As the festive season is fully underway, it’s interesting to see how different customs have emerged in various countries. Many global assignees will be celebrating their first Christmas abroad this year and could be trying something new… and truly unique.

1. The Gayle Goat of Sweden

A giant version of the traditional Swedish Christmas straw goat has been placed at Castle Square in Gävle each Christmas since 1966. The Gävle Goat is the world’s largest straw goat and made it to the Guinness Book of Records for the first time in 1985.

2. Krampus – St Nicholas’ evil accomplish, Austria

In Austrian tradition, St. Nicholas rewards nice little boys and girls, while Krampus is said to capture the naughtiest children and whisk them away in his sack, reports momondo. In the first week of December, young men dress up as the Krampus (especially on the eve of St. Nicholas Day) frightening children with clattering chains and bells.

3. KFC for Christmas Dinner, Japan

As Christmas isn’t celebrated much in Japan, there are few festive celebrations that take place. An interesting tradition has emerged; Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas dinner. KFC Japan even has its own Christmas-themed menu for the big day!

4. Roller-Skate to Church, Venezuela

The citizens of Caracas visit their churches early on Christmas Eve… on roller skates! Roads across the city are closed to help keep skaters safe as they travel to church and then home.

5.  Giant Lantern Festival, Philippines

San Fernando is known as the ‘Christmas capital of the Philippines’ thanks to its spectacular display of lanterns on the Saturday before Christmas Eve. Originally made from origami, the lanterns now use a variety of materials, becoming larger and much more elaborate. The competition has become fiercely competitive and attracts visitors from all over the Philippines and across the world.

“It’s fascinating to learn how people in various countries celebrate Christmas,” says Louise Chilcott, Global Move Specialist with BTR International. “Our destination services focus on business and personal needs during relocation. This can include area orientation during which festive traditions can be discussed.”

Are you managing international assignments or relocating to a new role in a different country? Contact Louise via  or call +44 (0) 1582 495495 for an initial discussion without obligation.


Image courtesy of jscreationzs at

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