Christmas Traditions Nice and Scary

Image from geralt from Pixabay

In the UK we have many Christmas traditions, some of the more recent having been adopted from America. Wherever you find countries with long chilly winters you will find some evidence of winter celebrations, often having their origins from long ago, and we have been looking at some you may not have come across before. Here are just a few…

Iceland is an amazing place to visit but it is not the friendliest of climates, and early settlers were really up against it in a bid for survival. It’s not surprising that it is home to some savage legends. Not least are Gryla and the 13 Yule Lads who visit children in December each year for the 13 days leading up to Christmas. Each night, Icelandic children leave their shoes in the window and each morning they will find either a small gift, if they have been good, or a potato if they have been naughty.

The Yule Lads have names that translate into titles such as Window-Peeper, Spoon-Licker, Door-Slammer, and Sausage-Swiper, but their mother, Gryla, is a fearsome old woman who owns a big black cat called Jolakottur. This terrible creature is let loose at this time to feast on any poor unfortunates who don’t receive new clothes for Christmas.

People in the Alps welcome Father Christmas as we do, but their St Nick who rewards good children is accompanied by Krampus who is a terrifying horned beast. He arrives on 5 December with much clanging of bells. He prowls the streets of towns seeking naughty children and punishes them for their wrongdoings. Pretty scary.

Image from Pixaline at Pixabay

And in Norway it is the witches who come out at Christmas and have to  be watched out for. One way of keeping them at bay is for all brooms to be hidden away for the festive period. Sounds like a good excuse not to do any housework.

.A much kinder tradition, in Latvia, is that of the log that is dragged around, sometimes just about the house, but it can be taken from house to house or farm to farm. Its purpose is to collect any ill fortune or problems from the previous year. When its journey is complete, it is burned, taking all the bad luck with it and welcoming in the fresh new year.

Do you know of any interesting Christmas traditions. Perhaps you have one that is peculiar to your own family. We would be delighted to hear from you. Email Kitty at














Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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