Traditions surrounding Christmas can be celebrated by everyone

Fun games and holiday activities that all cultures and religions can put a spin on



A family celebrating Christmas by decorating the tree all together enjoying the holiday.

Lochan Mourty, Staff Writer

     Plenty of families have similar Christmastime customs that they take part in together, but there are many unique traditions from around the world that might be fun to try this Christmas. 

     An interesting way to spice up the holiday would be to add a little competitive spirit into the mix with a Christmas pickle. Originating in 16th century Germany, the game requires one person to buy a pickle-shaped ornament and hide it somewhere within the Christmas tree. Out of the remaining family members, whoever finds the pickle first will get a special bonus gift.

     As with any tradition, this one can be modified household by household. One way to amp up the difficulty of the competition would be to hide the ornament somewhere within the room where the presents are being opened, or even throughout the house. The ornament doesn’t even have to be a pickle. If a different object would have more symbolic meaning or significance for a specific family, then they can easily incorporate that into the occasion instead. It’s easy to have fun with this idea. 

     For all of the book lovers out there, Jolabokaflod is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas. Translated to “Christmas book flood,” this Icelandic custom is simple. On Christmas Eve, families come together to trade books with each other, spending the remainder of the evening cozying up by a fire with sweets and warm drinks so they can read. This can also be done with friends or neighbors to bring out the holiday cheer in everyone. 

     Jolabokaflod originates from once-challenging times faced by Iceland. When the country was struggling financially during World War II, many households could not afford to buy pricey gifts, and so they resorted to more inexpensive books to keep the holiday season as fun and entertaining as it could possibly be for everyone. Since then, the practice stuck, and it has been enjoyed ever since.

     “Little Candles Day” is a beautiful way for families to decorate their homes and spend quality time with each other. This Colombian practice involves placing candles, paper lanterns, and other decorations throughout one’s home, whether it be the windowsills, front porches, balconies, or somewhere else of the family’s choice.

     Traditionally, this occurs on Dec. 7, but it can easily be done as late as the week before Christmas, or even Christmas Eve. In addition, the custom is supposed to hold religious significance by honoring the Virgin Mary, but even if one isn’t religious, the activity is still entertaining and can bring a family closer by decorating together during a wonderful winter season.

     As per Christian tradition, Christmas is celebrated for 12 days, and France takes advantage of this by celebrating “Three Kings Day” on that final day. On Jan. 6, the French celebrate by either buying or making a galette des rois, or a king’s cake, for family and friends to enjoy. It starts out as simply a way to enjoy something sweet and spend time with loved ones, but the catch is that in one of the cake slices, there will be a small inedible object known as a fève. Whoever finds the fève will be crowned the king/queen of the day.

     For those that don’t practice the religion, this can easily be done on any day of the holiday season, and the cake bakers can make the hidden objects unique for their specific crowd. People can have fun with the concept of playing royalty for a day, too – some families in France buy or make paper crowns for the winners, and it is also common for the winners to choose someone to “rule” alongside them. Whatever the case, the activity is a total package of fun, with dessert to enjoy and a thrilling little game of chance to keep everyone on their toes with anticipation and excitement. 

     Whether or not people believe in the religious side of Christmas, the holiday can still be an incredibly fun way to spend quality time with loved ones. Trying out a new and unique tradition may be just the thing needed to spice up this spirited season.