Blogging Baby Sleepover: Saturday, December 16

I am a self-professed Christmas freak. In fact, I love any holiday: Christian, Muslim, Pagan. If there's good food or a parade, I'm there! I was in the dollar store buying gift bags tonight, when a woman with a thick accent approached me and asked me which colors do people use at Christmas. "I am new to this country," she explained, "It is my first time doing Christmas." When I asked her nationality, she told me she was Albanian. (Which always makes me think of the Simpson's episode where Bart goes on the exchange.) While I could not get her to explain if it was her first Christmas because of religious differences, the whole encounter prompted me to do some reading on how others celebrate around the globe.

Over at Mama Lisa's World Blog, someone wrote in about a Christmas gnome song. Having married into a half-Norwegian family, I did know that Scandinavians get plastered celebrate on Christmas Eve, but I did not know that Swedes were so into gnomes. In Norway, Santa is called Jule Nissen, which roughly translates into Christmas Troll, so I guess there's some correlation there. When you only have 6 hours of daylight, you have to get your jollies where you can.

Gracei talks about the Philippine tradition of busting out the Christmas gear come the months ending in BER -- as in SeptemBER! So fake trees are the norm. This is a big contrast for her Austrian husband, whose family used to cut their trees right out of the forest, but not until December 24th.

The Japanese take on the Christmas hamper -- the fukubukuro -- got my inner-shopaholic wanting to hop on the first plane to Tokyo. In Mumbai, India they're wearing Santa hats with no sign of winter in sight. In South Africa, they're heading for the coastal resort towns. (I always forget that it's summer in the Southern Hemisphere!) I was proud of myself for finding that last one out, because any search of Christmas and South Africa usually nets you a million blog posts about Brangelina's rumored holiday nuptuals.

As for Albanian Christmas traditions, all I could assess is that money is the gift of choice.

What are your international holiday traditions?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.