Each year during the holiday season, it is not uncommon to find houses decked out with twinkling lights, glowing candy canes, Santas shimmying down chimneys, and faux icicles hanging from rooftops. Housing an evergreen tree in your living room is a completely acceptable way to celebrate the season. But all over the world, dozens of holiday traditions come to pass that vary greatly from the aforementioned Christmas customs we are so used to taking part in every year.
It is easy to overlook the relative absurdity of the holiday festivities we hold near and dear to our hearts. Year after year, traditions become banal and commonplace. For instance, no one bats an eye when giant socks are hung on mantles, lying in wait to be stuffed by an old man who is essentially good at breaking and entering.
That being said, there are some truly interesting holiday traditions across the globe. One shining example is Krampus, the terrifying, demonic anti-Santa popular in Austria and a handful of other Middle European countries. He is St. Nick's evil cohort, punishing misbehaved young ones for their annually accrued misdeeds.
Another odd but heartwarming tradition takes place in the Ukraine, where it is customary to adorn Christmas trees with spiderwebs. On the surface it may seem like there's some confusion between Christmas and Halloween. But according to European folklore, a peasant family grew their very own tree from a single pinecone. Disheartened by the fact that they didn't have the money to properly decorate the tree, they awoke on Christmas morning to find the tree's branches covered in silky spiderwebs glistening in the morning light. Today, citizens of the Ukraine bedeck their trees with webs to welcome good fortune in the New Year.