We are all familiar with our own Christmas traditions, but what fun stuff are we missing that other countries do to make THEIR celebrations special? Well, children here write to Santa Claus, and wait with excitement for him to deliver their gifts, but in other places they may be waiting for Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, The Three Kings or even a Fairy Queen. This is worth looking into!
If you were raised in France, on Christmas Eve you would put empty shoes on the doorstep or by the fireplace, because it is said that the Christ Child will come during the night to put gifts in them. In England Father Christmas sneaks quietly into the house and fills the children’s stockings with gifts. In the Netherlands the children put hay and sugar inside of a shoe on the night before Saint Nicholas Day. Saint Nicholas’ horse eats the hay and sugar when they get there, and after the horse eats Saint Nicholas fills the shoes with candy and tiny gifts. Now, in Spain you put straw in your shoes and the camels of the Three Kings will eat the straw. They will pass by the house and leave gifts on Epiphany, twelve nights after Christmas. In Italy you get your gifts in a large jar that is called the Urn of Fate. A Fairy Queen flies down the chimney and fills each jar with gifts and goodies on Epiphany, instead of on Christmas. An interesting side note about Italy – it was in Italy that the nativity scene became popular and spread through the Alps, eventually making its way to the United States with German pioneers. And speaking of Germany . . . At Christmas they get gifts from a girl called Christkind. She wears a crown of candles and carries a basket full of gifts for the children. A twist on that story is that a dreadful demon called Hans Trapp goes with Christkind to deliver the gifts, but before she gives any gifts, Hans Trapp waves a stick to threaten the naughty children. In Sweden children wait to hear a thump on the front door and wake up to find gifts – it is the old man and woman who go about on the night before Christmas throwing gifts inside the children’s front doors. Nobody in Sweden has ever found out who they were. In other parts of Europe at Christmas time you might get a gift from a ferocious looking man with a soot covered face. It’ll be Knight Ruprecht passing out gifts as he travels with Saint Nicholas. Wow, I’ve never heard of any of these except for Saint Nicholas . . . how fun!
Bake Cookies Day – Don’t you just love this one? I know I do! Everyone can enjoy this day, no matter what their faith or dietary needs. There are cookies for various holidays, cookies just because they are delicious, cookies for people who eat gluten free, special natural sugars safe for diabetics for special cookies . . . there are cookies for EVERYONE . . . you just have to find the right recipe and bake them. Now, I am betting that this one lands mid December for a good reason. People are focused on making all of their favorites this time of year. I know that mine all need to be done by Friday to make the mail!
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Suckling Pig Day – I am going to start this one with a rant – this is one of the most disgusting, unacceptable things in the food world. This and veal are completely disturbing to me. Beef and pork are wonderful food choices, as adults who have had a chance to live their lives until they reach an age that is a good one for food animals. Taking infant animals from their mothers before they have even weaned for our selfish eating pleasure is nasty and horrifying and you will NEVER find these meats on my table. This is not an anti-meat rant, this is an anti-INFANT meat rant. So instead of celebrating Suckling Pig Day I suggest we all celebrate Pork Day – you get more food for your money with an adult pig, it isn’t horrifying, and is tasty.
- Cuban-Style Oven-Roasted Pork
- BBQ’d Bacon-Wrapped Pork Fillet
- Pork Tenderloin With Balsamic-Red Currant Sauce
- Roasted Honey-Glazed Spareribs
- Honey, Mustard & Rosemary Roast Pork
- Roast Pork With Piri Piri
- Old-Fashioned Roast Pork
Well, we’ve learned about various Christmas traditions and how I feel about food too young to be on the table. All over the board today! Now, I’m going on an outing with my Mom! Merry Christmas, God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!