Christmas Around The World


There are Christmas customs that are so odd and peculiar that all we can do is to take a look at them and smile.

In a previous article, we talked about how different Christmas traditions across the globe can have an effect on business strategies, and also on certain translation aspects by extension. While the general consensus is to appeal to the more common celebrations, an alternative is to dive deep into local customs and use that as an advantage. But sometimes those customs are so odd and peculiar it’s almost a futile effort to capitalize on them. Sometimes, the best thing one can do is to take a look at them and smile.


KFC Christmas dinner

Our Japanese friends don’t care too much about the whole Christmas thing. In fact, some of them care so little about it that they have popularized celebrating the day by binging on KFC chicken buckets.  Wherever this bizarre custom came from is beyond a mystery, but what’s certain is that the folks at KFC are beyond delighted that the land of the rising sun flocks to their establishments on this special day, and proceeds to grab bucket loads of, well… buckets. They have even gone to the lengths of making seasonally themed, get ready for it: Buckets.

Someday we might discover the origins of this quirky festivity, but for now, the most plausible explanation we can think of is that during a KFC board meeting about the challenges of breaching into the Japanese market, the spirit of Colonel Sanders popped up and said: Hold my bucket.

All right, enough buckets.


We all know that Santa Claus rewards good children with presents on Christmas day and leaves the naughty ones with nothing, but for the Austrians, the latter clearly wasn’t enough. In comes Krampus, a horned demonic imp (that description always warms the heart) dressed with dark clothes and bells that punishes children who have been especially naughty during the year. Obviously the celebration is light-hearted in nature, and people that dress up as Krampus mainly limit themselves to prancing around and educationally telling off naughty children, but it seems that some of the masks that they use are sometimes downright terrifying.  Just google it and picture the potential traumas rushing in.

It’s not a bad idea to tell kids to behave a bit better next time around, but doing it behind what looks like something out of an X rated horror flick appears somewhat soul-crushing within the seasonal context. Nevertheless, kids apparently love the whole thing, so they must be doing something right.

Venezuela’s Roller Skates

In South America, most of the religious ingredients of Christmas are still alive and kicking, so going to church on the morning before Christmas is pretty common. The thing is, for whatever reason, they love to get there on roller skates. Yes, your heard it. It’s in fact so widespread that in some cities they actually close the nearby streets to traffic in an effort to let people roller skate their way to salvation unimpeded. Once the deed is done, they roll back home and have a meal with their families. That conversation must be an interesting one for sure.

Summertime Santa

Australia, even if it’s thousands of miles from its geographical origin, is mainly a country in which western culture is prevalent. But there is something very different that goes on during the “winter months”: Down there It’s actually summer. Now that doesn’t sound too good for our beloved Santa Claus from the get go. An overweight, aging, stocky fellow, carrying around heavy bags of presents while wearing garments tailored for the freezing arctic seems to manage all right in the northern hemisphere, but placing him in the sweltering, scorching heat of an Australian summer is paramount to torture at the least.

But Australians have easily sorted it out by dressing Santa as a guy out of Baywatch. The beard is still there, so that must be fun to see, but all the rest is pushing Santa into a well deserved summer vacation in paradise. Additionally, reindeers aren’t really a thing down under, so they merrily found substitutes for Rudolph and his pals. Yep, you guessed it: Kangaroos!

All in all, Christmas around the world has become so diverse and interesting it’s hard to find an excuse to stay at home. So if family and Christmas carols aren’t your thing, you can always buy a ticket to somewhere that will fill you with childlike wonder. And that’s what Christmas is really about.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

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