I've spent the last few days in the build-up to Christmas watching festive films while fashioning a giant neck tie out of cardboard and stapling/sticking fluorescent yellow velvet fabric onto it. Every year I watch Christmas films to get myself in the Christmas spirit and this year, avoided the dire looking Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger but unfortunately stumbled across Noel on DVD in a charity shop. Noel managed to steal the title of “Dodgiest Christmas Film” from previous joint winners Jack Frost (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0141109/) and Santa Who? (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0251382/). But I'm sure anyone actually reading this is more interested in the reason behind my bizarre over-sized creation...
Every Christmas my family dress up on Boxing Day according to whatever theme the person hosting Christmas has selected. I can't quite remember when this tradition began but we have had all sorts of costumes since; My sister's are generally always the best while mine tend to be more surreal. She made a fabulous kebab shop owner (Turkish), jerk chicken (Caribbean theme), chorizo (Spanish) and Gandhi (Indian) while my cigar and Dali melting clock required some explaining. In the absence of any more exciting costume ideas, I'm going to be a giant tie for this year's Thai theme. This whole tradition may sound strange but I've recently discovered some odder ones in foreign lands:
- In Austria, Krampus is Santa's evil accomplice who kidnaps naughty kids and takes them back to his lair in a sack so on December 6th men dress up in scary demon costumes and try to scare local children.
- In the Czech Republic on Christmas Eve single women stand opposite a door with their back to it and throw their shoes at the door and if they land face up a wedding is to be expected.
- In Japan, KFC is so popular reservations are required over the festive period.
- In the Ukraine, the person who finds the fake spiderweb hidden among the tree decorations is said to have good luck.
- In Venezuela, church-goers traditionally wear roller skates to morning mass while slumbering kids are supposed to tie string around their big toe and trail it out of their bedroom window - this way, passing skaters can alert those not already awake Santa has been and gone.
- In Norway, legend says that on Christmas Eve witches and evil spirits come out looking for brooms to ride on so to ruin the plans of these pesky witches, all brooms in the house are hidden and men go outside to fire a shotgun and scare the evil spirits away.
- In Chicago, the Chicago Tribune holds an annual "Scared of Santa" contest for the best photo of a kid shrieking on Santa's lap.