What's your Christmas tradition?

There’s no escaping it, holidays are coming. And that means Christmas traditions aplenty – the old, the new, the weird and wonderful.

There are religious celebrations. Pagan winter festivities – Germanic Yule and Roman Saturnalia. And, of course, those of us who enjoy taking time out. Maybe to be with loved ones or give some time to charity. And okay, some shopping and a lil’ bit of eating too.

However you do it, it’s a holiday full of heart. Around the globe, from north to south, east to west, you can pretty much rely on family, friends, lights, candles, trees, feasts and exchanging of gifts. But as well as the similarities there are some unusual Christmas traditions that caught our eye. And we’re not just talking oversized socks hanging around expectantly for a certain someone.

In Japan it’s mainly a commercial fest, but on Christmas Eve it’s a thing for couples to spend some time together. Aww, no arguments over whose fam you’re heading off to there, then. Our fave is the KFC Christmas tradition. Yep, you read that right. An advertising campaign in the 1970s made eating our favourite fried chicken a custom at Christmas time in Japan. What’s not to like, unless you’re vegan.

If you love a super-long Christmas then there’s only one place to head. That’s the Philippines. Things start getting festive as early as September with carols being sung. And if you’re a kid who wants to grow up tall, then the advice goes “jump on the stroke of midnight, on New Year’s Eve”. Worth a try?

A lot of folks, including Lebanese and Armenians, have to wait until 6 January for Christmas – imagine that – but great if you’re hoping to bag some post Xmas sale bargains in time for your family festivities.

Ever wanted to see a golden pig? Well, head to Central Europe and if you hold your fast on Christmas Eve until after dinner, that’s just what you might see. Or that’s what the grown-ups tell the kids anyway.

And there’s a lot of shoe polishing happening on 5 December in Northern Europe – after all the hard work the shoes get left out overnight in the hope that St Nic will leave some treats in them. A devil comes along too – leaving a golden coloured stick instead – just a heads-up if you’ve been naughty this year.

Whatever the Christmas tradition is in your family we hope you have an amazing time and let us know your weird and wonderful ones in the comments. Also at this time of yeah and excess check out our handy guide on how to save or give your left over food.