Christmas Traditions Around The World

Paige Templeton

There are so many Christmas traditions in the United States, such as a Christmas tree, opening presents, and baking cookies. The biggest tradition in the United States is Santa, children go to a public place and sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. But what do other countries do for Christmas? Although Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan (an estimated one percent of the population is Christian), its citizens still find an interesting and delicious way to celebrate. Rather than gathering around the table for a turkey dinner, families head out to their local Kentucky Fried Chicken. The tradition began in 1974 after a wildly successful marketing campaign called, “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” or “Kentucky for Christmas!” The fast-food chain has maintained its Yuletide popularity—forcing some people to order their boxes up to months in advance or stand on two-hour-long lines to get their “finger-lickin’ good” food. Much like the United States has the 12 days of Christmas, Iceland celebrates 13. Each night before Christmas, Icelandic children are visited by the 13 “Yule Lads.” After placing their shoes by the window, the little ones will head upstairs to bed. In the morning, they’ll either have received candy if they’re good or be greeted with shoes full of rotten potatoes if they’re bad. On Christmas morning, Finish families traditionally eat a porridge made of rice and milk topped with cinnamon, milk, or butter. Whoever finds the almond placed inside one of the puddings “wins”—but some families cheat and hide a few almonds so the kids don’t get upset. At the end of the day, it is customary to warm up in a sauna together. A Dewey High School student, Cierra Kirby said at Christmas, her and her family go to her family’s house for lunch and dinner and pass around presents. She said she would not incorporate any new traditions into her Christmas, she likes them just as they are now.