The Northland is a melting pot of cultures, all celebrating the Christmas holiday honoring their heritage.  It's interesting what each culture believes and how they celebrate.  One this is for sure, we all experience the hustle and bustle of the holidays and anticipate time with family and friends.  If I missed your heritage (I apologize) or if you have a special tradition, share it with me!

 

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    Germany

    A big part of the Christmas celebrations in Germany is Advent. When I was young my mother would always get me the cardboard advent calendars that have the little windows that you open starting on December 1 through the 25 with a piece of chocolate behind each window.  But, there are several different kinds, some are pretty incredible made out of Fir tree branches with 24 decorated boxes or bags hanging from it. Each box or bag has a little present in it.  But, I was young, a piece of chocolate a day was a considered a bonus!

    I'm not a fan of fruitcake but if I were I'd have Germany to thank for it.  Since 1329, fruitcake has been considered one of the best Christmas pastries in the world.

    Info: whychristmas.com

    germanfoods.com

     

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    Native American

    I've been to the powwow in Cloquet and I suspect this is very similar. Many Native American tribes will host dances on Christmas Eve or Day.  Often they will include the manager scene.  There is observation of similarity between the three wise man bringing gifts to the newborn baby and the Chiefs of the Great Nations offering gifts to braves in the fields.

    Info: indiancountrytodaymedianetwork

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    Italy

    Sometimes the Italian Nativity scene is displayed in the shape of pyramid which can make them very tall! It's made of several tiers of shelves and is decorated with colored paper, gold covered pinecones and small candles. A small star is often hung inside the top of the pyramid/triangle. There may even be shelves above the it that contain fruit, candy and presents.

    My nativity scene and creche is very special to me because I bought it from the Carlton Nursing Home (now Interfaith) years ago when my mom was the Director of Nursing.  One of the residence had made the figurines.  I remember it was displayed in a glass case for sale and I just had to have it.  The artist was thrilled and we were both appreciative of each other.

    Naples is also the home to the largest crib scene in the world, which has over 600 objects on it!

    Info: whychristmas.com

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    Switzerland

    I honestly just like the ambiance that my Christmas Tree lights give off, otherwise my Christmas Tree decorations are ribbons and hand made snowflakes and reindeer.  But in Switzerland they have a tradition of using real candles.  I don't hear of a lot of fires due to candles on Christmas Trees so that culture must take necessary precautions.

    Their main Christmas meal usually includes a Christmas ham and scalloped potatoes.

    Info whychristmas.com

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    Finland

    My dealings with goats haven't been good.  One was standing on the hood of my car at my friend Brenda's house and the other was at an event I was broadcasting from and while I was scratching his back, he chewed through the wires of my headphones.  But in Finland, the Christmas Goat is a tradition.  That's because there, Santa might also be known as Joulupukki which translates to mean 'Christmas Goat'.  Tradition states that the scary Yule Goat asked people for presents, but never got any.  Over time the goat then gave the gifts and then Santa took over.  But the name of the Christmas Goat stuck.  The tradition says that the goat now rides with reindeer leaving gifts under the Christmas tree.  However, if you've been naughty you might be given coal. (which reminds me of trick or treating with Charlie Brown.)

    Info whychristmas.com

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