It’s hard to think of Christmas and not think of traditions. It’s the magic string that ties all the nostalgic pleasures of the season into one blissful bundle.
The smell of pine and spiced apple in the air, the loops of fairy lights and popcorn garlands, Grandma’s special Christmas recipes scattered all over the kitchen counter, endless batches of homemade cookies, the eggnog, the roaring fireplace, the gifts under the tree…
To add to this classic line-up of warm Christmas experiences, a lot of families start new traditions every year to add to the old – something that is extra special, delightfully different and uniquely their own.
To help you in this quest for new Christmas traditions, we have put together a merry list of our own favorite ones that you can borrow this year. They’re all Christmas traditions for children we have handpicked from all over the world, and each comes with a recipe recommendation we’re sure you’ll enjoy…
KFC FOR CHRISTMAS, ANYBODY?
No, we not advising this unusual nugget of a Christmas practice that’s very popular in Japan. The country apparently celebrates Christmas Day by eating fried chicken from KFC! If your children love KFC, you can still borrow the idea and make some special fried chicken – Japanese style! The dish is called Karaage, and you can find the recipe here.
LET THE KIDS TRY THEIR LUCK IN THE URN OF FATE
In Italy, there is a tradition called Urn of Fate, which extend the pleasures of receiving gifts in different ways during Christmas. You take an urn and fill it with wrapped empty boxes and one real gift for each person. Thereafter, everybody in the family takes turn to see if their pick proves empty or if they strike lucky with a real gift! Italians brings out the Urn Of Fate after the big Christmas dinner, and children simply love the anticipation of what the `magic’ vessel might be holding for them.
Since you have to make very small gift packages to fill the urn, using pretty homemade candy could be just the thing. Here’s a recipe for brightly-striped Christmas ribbon candy treats that are quite easy to make.
CREATE A SANTA’S “TRAIL”
On Christmas Eve, after the children have gone to bed, leave a crumb trail of small presents from the fireplace (or a window if you don’t have one) to the Christmas tree. Expect some serious amazement the morning after when the kids witness Santa’s “clumsiness”.
To make a Santa’s trail, you can use homemade lollipops with cute Christmas add-ins. The recipe we are sharing is for transparent lollipop candies, but you can always color them up in pastel shades, so each `finding’ looks different.
EXCHANGE OPLATEK `PICTURE’ BREAD
People of Poland have an interesting custom of making thin slices of wafer bread imprinted with a holy photo on top. When you give an Oplatek bread to another person, it means two things: forgiving all past hurts and wishing them a prosperous new year. Children write down a list of good wishes for each person they’re planning to give an Oplatek bread to, and often times it becomes a subtle nudge for siblings to try and get along better with each other.
BE NICE TO BEFANA, THE CHRISTMAS WITCH
In Italy they seem to do Halloween and Christmas in reverse order! On the night of January 5, the Epiphany Eve, it’s Befana the Witch who enters households through the fireplace and leaves gifts and candy for the children. In return, the kids leave wine and food for the friendly witch to feast on. So will Befana be visiting your home in 2016 to carry on the Christmas spirit?
She loves sausage, so making a sausage treat for Befana will surely make her want to leave loads of goodies for your children. We though a wreath made of small sausages would be fun to put together. Find the instructions on how to make a mini sausage wreath here.