As I write this, it’s black outside, it’s December, I have less than two weeks of school left, and a deep need for fuzzy socks. That can mean only one thing…Christmas is coming!!! But how will you celebrate it? It may be extremely different from someone in another country. 

First, let’s start with what I’m most familiar with: A Wisconsin Christmas. If you live in Wisconsin, there’s a good chance your ancestors are German or Scandinavian, so besides decorating a tree and putting Christmas lights up around your house, you might do one of these two things that others may not. First, there’s the pickle. My family has never done this, but many of my friends have. I believe the tradition originates from Germany. Basically, someone in the household hides the pickle (usually an ornament) around the house, and the person who finds it gets some sort of prize. Secondly, we have Saint Nick’s day. Although this is widely celebrated in Europe, in the States, outside of Wisconsin, don’t. So for those who don’t know, on December 5th, children put out boots in the hopes that Saint Nick will fill them with gifts.

Interestingly enough, in France, St. Nick’s is the main day of gift giving. Legends on why Saint. Nick is celebrated varies, but my favorite is rather gruesome. It goes like this: One day, three boys were harvesting in a field. They were walking home through a forest, when night fell and they got lost. They stumbled upon the house of a butcher, and asked him if they could stay the night. He agreed, and they entered…only to be chopped to pieces by the butcher, and stored in a barrel. Some time later, Saint Nick came to the butcher and asked for the boys. The butcher was so scared of Saint Nick that he ran away, and Saint Nick found the boys and brought them back to life. Another, less gory legend, is that Saint Nick learned of three girls who were going to be sold into slavery because they had no money for dowries. So, each night, he threw money through the windows of their house, enough for their dowries. The money landed in their shoes, which is why children leave their shoes out today.

Continuing on the theme of Europe, in Denmark, Christmas is celebrated on December 24th. Christmas carols are sung, and then all the gifts are unwrapped. December 25th is more of a day of rest. And in Vietnam ( as well as China), Christmas, though not normally celebrated in a religious way, is still used as more of a commercial holiday, as it comes right before the lunar new year.

So, how do you celebrate Christmas? Any interesting traditions? Or, if not Christmas, how do you celebrate other major holidays? Leave a comment to let us know!

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