23 unique Christmas traditions around the world that may surprise you

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Have you ever considered enjoying a KFC meal on Christmas Day? Or perhaps, on an occasion, have you found something less desirable than expected, like a surprising encounter with rotten potatoes in your shoes on Christmas Day?

Evan Evans Tours London, the city’s longest-serving tour operator, presents a captivating insight into 23 of the world’s most unique Christmas traditions for Christmas 2023. From beachside Christmas celebrations to KFC Christmas day feasts, and even the arrival of Krampus, a devilish figure, we unveil a world of festive surprises.

1. Krampus in Austria

Experience the thrilling Austrian and Bavarian traditions of Krampus, a horned figure who accompanies St. Nicholas, ensuring children are on their best behaviour.

KFC Christmas Dinner in Japan. Photo: Evan Evans Tours LondonKFC Christmas Dinner in Japan. Photo: Evan Evans Tours London
KFC Christmas Dinner in Japan. Photo: Evan Evans Tours London

2. KFC Christmas Dinner in Japan

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Join in the mouth-watering Japanese tradition of savouring a delicious Christmas dinner from KFC, a popular Christmas treat that’s a must-try.

3. Barbie’s on the beach in New Zealand

Because summer falls during Christmas time for New Zealand, a number of their traditions centre around a barbie, or grill, where families and friends gather for alfresco dining consisting of fresh seafood, meat, and seasonal veg.

La Befana in Italy, The Magical Witch. Photo: Evan Evans Tours LondonLa Befana in Italy, The Magical Witch. Photo: Evan Evans Tours London
La Befana in Italy, The Magical Witch. Photo: Evan Evans Tours London

4. Rotten Potatoes in Iceland

Iceland celebrates 13 days of Christmas and each night before Christmas, Icelandic children are visited by the 13 Yule Lads. They place their shoes by the window at night, and in the morning, they’ll have received sweets for being good or find their shoes full of rotten potatoes if they’re bad.

5. The Christmas Pickle in the USA

Uncover the amusing American tradition of hiding a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree, where the lucky child who finds it receives an extra gift.

6. Mistletoe Kissing in England

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Embrace the romantic English custom of hanging mistletoe and sharing kisses beneath it – a timeless symbol of love and affection.

Tom Macklin – Managing Director – Evan Evans Tours:

“As we delve into the fascinating global Christmas traditions, it’s evident that the magic of the season knows no bounds. From the enchanting La Befana in Italy to the fiery debates surrounding the Gävle Goat in Sweden, these traditions remind us of the boundless creativity and warmth that the Christmas season brings across the world.”

“Two that really stand out to me are the heartwarming St. Lucia’s Day in Sweden, where saffron buns and light signify love, and the mischievous Yule Lads in Iceland, who bring a playful sense of wonder to the season. These traditions showcase the beauty of diversity and the universal spirit of joy that unites us during this magical time of year.”

This Christmas season, let’s embrace the wonderful diversity of traditions around the world, appreciating the joy and magic they bring to this special time of year.

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