What do pickles, fried chicken, white kangaroos and books have in common?  They each have a special meaning for those celebrating Christmas in their own unique way.

The Pickle Ornament:  Its origins are unclear-I won’t embarrass myself by claiming one as true, but we do know that Woolworth’s starting selling glass vegetable ornaments imported from Germany in 1890.  The Pickle story then evolved as a German tradition-you hide the pickle ornament in the Christmas tree.  The person who finds it first is given an extra present, or a year of good luck, or a special place at the table.  You get the idea-the Germans don’t claim it as their tradition-the real purpose has long been muddled, yet, the pickle ornament lives on.  It probably can be traced back to a salesman with an excess of pickle ornaments-he needed a “hook” to sell those silly pickles and decided a German tradition sounded like a great marketing strategy.

blog christmas pickle

Fried Chicken:  Speaking of marketing strategy-You know how you go to Whole Foods and order your organic turkey for Christmas?  Well, in Japan, weeks ago, folks were putting in their orders for their fried chicken for Christmas.  Although only 1% of the Japanese population is Christian, so Christmas is celebrated as a time to spread happiness-not a religious holiday.  Through marketing wizardry and spot on advertising, it has become tradition for the Christmas Day meal to be fried chicken at the local Kentucky Fried Chicken-with the good Col Sanders dressed up as Santa.

blog KFC-Japanese-Christmas-Christmas-Chicken-Shop

Kangaroos:  Christmas time in Australia comes at the beginning of their traditional hot summers.  So, a lot of Christmas activities take place at the beach-or camping.  I love the way they sprinkle the traditional visit from Santa Claus with a little local flavor.  Tradition has it that Santa stops in Australia to rest his reindeer-the traditional treat left for Santa here?  A fresh bowl of water for those exhausted reindeer.  BUT, the children of Australia won’t be left out while the reindeer take their rest. Six local snow white kangaroos step in and take Santa and his sleigh through out the land to visit good boys and girls of Australia.

blog australia kangaroo

Books:  Jolabokafloo – Christmas Book Flood is a beloved tradition in Iceland.  New books are published ONLY during the holiday season-a book is considered the very best gift for Christmas giving.  These gifts/books are then opened on Christmas Eve and people then spend the rest of the evening reading-often in bed in their new pajamas with a box of chocolates.  I love this tradition!  This sure makes my family tradition of giving a box of chocolate covered cherries to our guests during the holidays seem kind of dull and boring.

blog flood of books iceland

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Do you have a fun or meaningful tradition for celebrating Christmas?

  • decorating a tree with special ornaments
  • baking special treats
  • looking at lights
  • going to the Nutcracker
  • singing in a performance of Handel’s Messiah
  • reading the Christmas story with your family from Luke 2

Share a tradition with us and we might make it our own!