Today's holiday post is brought to you by Nichole Chase, author of The Dark Betrayal Trilogy as well as several other books, including a Christmas book, On Christmas Hill (which *hint hint* she is graciously giving 2 copies away at the Holiday Extravaganza Giveaway right here on Dec. 16th!)
Holiday Traditions that make you scratch your head.
I’m not sure about everyone else, but I love holiday traditions. I always have. When I was little, there were things that had to happen for it to feel like the holiday for real. The weirdest one was probably making my own Thanksgiving parade in the front yard when I was little. Yeah, I said it was weird, but it meant a lot to me. Even now I look back at those parades with fondness.
This time of year is a great way to make memories with your family. At Christmas time, I love to make hot chocolate and drive around looking at Christmas lights. That’s a little bland, but I love spending that time with my husband and now with our daughter, too. Speaking of having a daughter, it makes the holidays so much more exciting. She’s three now and LOVES all things Santa. We started doing the Elf on the Shelf this year. For those of you that don’t know what that is all about, here’s a quick idea: An elf shows up at your house around the holidays. He/She is a scout for Santa. Every night, he flies back to the North Pole to tell Santa how little Tommy or Mary-Sue has been that day. Thus, earning them a spot on the Naughty or Nice list. On their way back, they find a new place to rest for the day and sometimes find a little mischief to get into. (Here’s a site showing you some of the crazy antics that an Elf can get up to!) Some people find the elf creepy, but I love watching my munchkin get up every morning to search for where her elf, Wiggle, has hidden this time. And, I also love that one mention of Wiggle reporting to Santa can snap her back into shape!
I was thinking about Christmas traditions, and came across some few from around the world that left me chuckling, scratching my head, and outright shocked. Here is a few that left the biggest impressions:
In Italy, Santa is out and La Befanta, a kindly old witch, delivers the presents.
In the Ukraine, Christmas trees are decorated in spider webs. Well, they hide a spider web somewhere on the tree (often an ornament shaped like a web) to bring good luck.
(Can you find the spider web?)
In Japan, the color red symbolizes death and funerals. So, most of our Christmas decorations would not be happily received. I've also heard that it’s very popular to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas Eve. So popular, that you sometimes have to make reservations!
In Catolina, Spain, there is a little figure named La Caganer. If you speak one of the Romance languages, you might have guessed what that little figure is doing… he is, um, fertilizing the yard. You read that right. He has his pants down around his ankles and is pooping! Seems weird, right? Well, they feel that by fertilizing, he is bringing prosperity. They often put them in a Christmas village somewhere to bring luck. (If you search online, you can also find famous La Caganers. Presidents, movie stars… the list goes on!)
(I also saw a Queen Elizabeth and Pope caganer!)
In Austria, Santa has an evil twin named Krampus. (Gotta admit, the name kind of gives his personality away.) Krampus beats and punishes all of the naughty children. No worries about coal there, just staying safe and unharmed! If you’re in Austria on Dec. 6th, you might want to stay inside. Men dress up in down-right terrifying costumes and run around town beating people with sticks and switches. I can’t imagine why the Krampus tradition hasn’t caught on globally…
In Catolina, there is a pooping log. No, I haven’t made this up. And yes, there seems to be a pooping Christmas theme. Every night, the hollowed out log with a painted face is fed and covered with a blanket. On Christmas Eve (or Christmas day—I found conflicting stories) the log is put into the fire, beaten with a stick, and ordered to poop. This one is pretty creepy. I feel bad for the log.
(He’s so cute! How could you beat him?)
After finding all of these, I feel like I need to spice up my traditions. Not sure if any of these are a right fit for my family, but there’s got to be something crazy and silly that we can do! What about you guys? Do you have any weird family traditions? What about just normal ones, like hot cocoa and Christmas lights? I want to hear them!
Nichole Chase is a daydreamer.
No, really, just ask any of the math teachers that had the misfortune of seeing her name appear on their class schedule.
For years she has had story lines and characters begging for attention, but she resolutely pushed them aside to focus on more normal (read, boring) jobs. Well, no longer She is currently heeding the voices in her head and frantically writing their stories. Nichole resides in South Georgia with her husband, daughter, Sulcata tortoise, super hero dog, and two cats. She is the author of the Dark Betrayal Trilogy, Flukes, On Christmas Hill, and the upcoming Suddenly Royal.
When not devouring novels by the dozens, you may find her writing, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises. If you would like find out more about Nichole and her books, check out her websites and sign up for her newsletter.