1. In Gävle, Sweden, Swedes build a gigantic Yule goat - which almost annually gets unofficially burned to the ground.
2. Residents of Oaxaca attend radish sculpture nativity contests put on by farmers.
3. Estonians hit the saunas to unwind on Christmas Eve.
4. Krampus, Santa’s demon sidekick, runs wild through Austria abusing children who misbehaved.
During Krampuslauf, young men and women routinely drink and then run through the streets dressed as Krampus and other demons.
5. Children leave their shoes by fireplaces in France, for Pere Noel to fill them up with small toys and candy.
6. Norwegians hide their brooms on Christmas Eve, since that day has long been associated with witches and evil spirits.
7. Spider webs are hidden into Christmas trees in Ukraine, and whoever finds it will have good luck.
8. Children in Barcelona take care of, and then beat, Tio de Nadal logs while asking it to shit presents through song.
One of the songs children routinely sing is:
hazelnuts and cottage cheese,
if you don’t shit well,
I’ll hit you with a stick,
9. Inhabitants of Greenland eat Kiviak, the Inuit turducken.
Kiviak is a traditional food composed of over 400 auks that are stuffed inside a seal for seven months, during which time the auks ferment.
10. Women in the Czech Republic throw shoes over their heads to see if they’ll get married in the upcoming year.
If the shoe lands right-side up, facing a door, then marriage is in the future.
11. St. Nicholas Day is honored in Bavaria, with men dressing as straw demons.
These ‘Buttnmandl’ run around villages rattling cow bells to scare off evil spirits.
12. In Portugal, diners leave open spots at Christmas dinners for the dead.
13. Carolers dressed as animals sometimes make the rounds in Latvia, and are served food and drink in exchange for songs.
14. Sinterklaas and his valet, Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), parade through the streets of the Netherlands and give Children presents on December 6.
Any child who misbehaves is hypothetically kidnapped by Pete and taken back to Santa’s home in Spain.
15. Japan goes all out for KFC on Christmas.
16. Santa Claus doesn’t visit children in Italy, but the witch La Befana does instead.
La Befana apparently was alive during Jesus’ birth, but couldn’t be bothered to visit the child. In an act of penitence, today she still gives candy to good children throughout Italy.