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10 Wacky, Cool Ways the World Celebrates Christmas

From a straw goat in Sweden to hiding brooms in Norway
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2013 2:20 PM CST

(Newser) – Your Christmas may include fruitcake, gifts, and a tree strung with lights, but the holiday season is celebrated a little differently in other parts of the world. In an article picked up from AccuWeather.com, LiveScience rounds up 10 wacky Christmas traditions you may want to adopt—and some you probably don't.

  • On the eve of St. Nicholas' Day, Austria celebrates St. Nick's evil counterpart, Krampus, who punishes bad children. There's a parade, and people dress as devils, witches, and other ominous creatures for this, um, festive occasion.

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  • Canadian children who write to Santa in any language are assured of a response thanks to Canada Post volunteers. Just drop a letter in the mail—no postage needed—and include your return address for a note back from Santa.
  • On Christmas Eve in Norway, families hide all their brooms around the house. It's all part of an old superstition that evil spirits come out and steal brooms to ride around on at night.
  • In Galve, Sweden, a three-ton straw goat is erected in the town square where it stays from Advent Sunday until after New Year's Eve—"unless," as LiveScience notes, "it gets burned down, which has happened on multiple occasions."
  • You may know of Britain's Christmas pudding tradition, but did you know that each person to stir the batter must make a wish? In some cases, the baker even drops a coin in the batter, and the one to find it is considered "lucky" ... even if they do chip a tooth.
Click for the rest of the traditions, including the tale behind hanging a pickle on your Christmas tree. Or check out the BBC's gallery of Christmas celebrations worldwide. (Read more Christmas stories.)

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