) but this tradition also makes a fun game. The idea is that the adults place the pickle on the tree on Christmas Morning and the first child to find it gets to open the first present.
Caga Tió – Catalonia
Where to start with Mr Caga Tió? He is a magical decorated log (that’s the tió part) who visits family homes around Christmas time in Catalonia in North East Spain. This is a much more interactive decoration for the home. He usually arrives about 2 weeks before Christmas, where he is given pride of place, covered with a blanket and fed regularly with sweets, fruit and nuts. When Christmas itself arrives, he is then hit with sticks whilst the children sing a song imploring him to empty his bowels, which he duly does (this is the Caga part). Luckily in this case his “leavings” are presents. You can find out more in this informative guide about him here.
Spider Webs – Ukraine
It can’t be said that spiders are the first creatures to come to mind at Christmas, except maybe in Ukraine where their webs adorn family Christmas trees. The story is that a poor woman had nothing to decorate her Christmas tree with and nature answered the call by sending spiders to make the tree beautiful for her, which then turned to gold. If nothing else, it’s a good chance to reuse your Halloween decorations or you can learn how to make your own festive cobwebs here.
Caganer – Catalonia
Once again Catalonia is featured on this list and once again they have a decoration based on the joy of toilet humour for us. As you can see in the picture above, the caganer is a small, somewhat detailed figurine who appears to have been caught short at a critical moment. He plays a part in the traditional nativity scene displays, usually discreetly doing his business in the background as Jesus, Joseph and Mary welcome the three wise men and shepherds.
Christmas Boats – Greece
In Greek cities it is not as usual to find Christmas trees in the centre. Why? Well, because the Greeks (especially on the many islands) prefer to put out a tall decorated Christmas boat instead. This is said to link back to the country’s historical tradition of being a seafaring culture and so they’ve logically kept that alive through their Christmas traditions. In this case it can be achieved by creating a light display of a boat or decorating a real boat with lights, with a similar effect to a Christmas tree, although with a unique twist.
Christmas Crackers – The UK
If you’ve ever spent Christmas in Britain then you’ve probably seen a Christmas cracker or two decorating the table or the Christmas tree. These decorated tubes are normally set on the table during Christmas dinner, where the guests then pull the cracker apart, which results in a small bang or popping sound. Inside there is usually a thin paper crown, a toy or gift and a joke (which is usually terrible or poor quality).
Seashells – Australia
Australia celebrates a slightly different style of Christmas to its English speaking cousins as December happens to be the middle of summer in the Southern hemisphere. With most of the population living around the coast of the country it is no big surprise that marine life features in their Christmas celebrations.
Perhaps you are feeling inspired by some of these entries. Which of these ideas will you try this year to shake up your Christmas traditions? Let us know in the comments below if you’ll be adapting any of our suggestions into your Christmas decor in the future.
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