A Sampling Of Wacky European Traditions To Try This Christmas

When I was in middle school, I heard about a German Christmas tradition where a pickle would be hidden somewhere inside the family Christmas tree, and whoever found it received a gift early. My family tried it for a couple years, but we found it hard to get into (not to mention the fact that my sister and I were kids, so whoever did not find the pickle got an early present anyway, because fairness.) Instead, our family traditions involve Nickelodeon Christmas movies from the early 2000s, Christmas morning cinnamon buns, watching for Santa on the NORAD Santa tracker, playing board games and listening to my granny read us stories meant for children.

Holiday traditions vary from family to family and country to country. In addition to the pickle-hiding, here are a few fun ones I found online that you might want to give a try this holiday season!

1. Czech Republic: Shoe Toss

On Christmas day, stand with your back towards your front door and throw a shoe over your shoulder. If it lands with the toe pointed towards to door, you’re soon to be married!

2. Britain: Pudding Wishes

When making the pudding that will be served on Christmas Day, each family member takes a turn stirring the chocolate mixture clockwise while making a wish. Some people also choose to add objects into the mix, and whoever finds each one gets good luck—wealth from a coin, a happy marriage from a ring, and good luck in life from a thimble. In Sweden, the hidden object is a peeled almond, and foretells marriage for the finder within the next year.

3. Slovakia: Dough Toss

In Slovakia, the oldest man in the house tosses a spoonful of loksa pudding (a mixture of sweetened poppy seed, bread and water) at the ceiling at Christmas Eve dinner. The more that sticks, the better his crops (or business, etc.) will do in the New Year.

What holiday traditions does your family have?

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