Ah Sam Floral Co.

Ah Sam Floral Co.

Posted by Ah Sam Florist on December 4, 2020 | Last Updated: January 7, 2021 Christmas Christmas Decor Flower Gifts Flowers

Quirky Holiday Gifting Traditions Across the Globe

Instead of Santa Claus, who prefers milk and cookies to be left out for him, Italy has Befana – a witch who leaves gifts for kids who leave wine out for her. Befana doesn’t travel via a sleigh but rather flies on a broomstick showing up in early January just in time for the Feast of the Epiphany. The story of Befana is an age-old legend about how she decided not to visit the manger of baby Jesus when he was born, as the three wise men did. She regrets her decision and chooses to take gifts to the child after all, but she is unable to find him, so instead, she leaves her gifts to other children.

Old Witch Puppet

Italy – La Befana

Here in the U.S., Santa and his elves are the VIPs around Christmas time. Santa Claus rides in his sled at night, pulled by flying reindeer, to stop at every house and leave gifts for children under the tree. The tradition of Santa Claus has been around in America for hundreds of years. Other cultures have similar traditions of a St.Nick, or Kris Kringle who also leave presents for kids. There are a few notable traditions, though, of less than jolly-looking characters who come around on Christmas Eve. Read more below of some unusual holiday gifting traditions from other cultures.

Spider web ornaments in tree

Ukraine – Spider Webs in Christmas Trees

During the holidays in Ukraine, you will see many artificial spider webs in Christmas trees. This tradition comes from the legend of a widow and her children who were unable to add any decorations to their Christmas tree because they were too poor. Spiders heard the sad sobs of the children and on Christmas Eve when the family was asleep, the spiders spun numerous intricate webs over the tree, In the bright morning light of Christmas day, the webs glistened with bright specks of light like silver and gold. Upon waking, the children were overjoyed when they saw what the spiders did. Today, In honor of this Christmas miracle and to bring good luck in the year ahead, Ukrainians adorn their trees with artificial spider webs.

Boots with Carrots in them

Netherlands – Sinterklaas

For children in the Netherlands, December 5th ( St. Nicholas’ Eve), is the day for celebrating and singing because a visit from Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) is coming later that night. Children typically leave carrots and hay for Sinterklaas’s horses and put their shoes on the windowsill so Sinterklaas can leave treats and presents in them. Parties, songs, and feasts take place on December 5th, because on December 6th, Sinterklaas returns back to Spain where he lives the rest of the year.

Krampus demon in parade

Austria – Krampus

For hundreds of years, the scary Krampus has been terrorizing the naughty boys and girls in Austria. As the legend goes, Krampus, a half-man, half-goat beast who is St. Nicholas’s evil accomplice, steals away naughty children and stuffs them in his sack. Well-behaved children, on the other hand, are rewarded with gifts from St. Nicholas. In the few days leading up to St. Nicholas day, you can see young men dressed up as Krampus roaming the streets with clattering chains frightening children.

13 Yule Lads in snow

The Yule Lads – Iceland

In Iceland, thirteen troll-like tricksters known as the Yule Lads come out for tricks and mischievous fun in the 13 days before Christmas. Each night during Yuletide, kids will leave their nicest shoes by a window for a Yule Lad who will either leave gifts and treats if the child has been nice, or rotting potatoes if not. With names like “Sausage-Swiper,” “Spoon-Licker,” and “Doorway-Sniffer,” you don’t know what you’ll get from one of these pranksters.

Here at Ah Sam Florist, we know that no matter where you live in the world, flowers are a universally well-received gift. Make someone’s holiday brighter with a gift of flowers.