It’s time to spice up the holidays. No, this isn’t’ another Starbucks advertisement for the Pumpkin Spice Latte. (Unless they’re willing to pay me, in which case we’ll talk.) But sometimes we get so wrapped up in doing the same things at Christmas each year that we forget to stop and propose an eggnog-laced toast to human diversity at this time of year.
So I went searching around the world (AKA Google) to find some of the most spectacular, odd, and borderline appropriate Christmas traditions the human mind has to offer:
Let’s be honest, fecal matter has always been part of the Christmas season since feasting became part of it. Not to be vulgar, but the days after Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest of the year for plumbers – that’s just science. We don’t talk about that side of things much, but the Catalan people of Spain have brought it into the public square with their Caga Tio, which is liaterally translated as the “pooping log.”
They fill the log with treats (nuts, berries, etc.) each night for about two weeks leading up to Christmas. Then on Christmas the children hit the log with sticks until it “poops” out all those delicious treats. Did I mention the log also has a face and legs added to it? Oh, and there’s a song they sing which says “If you don’t poop well, I’ll hit you with a stick.” Just walk into a public restroom singing that song and see what happens. But overall it just sounds like non-stop fun for the whole family.
And if the poop log isn’t quite your thing, then how about a romantic dinner with your sweety? Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Most holiday movies are predicated on the romantic nature of the season. And in that vein, Asia puts a lot of the focus on romantic love. So what better way to tell that certain someone you care than to take her to KFC for some fried chicken? Forget about Jared and a new BMW this Christmas; give the gift of cellulite. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. But you’d better call ahead, because it fills up quickly. In order to get your friend chicken – because they’re short on turkeys there – you need to call weeks in advance. (It’s a real thing.)
Also, if you’re looking to add a little something to your Charlie Brown tree, don’t forget those classy, yet understated, accent of spider webs as part of your Christmas décor. It’s a great chance to use those Halloween decorations more than once a year. In the Ukraine, they actually use fake spider webs as decorations on the tree. It all goes back to a legend where a poor family didn’t have decorations for their tree, so the spiders kindly decorated it for them with what they had. Sadly, if the family had any daughters, the spiders were probably subjected to a high-pitched wail and summarily executed by shoe on the spot.
Looking for a little cardio to work off some of the Christmas goodies? Look no further than Caracas, Venezuela. Here they hold Christmas mass in a less than traditional, but boogeying sort of way. To get to mass everyone laces up their roller-skates and heads to church. It’s kind of like the running of the bulls, but instead it’s the skating of the full. This tradition has cheesy 80’s movie written all over it, and what could be better than that? I’m guarantee the Griswold’s would’ve skated on Christmas, and that’s the true mark of Yuletide acceptableness.
Having trouble properly motivating your kids to pull their weight around the house? Grounding them from Iphones and driving their Ferrari to school not working? Have I got a tradition for you! All you need to do is add the Icelandic Yule Cat to your festivities this year. As legend has it, the Yule Cat roams around for children who haven’t worked hard enough this year and he, well, eats them. The way to tell if they work hard is if they are wearing nice clothes. The lazy ones keep their old clothes, while the good workers get fancy, new duds. I suppose you could only give your kids nice clothes if they’re good and helpful this year. But what fun is it if there’s not some demented cat prowling around looking to eat you? Really makes you appreciate that lump of coal you got last year, eh?
And finally, don’t forget to put your brooms away and head for the hills! Apparently an old guy watching you while you sleep, then stealing your cookies – not to mention that demented cat – isn’t all you have to worry about on Christmas. If you live in Norway, there is a good chance you’re going to be attacked by witches on Christmas. The best course of action to take? Hiding the brooms. Unfortunately, this also means they won’t be able to fly away, which pretty much makes them permanent house guests. Instead of taking your brooms, they’ll have to stay around and eat your food; hope you’ve got some fried frog lying around. Oh well, I’m sure some of us have had worse guests over for the holidays. (Insert in-law joke here.)
I hope you add a few of these suggestions to your list of holiday traditions. I mean, what do you have to lose, besides a family member or two?
So go grab that bucket of deep-fried KFC wings, gather around the spider tree, lace up the skates, make sure to use sticks and not brooms to beat your poop log – or else the Yule Cat might just get you confused with a scrumptious Christmas goody – and have yourself a merry little Christmas.