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Christmas Traditions – Let’s Go International

In the same vein as a previous post about starting new holiday traditions after separation, here are some fun ways Christmas is celebrated in other countries!

Japan: Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Christmas dinner of champions. Thanks to a marketing campaign in the mid-1970s, Japanese children associate the holiday with KFC. It is complete with the Colonel in Santa getups, themed containers for chicken and drinks, and a special Christmas combo bucket complete with all the secret spice chicken, salad, and cake. The lines get so busy that customers may wait up to two hours to get a bucket to go. Appreciation of food has no borders, and there is no reason why fried chicken can’t be the centerpiece to the Christmas dinner (except maybe health reasons).

The Netherlands: clogs for Christmas. Sinterklaas is the Santa analog over in the Dutch part of the world. He is dressed in red, has a long white beard, and keeps creepy tabs on the children that have been good and those that have been bad. But instead of reindeer and sleighs, he arrives on a boat…from Spain. The fun part for any kid will always be presents. In the Netherlands, children will leave their shoes (or clogs) next to the fireplace or stove and awake to find gifts and treats stuffed therein. Good luck getting a PS5 to fit in a shoe. (Maybe the Dutch have it all figured out.)

Austria (and other central European countries): Krampus, St. Nick’s frenemy. Krampus is a goat-like devilish character (definitely not for younger children) that basically serves as the counterpart of jolly St. Nick. In America, Santa has gifts for the good kids, and coal for the bad ones. Krampus is responsible for the bad ones only. Think medieval level punishments for the bad ones. Krampus has become the subject of a few Hollywood horror movies, so perhaps we will see more of this character in the near future. Regardless, spending a day watching these movies (with age-appropriate audiences) might be a fun way to celebrate some of the more eccentric aspects of life.

No matter what traditions appeal to you, it is nice to spend some quality time with friends and loved ones this holiday season. Do what makes you feel good. Separation is not always easy, but you can make some new and fun traditions to help offset the hardships.