Today the TFT Family will wrap up any remaining gifts along with our work before we bring in the New Year. As we all get ready to spend some well-deserved time with our loved ones this holiday season, we thought it would be fun to share the joyous, interesting, and somewhat bizarre ways that our friends around the world will also celebrate! Enjoy!
1. The Yule Lads (Iceland)
During the 13 days leading up to Christmas, the folks in Iceland put up with 13 troll-like rascals who come out to play! The Yule lads (jólasveinarnir or jólasveinar in Icelandic) travel all over the country to visit children during the 13 nights leading up to Christmas. Children leave their best shoes by the window on each night of Yuletide and a different Yule Lad leaves gifts for the nice boys and girls and those who have been naughty get rotting potatoes. And if that’s not reason enough to be nice, Icelanders also believe that a giant black cat prowls around Iceland on Christmas Eve and eats anyone who doesn’t buy a new piece of clothing for Christmas. The name of this ridiculous feline? The Christmas Cat. So there’s that.
2. The Santa Fun Run (Scotland)
This awesome fundraiser is comprised of folks of all shapes, sizes, and ages dressed up as Santa as they run, jog, or walk around the historic and scenic locations of Edinburgh, Scotland. The event is a fun way to get out and enjoy some exercise with friends and family, while also raising money to help the When You Wish Upon a Star, a charity that helps see through the dreams of sick children. If that’s not a fun and unique way to help spread some holiday cheer, then we don’t know what is!
3. Cape Town Toy Run (South Africa)
Okay, so we are admittedly pretty into spreading the holiday cheer by giving back to others! For over 30 years, the leather-clad road hogs of South Africa have been coming together to challenge their rebel reputations by loading up their bikes with toys to give to disadvantaged children during the festive season. Tens of thousands of bikers from all over the country join together to collect more than 100,000 toys to distribute everything from dolls to dragons to various centers in Cape Town. Some of the toys even make it as far as Windhoek and Walvis Bay in Namibia! Thanks to these burly bikers, thousands of children in more than 300 orphanages, shelters, and hospitals around the country will enjoy a special and brighter Christmas than they otherwise would. These bikers are definitely more like teddy bears than hogs!
4. Gävle Goat (Sweden)
You might have already read about the ridiculousness of this holiday tradition on this week’s “fun facts” post on our Facebook page, but in case you missed it, for the past 50 years the town of Gävle in Sweden keeps building a massive Yule Goat in its Castle Square for Advent. And you’ll never guess what happens to the goat every year…people try to burn it down! So much so that it has actually become an annual tradition! In the 50 years that this has been happening, the goat has been damaged 37 times, though this year was probably the most impressive, with the tradition of burning the goat down being carried out on the SAME DAY that it was built!
5. Kentucky Fried Christmas Dinner (Japan)
Christmas isn’t even a national holiday in Japan…yet every Christmas Eve, people throughout Japan set out on a quest for their Christmas chicken dinner from KFC (complete with cake and champagne!). Why, you ask? Well, apparently a marketing campaign from the 1970s promoting “Kentucky for Christmas” did a lot better than anyone ever anticipated! So now this quirky “tradition” is something that any visitor to Japan can plan to partake in during the festive season. And don’t worry if you’re not feeling the fried chicken vibes…you can pop into Wendy’s for a foie-gras-and-truffle burger because…Christmas in Japan. Yum!