Your family holiday doesn't always look like the Norman Rockwell version.  Mine certainly doesn't.

But the postcard-version of Christmas is rarely the norm.  People bring in their own culture to make the holiday special.  In my family, we have a tradition of making Lebanese bread with a spicy chili sauce and eating that for breakfast on Christmas Morning.  We call it Situ bread (Situ being the Arabic word for grandmother).  My Situ used to make this bread with 50 lbs of flower in a huge washing tub.  Today, it's smaller batches with the Kitchen-Aid mixer -- but it is still delicious and makes me think of Christmas each time I eat it:

Here are some other traditions that might seem odd to you.  Add yours below in the comment section!

  • Spain has a tradition of including a man pooping in the manger scene.  Farmers believed they would have poor crops if they didn't include the figurine.
  • Austria has Saint Nick . . . but also a creepy devilish guy that comes with him.  If you are a bad kid in Austria, you don't get coal . . . you get Krampus who will punish you or, if your really naughty, put you in a sack and eat you for a midnight snack.  I'm pretty sure there are a LOT of good kids in Austria.
  • Finland's Christmas Eve is filled with fun -- and a traditional sunset visit to your family cemetery to light candles on graves of your departed loved ones.  I'm pretty sure that isn't as odd as some people think.  I have a whole slew of Slavic friends in the northeast who visit graves at special occasions and always have a 'grave blanket' to lay over the grave during the holidays.
  • Iceland takes a version of the stocking and, instead, has kids leave shoes in the windowsills for 13 nights so the 13 magical Yule Lads can climb down from the mountains to leave gifts in the shoes of well-behaved kids.
  • Ukraine Christmas trees usually include a a spider and web for good luck.  I wouldn't make it in the Ukraine.
  • Italy doesn't bother with Santa.  That's boring.  Instead, they have Befana who is an ugly old witch who gives gifts to good children on the eve of Epiphany.  No milk and cookies for Befana -- she wants broccoli and sausage with a glass of good wine.