The world can be a weird and wonderful Christmas in Japanplace, with more diversity in it than we could ever possibly imagine. This is no different when it comes to the ways different countries celebrate popular holidays like Christmas. This may come as a surprise to most Westerners but the Yuletide holiday is not just about a fat guy in red breaking into our homes via a chimney and leaving gifts. In fact, many cultures around the world have their own particular traditions when it comes to the merriest time of the year.

Royal Vegas has already detailed some of these alternatives in their fantastic blog. We at also wanted to spread some festive cheer. That’s why we choose some of the best one to share with you.  

You may find the following customs strange, weird and downright outrageous. But keep in mind that traditions vary from culture to culture and what seems normal to us, such as a Fat Santa flying over the world in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, might seem weird for people from other parts of the world.

Nevertheless, check out these odd Christmas traditions and you’ll definitely have a good story to tell at your next Christmas dinner party!

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First on our list is Krampus. Austria happens to have an alternative version to Santa Claus, who goes by the name of Krampus.

Legend has it that the evil Krampus, a terrifying goat-like monster, goes around hunting for naughty children to scare, on the night before the Feast of Saint Nicholas on December 5th. Think of him as the anti-Santa.

Caga Tió

While Krampus may be scary, this Catalan tradition is downright odd and still kept alive in some areas of Spain to this day.

Second on our list is Caga Tió.  Caga Tió translates to “the pooping log” and the custom dictates that you take a hollowed out log and dress it up with a face and legs. Children then pretend to feed the log every day from December 8th up until Christmas day, when it is then bashed and beaten with sticks in order to force the poor log to ‘poop’ out presents in the form of sweets, nuts, and fruit. Disturbing much?

Kentucky Fried Christmas and Yule Lads

The Japanese are masters of weird traditions and Christmastime is no different. It’s customary for millions of people across the country to feast on a bucket of KFC on Christmas Day. It actually started out as a marketing campaign back in 1974 (Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii or Kentucky for Christmas).Penguin Cartoonwith the idea behind it being that Westerners living in Japan missed eating turkey during the holidays. Hence, KFC was offered up as a valid substitute that would soon become a nationwide Christmas tradition.

The Yule Lads

This centuries-old Icelandic tradition is made up of 13 Santa Claus-like figures known as the Yule lads, each of which visits children for every one of the 13 nights in the run up to Christmas Eve.  If you’ve been a good boy or girl, the Yule lads will place a candy-filled shoe on your windowsill, while the naughty kids get rotting potatoes instead.

Roller Blades and Broomsticks

Now, many of us will have left our rollerskates behind after childhood. Not in Caracas, Venezuela, where roller skating at Christmas is the norm for everyone. On Christmas Eve in Caracas, a unique sight can be witnessed as hundreds of people make their way to midnight mass on roller skates. The idea started out as a way to hype up the ceremony for children halloween witchbut soon became so popular that roads are now closed off from vehicles to let the crowds of skaters through.

Hide Your Brooms

This Christmas tradition really takes the cake, well broomsticks. In Norway, many Norwegians still hide their brooms on Christmas Eve. Thanks to a tradition that originated as a superstitious act to prevent the brooms from falling into the hands of witches and other evil beings. Today, this practice has become somewhat of a habit.

Saint Nikolaus Day

We’ve saved the best for last as this quirky Christmas German tradition just may be the strangest of them all. To celebrate the feast of Saint Nicholas of Nikolaus which falls on December 9th in Germany.

This is no ordinary Saint Nick though, as despite some similarities to both Santa Claus and Krampus too, this German version trades coins and candy for drawings and songs. He also travels with a companion known as Farmhand Rupert, or Knecht Ruprecht, who is portrayed as a devil-like character decked out in bells. Rupert hides his face behind a dirty beard and is also responsible for whipping naughty children with his stick. Charming!

There you have it our top alternative Christmas traditions from all over the world.

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