24 February, 2020
Is it just us or do families often get stuck in their ways when it comes to the Christmas routine? Well, if you’re looking to shake it up, how about some inspiration from around the world.
For example, in the Venezuelan capital Caracas, it is customary for the entire city to roller-skate to early morning Christmas Mass. Iceland has Jolabokaflod, the ‘book flood’ where people buy books for each other and give them on Christmas Eve before curling up to read them. And, in Ukraine, people tend to adorn their Christmas tree with a fake spider and web to bring good luck.
Perhaps our favourite foreign tradition, however, is the fact that, in Poland, many homes symbolically leave an empty place-setting at the table on Christmas Day for a lonely wanderer who may be in need of food or a deceased relative who might like to share in the meal.
Here in the UK, restaurants are spreading the festive spirit by joining the StreetSmart campaign, which adds a £1 donation to customers’ bills to help the homeless. And, across the pond Humans of New York blogger Brandon Stanton is continuing his annual ‘HONY For The Holidays’ tradition to connect people in New York City who would otherwise be alone for the holidays with those who have an extra seat at their table. Great way to make it different!