There is plenty to Christmas around the world that people consider weird. Krampus, for example, is strange. The popularity of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Japan on Christmas Eve is another weird one. But when it comes to Christmas no place is known for weird better than America.
While Christmas wasn’t born in the United States it sure has taken it over. And that dismays much of the world that still considers Christmas a sacred and religious festival. The secular growth of Christmas in America is what lends the odd elements of it that people around the world consider so strange.
Americans who read this might not think a thing of these items below. But to the world these five things remain Christmas mysteries:
- Christmas ornaments – Christmas trees have their origin in ancient Europe but Americans embraced it as Christmas tradition nearly 200 years ago. But what America has done to the Christmas tree continues to baffle the world. Unlike most of the world the United States knows no limits when it comes to decorating a Christmas tree and offers some of the most bizarre ornaments in all the world, including this popular Star Trek theme ornament guaranteed only to be found on an American tree:
- Santa – While St. Nicholas and Father Christmas are known names of a benevolent gift bringer in different areas of the world America has Santa Claus – and he’s unlike any other. Not only is he jovial, as compared to more stern figures, he tends to pop up in advertising, movies and on television in a variety of sometimes irreverent and inappropriate ways. In America Santa is also the supreme Christmas salesman – a fact that, frankly, disturbs the world. The more widely known figures of Christmas around the world are far more humble, religious and less seen than the American Santa.
- Eggnog – It might seem unfair to single out any particular food associated with Christmas. After all, there are unique food items around the world that anyone could call weird. But American eggnog is truly seen as a most strange concoction. Made famous for its continuous use and reference in famous Christmas movies, Eggnog has become so closely associated with Christmas in America that people forget it was, once upon a time, a year round beverage. It is such a curiosity that when those not from the United States try it their reaction is something like this:
- Black Friday – While all the world seems to have learned and come to appreciate Christmas shopping no holiday event gets the notice of the world quite like the American Black Friday. While the “biggest shopping day of the year” (a lie), as it is frequently called, draws huge crowds and has become a happy tradition of Christmas in the United States it is observed with stern criticism around the rest of the world. In fact, it may be the leading event that causes the world to view the American Christmas as the most commercialized and most shallow in all the world. Perplexing people more is the fact that it occurs in November, frequently more than a month before Christmas itself.
- Christmas movies – American Christmas movies lead the world – and the world simply doesn’t know how to respond to them. While movies tend to propel American Christmas traditions to ever new places they also tend to spread false information about the American Christmas. For example, White Christmas (the movie) tends to lead other people to think Christmas means snow to most Americans (the truth is that a large portion of the United States enjoy snowless Christmases). The popular Christmas film Home Alone gave the world a twisted perception of what Christmas is like in the modern American family. While much of the world celebrates Christmas with song, plays, stories and other cultural production no other produces Christmas movies quite like the United States.