Adrian Durban Florist

Adrian Durban Florist

Posted by Kerry Durban on December 4, 2020 | Last Updated: January 7, 2021 Christmas Christmas Gifts Flowers

Unusual Holiday Gift Giving Traditions from Across the Globe

Here in the states Santa and his elves are the big deal around Christmas time. He rides through the night sky pulled by flying reindeer to leave gifts for children under a decorated tree. Other cultures, though, have their own version of a gift-giving being during the holidays and they’re not as jolly-looking as Santa. Discover some cool gifting traditions from across the globe as you ponder our own variation here.

Puppet of witch

Italy – La Befana

Instead of Santa Claus, who likes it when milk and cookies are left out for him, Italy has Befana – a witch who gives gifts to kids who leave food and wine out for her. She doesn’t ride around in a sleigh, but rather on a broomstick and shows up in early January in time for the Feast of the Epiphany. The story of Befana is an old legend where she decides to not visit the manger of baby Jesus with the three wise men. She feels bad about her decision and chooses to bring gifts to the child after all, but then is unable to find him. Therefore, she leaves her gifts for other children instead.

Spider web ornament in tree

Ukraine – Spider Webs in Christmas Trees

If you happen to be in Ukraine during the holidays, you will see artificial spider webs adorning Christmas trees. This tradition originates from an old legend where a widow and her children were unable to decorate their Christmas tree because they were too poor. Spiders heard the sobs of the children so on Christmas Eve, while the family was sleeping, the spiders spun intricate webs all over the tree which glistened like silver and gold in the early morning light on Christmas Day. The children were overjoyed when they saw what the spiders had done. In honor of this miracle and to bring good luck and fortune in the year ahead, Ukrainians decorate their trees with artificial spider webs.

Boots with Carrots in them

Netherlands – Sinterklaas

For children in the Netherlands, December 5th, St. Nicholas’ Eve is the day to celebrate and sing and expect a visit from Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) later in the night. Children will leave our carrots and hay for Sinterklaas’s horses and place their shoes on the windowsills for which to receive presents in. Songs, celebrations, and feasts take place on December 5th, while on December 6th Sinterklaas returns to Spain where he spends the rest of the year.

Parade of men dressed as the Krampus

Austria – Krampus

For hundreds of years, Krampus has been striking fear into the hearts of naughty boys and girls in Austria. According to tradition, St. Nicholas’ evil accomplice, Krampus, who is half goat and half man, whisks away naughty children by stuffing them in his sack. Well-behaved children are rewarded with treats and gifts from St. Nicholas. In the days leading up to St. Nicholas day, young men roam the streets dressed up as Krampus with clattering chains frightening children.

Med dressed up as the 13 yule lads

The Yule Lads – Iceland

In Iceland, there are 13 troll-like tricksters called the Yule Lads who come out for mischievous fun and tricks in the 13 days which lead up to Christmas. Each night during Yuletide, kids will leave their best shoes by a window and a Yule Lad will then leave gifts and treats for nice boys and girls or rotten potatoes for naughty ones. With names like “Spoon-Licker,” “Sausage-Swiper,” and “Doorway-Sniffer,” you never know what to expect from one of these pranksters.

Here at Adrian Durban Florist, there’s one thing we know for sure, which is everyone loves flowers, and they are received across the globe with joy and gratitude.