Different Christmas traditions you’ve probably never heard of

There are so many different Christmas traditions families celebrate. In California, the most common tradition is to make tamales and have a big family gathering on December 24th and the 25th. Another big one is that many families bake cookies and decorate gingerbread houses. You may be surprised when you hear about other traditions in other areas. 

Here are some student traditions in SBHS.

“We get a big family gathering, then we celebrate with all different types of food,” said Sergio Chavez (12). 

“Every year my mom and I make tamales for the entire family. Also, my oldest brother sleeps on the couch on Christmas Eve so that he can ‘look out for Santa,’” said Danielle Villanueva (11). 

“We make tamales every year and set a fire at the chimney,” said Jasmine Ambrosio (12).

What are some other traditions outside of California? 


One of the most popular traditions is the Yule Goat. The Yule Goat is known to be an invisible spirit that makes sure that the holiday will be perfect as planned. The goat is made of straw and is 42 feet high, 23 feet wide, and weighs about 3.6 tons. (7200 lbs). The goat is built in the Castle Square every year from November 27 to and gets taken down late December or early January.


One of the biggest traditions in Japan is actually going to KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). This tradition was created in 1972 after KFC announced that a bucket of fried chicken and wine would be great for the whole family. After it was announced, multiple families would make their way there even with a two hour wait. 


Iceland’s tradition is very similar to California’s. However, they celebrate Christmas 13 days before. Instead of setting out stockings expecting candy from Santa Claus, children will set out their shoes by the window and will be visited by the 13 Yule Lads. If they were good all year, they would receive candy in their shoes. If they were bad, they wouldn’t receive coal. They’d get rotten potatoes instead. Another tradition in Iceland is called “Jolabokaflod.” This tradition is when people give or receive books and open and read them on December 24th.


There is a tradition for families with children called “Kagatiyo.” Kagatiyo is a log with a face, blanket, and a hat. Throughout December, the children will feed the happy log hoping for a prize in the end. On the 24th of December, the children will beat the log with a stick singing a song that explains they will beat the log with a stick until it poops out a present. After lifting the blanket off the log, a small present for each child will appear.


In Austria, children will create a list of good things they’ve done vs the bad things they’ve done. This list will be seen by Krampus. Krampus is a half goat half human that punishes children. If the good deeds exceed their bad deeds, then they will receive sweet treats. If their bad deeds exceed their good deeds, they will wait for Krampus’s punishments.

Which tradition surprises or intrigues you the most?

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