Christmas day traditions forge some of the most formative memories of childhood. Nine out of ten Americans celebrate Christmas with fun traditions, Charlie Brown and Mickey Mouse among them.

Over 160 other countries around the world also consider Christmas a holiday, but don't assume their celebrations would feel familiar. There are some weird Christmas traditions out there.

Here are 5 unexpected customs at Christmastime.


In Ukraine, they put up a Christmas tree. Then they decorate it with spider webs for good luck.
As the story goes, a poor widow and her children lived in a hut with a tall pine tree nearby. They didn't have enough money to decorate a small tree that grew from a fallen pinecone.

The children went to bed lamenting their somber tree, and the spiders in the hut heard their cries. The family awoke on Christmas morning to a tree covered in lacy, glistening spider webs, which honestly sounds like a nightmare.


Christmas in South Korea is for lovers. Ads focus on couples, and the department stores sell special Christmas lingerie.

Where better to celebrate romantic love than at Pizza Hut? It's true! Pizza Hut is considered special date food in South Korea, and they go all out for Christmas. One year Pizza Hut sold a 3-tier pizza box made to look like stacking presents, delivered to your apartment door by motorbike.


The Nativity is a lovely scene depicting transcendent love, and kids love to play with the statues. You've got baby Jesus, some wise men, a couple of animals, and that weird guy pooping in the corner?

Catalonian tradition is to buy an el caganer, or the defecator, to enhance the Nativity. The irreverent figurine symbolizes fertility and good luck. The resultant fertilizer guarantees good harvest.


Several Christmas traditions from around the world include customs better suited to Halloween. Europe has Krampus, a hybrid goat demon that punishes children for bad behavior. He is pacified with a gift of alcohol and mostly celebrated in the form of funny greeting cards.

The German Belsnickel, hairy, feral, and carrying a black bag of toys, also punishes naughty children. He carries a switch for just this purpose.

Befana is an Italian Christmas witch who also appreciates alcohol and sweeps up when she leaves. And in Norway, they hide their brooms to keep witches and evil spirits from riding away with them.


So many countries seem to offset the joy of Christmas with icky foods.

South Africans eat mopane, fried Emperor Moth caterpillars. In Greenland, they eat a dish called kiviak, a bird wrapped in seal skin that has spent months underground decomposing.

Norway has smalahove, which sounds cute, right? It's a whole sheep's head smoked and then boiled. Along with the rest of Scandinavia, they also enjoy lutefisk, a gelatinous, odiferous lye-soaked fish dish.


No matter where you're celebrating this year, make protecting your floor from your Christmas tree one of your less weird Christmas traditions. A plastic drain pan prevents water damage, and you can attach felt pads to the bottom of your tree stand to prevent scratches.

If the unthinkable happens and you can't get the sheep's head out of the carpet, we'll help you replace it.