Traveling the world gives you a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, explore new places, experience unique cultures and take part in regional traditions. This is especially true when it comes to traveling during the holiday season. From tasting holiday-time foods and drinks to exploring iconic landmarks in the snow under the glow of twinkling Christmas lights, a trip abroad during the holidays can be a magical experience. While you may have your own set of Christmas traditions at home, you’ll likely encounter a few familiar ones, and maybe a couple obscure ones too, during your time abroad.
Celebrate Christmas, Upside Down
Trimming the Christmas tree is a popular holiday tradition that brings together friends and family the world-across. But some Americans are turning this tried-and-true tradition upside down, literally. Enter, the upside-down Christmas tree. Sources report that the upside-down trees were first implemented as a savvy retail trick, allowing for more floor space for gussied-up and dressed presents in store displays, but in recent years the decorating trend has become all the rage in homes across the states.
The bottom-up Christmas trees can be suspended from the ceiling, or some artificial varieties are sold with a stand that can be mounted to the top or base of the tree. Now, all you have to worry about it what you are going to do with your tree-topper star.
While the idea of drinking eggnog around the holidays might not seem too obscure, the origin of this creamy drink is quite bizarre. Most historians believe that eggnog was first created during Britain’s early medieval years, but as its popularity faded overseas, it found a new sort of following in the American colonies.
The standard Madeira and Sherry liquors were not easy to come by and were soon replaced by more commonplace spirits such as whiskey and rum. According to legend, George Washington served eggnog to his visitors at Mount Vernon, and history books even claim that eggnog was the cause of a riot in the year 1826 after cadets at West Point were forbidden to consume the holiday-time drink. By the 19th century, drinking eggnog was well on its way to becoming a holiday season tradition, and today, Americans still sip the libation throughout the month of December.
Run with Santas
Sure, Spain may have The Running of the Bulls, but America has claimed the Running of the Santas. This boozy Christmas-time tradition brings thousands of pub-crawlers out in droves to the streets dressed in red and white santa-themed garb. Suited up in beards, belts, hats and other Santa-esque accessories, these drunken runners set off to the finish line, oftentimes with a beer in-hand. This year will mark the 20th annual Running of the Santas in the American city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Other cities that host a Running of the Santas include New Orleans, Louisiana, Baltimore, Maryland, Boston, Massachusetts and Chicago.
Shop Black Friday
Dubbed the “biggest shopping day of the year,” Black Friday, which happens each year on the day after Thanksgiving, is when thousands of Americans take to the malls and big-box stores to score deals on Christmas presents. While the crazy shopping event takes place a month before Christmas is even celebrated, to many it’s considered an important Christmas-time tradition.