What are some other weird holiday things?
December 13, 2018 8:44 PM   Subscribe

I'm a fan of the Gavle Goat and I'm aware of the Yule Lads and Krampus. What other strange holiday things/creatures/what have you are out there to learn about?

I'm primarily focusing on December holidays (doesn't have to be Christmas) but other holiday things/creatures are welcome too.
posted by jenfullmoon to Grab Bag (25 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
not sure if applicable but kfc made an actual fireplace-burning festive log that smells like chicken
posted by poffin boffin at 8:51 PM on December 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


Not sure how weird it is, but

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah_Harry
posted by Jacen at 8:53 PM on December 13, 2018


In Catalonia they put figurines of guys shitting in the nativity scenes.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:09 PM on December 13, 2018 [8 favorites]


My hometown makes a tree out of tumbleweeds
posted by padraigin at 9:22 PM on December 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Mari Lwyd! (heads-up: photo of a decorated horse skull. Because that's what a Mari Lwyd is. Very myffic, etc.)
posted by kalimac at 9:40 PM on December 13, 2018 [9 favorites]


Jólakötturinn, Iceland's Evil Giant Christmas Cat
posted by moonmilk at 9:42 PM on December 13, 2018 [6 favorites]


Belsnickel, who tosses candy to the children and then whips them while they scramble to pick it up
posted by moonmilk at 9:44 PM on December 13, 2018


There's always the infamous and offensive Zwarte Piet from the Netherlands. (warning: blackface)

He interestingly seems to be a varient of the Belsnickel, who i did not know about before this ask.
posted by frumiousb at 10:16 PM on December 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Befana, the Italian witch who delivers candy to children, or coal if you're bad.

Pantomime shows in the UK have the stock character of the pantomime dame.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:06 PM on December 13, 2018


You'd probably really enjoy the HAPPY! television show on the SyFy network. It's about an alcoholic ex-cop who tries to rescue his daughter from a deranged Santa Claus kidnapper with the help of her unicorn imaginary friend. It's a comedy. Kind of.
posted by xammerboy at 11:34 PM on December 13, 2018


IDK man, Elf on a Shelf tops every list for me. That it somehow spawned Mensch on a Bench as a follow up product is just.. I can't. Just go through Pinterest to see the stuff mommy bloggers have come up with for it Christmas-ritual wise. Gives me the creeps .
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:36 PM on December 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


The Grinch.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 11:47 PM on December 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


Atlanta has the Pink Pig ride.

FYI, the Happy! TV show is based on a comicbook miniseries by Grant Morrison, who has also written several miniseries about a superheroic badass Santa Claus fighting evil. Grant Morrison likes screwing around with Christmas.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:22 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


My hometown makes a tree out of tumbleweeds

Texas has a Tumbleweed Christmas Tree song! And yes, Notrees is a real place.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:27 AM on December 14, 2018


Italy's Badalisc, the gossiping furry horned monster that goes around on the Epiphany and duels with the townsfolk.

He's adorable.
posted by Gordafarin at 3:06 AM on December 14, 2018


Also Catalan is the tradition of Tió de Nadal, a friendly Christmas log that you feed during the festive season, then beat with sticks until he poops out gifts while singing encouraging songs.
posted by terretu at 3:07 AM on December 14, 2018 [9 favorites]


LA Confidentaial and Long Kiss Goodnight are both secretly Christmas movies... I promise.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:06 AM on December 14, 2018


Krampus is a Schaichperchten (or ugly alpine spirit), but Austria also has schönperchten (or beautiful alpine spirits) and Glöckler.
posted by chrisulonic at 4:22 AM on December 14, 2018


not sure if applicable but kfc made an actual fireplace-burning festive log that smells like chicken

I dont have a fireplace but i DO live down the block from a Popeyes, so i get the appeal.

Also, can confirm that the Catalan shitting figures come in a variety of modern variations too including sports stars (you can get a squatting dropped-shorts messi) politicians (i was tempted to buy a shitting trump but the quality wasnt good enough) and superheroes (wolverine or spider man? why not.)
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 5:40 AM on December 14, 2018


Mummers' plays
Christmas pickle
Christmas crackers may be quirky if you're not in the Commonwealth

Some New Year's traditions:
The Chasse-galerie
St. Basil's Day, featuring trick-or-treating style caroling tours and a coin hidden in bread
Black-eyed peas
posted by capricorn at 6:29 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


My Danish friends put Rice pudding in their roof/attic on Christmas eve (they live in an actual thatched very old farmhouse) for the Nisse men. Which she says will do mischievous things if you don't, but will help around the farm if you do. She is very rural Danish and a little old fashioned so I'm not sure if this is a common thing in Denmark anymore, but she used to do it even when she lived in Australia for a while.
posted by wwax at 6:48 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


The California Raisins Claymation Christmas Special!

(True story, when I was little, I didn’t realize that the California Raisins were just a mascot for, you know, the raisins. I thought they were an actual musical group who just happened to dress up like raisins.)
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:27 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Wait have we talked about the Star Wars holiday special?

Because we should talk about the Star Wars holiday special
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:34 AM on December 14, 2018


Hermione Granger: I think it's come up before a few times :) If anyone has more to add on it though...

Oh, I just found something!
"Every year she hides the Christmas Vampire"
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:34 PM on December 14, 2018


There's Sint, a horror movie about Sinterklaas.
posted by neushoorn at 12:52 AM on December 17, 2018


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