22 Christmas Traditions You’ve Never Heard Of

Christmas, the most magical time of the year, is celebrated with a myriad of cherished traditions around the world. While many of us are familiar with the classic customs of decorating trees, hanging stockings, and exchanging gifts, there exist a plethora of lesser-known, enchanting Christmas traditions that add unique flavors to the holiday season. In this exploration of 22 Christmas Traditions You’ve Never Heard Of, we embark on a journey through the global tapestry of holiday customs that are as diverse as they are heartwarming. From Spain’s festive “El Gordo” lottery to Iceland’s mythical Yule Cat, and beyond, these lesser-known traditions shed light on the rich tapestry of Christmas celebrations that unite communities and bring joy to hearts in ways you may have never imagined.

The List of 22 Christmas Traditions You’ve Never Heard Of

1. Brooms and Mops


You might have stashed away your brooms and mops when tidying wasn’t your priority, but in Norway, this practice is rooted in a unique Christmas tradition. According to Norwegian folklore, it’s a customary belief to conceal brooms and mops on Christmas night. The reason behind this curious custom is to ward off malevolent spirits and witches, who, as the legend goes, return to the earthly realm on Christmas. The concern is that these supernatural beings might seize the cleaning tools and employ them for an aerial escapade through the night sky. Now, that’s what you call a thorough way to ensure a spick and span holiday!

2. Exchanging Books


Iceland boasts a delightful Christmas custom that might inspire you to introduce it in your own family. On Christmas Eve, Icelandic households swap books, and the remainder of the evening is dedicated to gathering by a warm fire, taking turns reading aloud, and indulging in delicious sweet treats. It truly sounds like an idyllic way to spend Christmas Eve!

3. Fruitcake


Fruitcake, the commonly gifted confection brimming with dried fruits and nuts, is a global Christmastime indulgence. However, an intriguing historical twist reveals that this tradition finds its origins in ancient Egypt. Though the Egyptians did not observe Christmas, fruitcake made its debut amid the grandeur of the pyramids and, intriguingly, was even placed into tombs. This practice was rooted in the belief that fruitcake was an essential provision for the afterlife.

4. Christmas Star


In Poland, Christmas Eve might leave your stomach growling until your family receives a celestial signal to commence the meal – quite literally. In this tradition, Polish families refrain from starting their dinner until one of them catches sight of the very first star glistening in the night sky.

Read More Fun Facts

Learn more fun facts with Trivia Mastermind content.

5. Christmas Pickle


Here’s a delightful tradition, believed to have its roots in Germany, although its true inception remains shrouded in mystery. Nevertheless, it’s a custom that everyone can wholeheartedly enjoy. It involves concealing a pickle ornament deep within the boughs of the Christmas tree, and the individual who happens upon this hidden pickle during the festive season is bestowed with an extra gift or a bounty of good fortune for the year ahead.

6. Ukraine Christmas Dinner


In Ukraine, when you gather around the dinner table for a traditional Christmas feast, be prepared to settle in for an extended culinary experience. Ukrainians serve an impressive total of 12 courses, with each dish dedicated to one of Jesus’ apostles.

7. Christmas Piñatas


You’re probably familiar with the association of piñatas, the papier-mâché animals and other shapes filled with candies, with Mexico. However, a lesser-known fact is that they often take center stage during the holiday season. The distinction lies in the festive embellishments that adorn these piñatas during this time of the year. Conventional piñatas assume the shape of a seven-pointed star, symbolizing the seven deadly sins, and they are ceremoniously broken with a stick to represent faith in God. These ornate creations are typically filled with small delights such as candies, fruits, and peanuts.

8. The Night of the Radishes


Indeed, it’s a genuine event observed in Mexico, and it holds a special place as a Christmas tradition. Each year on December 23, the inhabitants of Oaxaca, Mexico, are treated to a truly unique spectacle: a competition where contestants intricately carve nativity scenes into large radishes. These remarkable creations are then showcased at the Christmas market for everyone to admire.

Play Trivia!

Challenge yourself and play trivia questions with answers and explanations.

9. Christmas Orchid

Costa Rica

While the Poinsettia enjoys the status of being the quintessential Christmas flower in the United States and various regions around the globe, the scenario takes a distinct turn in tropical Costa Rica. In this captivating locale, the esteemed title of the official Christmas flower is held by the orchid, deviating from the customary Poinsettia tradition.

10. Fried Chicken


This relatively modern tradition has gained immense popularity in Japan. Although Christmas isn’t a widely celebrated holiday in the country, there are those who do partake in the festivities, and their Christmas Day feasts are far from conventional. They opt for none other than bountiful buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Remarkably, Colonel Sanders has become akin to Santa Claus in this context, and the brand even offers special Christmas-themed “Party Barrels” to honor this practice. These festive barrels feature a medley of salad, cake, and a generous supply of the beloved fried chicken.

11. Roller Skates


Here’s an incredibly entertaining Christmas custom for you. In Caracas, Venezuela, the local tradition takes an unconventional turn: instead of driving to church services, residents opt for a more spirited mode of transportation—roller skates. So many individuals partake in this merriment that, on Christmas morning, numerous city streets are temporarily closed to vehicular traffic to accommodate the jovial roller-skating festivities.

12. Mince Pies


You might have come across the term “mince pies,” but what precisely are they? These diminutive pies are typically brimming with dried fruits, and they hold immense popularity in England, particularly during the Christmas season. In a charming twist on the traditional treat, English children set out mince pies for Santa Claus instead of the more conventional cookies.

Read More Fun Facts

Learn more fun facts with Trivia Mastermind content.

13. Father Frost


In Russia, their equivalent of Santa Claus goes by the name “Father Frost.” Father Frost is not a solitary traveler; he is accompanied by a “snow maiden” and delivers gifts on January 7th, the day when Russians commemorate Christmas.

14. Holiday Sauna


For many, Christmas is synonymous with wintry cold, making any chance to bask in warmth a cherished respite. We find it rather appealing to consider this Finnish custom of spending time in a sauna. Numerous homes in Sweden are equipped with saunas, and it’s not uncommon for people to gather in the sauna as a unique way to celebrate Christmas Eve.

15. Crackers


We’re not referring to saltines here. In England, “crackers” are vibrant cardboard tubes that contain small toys, paper crowns, and jokes. When two individuals pull at each end, they create a resounding CRACK! sound (hence the name). The person holding the side with more of the central contents wins the gift.

16. Shoes by the Fire

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, just before Christmas, Dutch children position their shoes close to the fireplace, anticipating that Santa, known as “Sinterklaas,” will fill them with small gifts. Additionally, children leave carrots in their shoes for Sinterklaas’ companion during his journey, a white horse named Amerigo.

17. Pohutukawa

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the term “Pohutukawa” pertains to the indigenous trees known for their vibrant red blossoms that coincide with the holiday season. Celebrated for their cheerful appearance, these trees are regarded as an official Christmas symbol throughout the country, frequently featuring in decorations and greeting cards.

Play Trivia!

Challenge yourself and play trivia questions with answers and explanations.

18. St. Lucia Day

Denmark & Sweden

In Scandinavian nations such as Denmark and Sweden, St. Lucia, or St. Lucy, plays a significant role in Christmas celebrations. On December 13, people observe St. Lucia Day, which is often considered the commencement of the holiday season. During these festivities, the eldest daughter in each family dons a white gown and adorns herself with a crown crafted from branches and nine candles.

19. Surfing


In Australia, Christmas translates to abundant surfing, as it coincides with the summertime celebrations while the Northern Hemisphere experiences wintry chills. On the coastal shores, Santa makes his entrance riding a surfboard instead of the traditional sleigh, and following some exhilarating wave rides, people come together for a Christmas barbecue.

20. Yule Goat


While we often link Christmas with reindeer, in Sweden, a distinct animal takes center stage as the symbol of the holiday season. Historians trace the tradition of the “Yule Goat” back to the 11th century when it initially emerged in Saint Nicholas legends as a goat figure believed to protect against evil forces. Today, the Yule Goat is commonly spotted as an ornament adorning many Christmas trees, and some individuals even opt for large-scale versions to decorate their yards during the holiday season.

21. Tamales


While traditional American Christmas dinners frequently feature turkey or ham, in Mexico, the holiday feast centers around the beloved tamales. Delicious!

22. Christmas Apples


In China, Christmas isn’t synonymous with cakes and candies; it’s all about apples. This tradition is believed to have originated from the resemblance between the Chinese word for apple and the Chinese word for Christmas Eve. As a result, gift-givers present entire packages of apples to their loved ones during the Christmas celebrations.


As we draw the curtain on our journey through 22 Christmas Traditions You’ve Never Heard Of, it becomes evident that the spirit of Christmas is a global phenomenon, celebrated in a multitude of unique and heartwarming ways. These lesser-known traditions from various corners of the world remind us that the true essence of the holiday season lies in the bonds of family, community, and the spirit of giving. Whether it’s the delightful St. Nicholas’ Day festivities in the Netherlands or the jovial straw-throwing customs of the Czech Republic, each tradition adds its own vibrant thread to the tapestry of Christmas celebrations. As we embrace the diversity of these customs, we discover that the magic of Christmas is an ever-evolving and ever-enchanting phenomenon, spreading joy and unity across the globe.

Read More Fun Facts

Learn more fun facts with Trivia Mastermind content.

Play Trivia!

Challenge yourself and play trivia questions with answers and explanations.

Trivia Mastermind Editorial Team

We are fact fanatics, writers, and most importantly, trivia enthusiasts. We have spent thousands of hours creating original trivia questions and fun fact articles for your enjoyment. There are currently, over 6,250 trivia questions on Triviamastermind.com for you to check out. We hope you love them!

Recent Posts