Christmas has to be normal. There are turkey parades, pudding races, and encounters with Alpine devils on your calendar. There are a lot of unusual Christmas and New Year events.Squeeze every moment out of your next vacation with tips and tricks from Lonely Planet in our weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox.
The Turkey Festival in Licques, a petit village in the Trois Pays region of France, is a great place to find inspiration for plucking, stuffing and roasting. This is a festival with turkey dinners, markets, tastings, and many other things.
Locals gather to watch the turkey parade on Sunday where the region's finest birds shake a tail feather through the streets to the jaunty tunes of brass bands. The liqueur is served hot from a cauldron.
At nightfall in Austria's Alps in December, there is a Krampus run or the Krampus parade, which is a scary event for children. He is a nasty piece of work who punishes children by whipping them with rods and scaring them so much that they end up in the river.
It's still frightening to see 60 odd Krampusse dressed in goat skins and masks on a cold winter's eve. Listen for the sound of bells and the screams as you track down the devils. Salzburg has a Krampus run over several nights leading up to St Nicholas Day.
It's the season for skimpy bikinis and skin-tight bathing suits with a Santa hat, and you'll see surf lifesavers doing it. It's become a local tradition to head out with the surfers and backpackers for beach picnics and festive dips in the Pacific that are awesome.
It's refreshing to dip in the North Sea on New Year's Day. You can't help but admire the 10,000 Dutch who strip down to their bathing suits on New Year's Day at the seaside resort of Scheveningen. If you want to jump into the briny blue, join them.
Do you wear red underwear? If you want the new year to be a lucky one, you should be. It needs to be a gift from a loved one for a bra to work.
Madrid and Nochevieja are some of the best places in the world to celebrate New Year's Eve. As the Real Casa de Correos clock strikes midnight, it's a good idea to have 12 grapes ready to eat. Chocolatera San Ginés is a Madrileo place where you can get hot chocolate and churros after partying all night.
Do you know how many trees you have seen? It's not like this one. The Singing Christmas tree in Zrich is so large that it's a podium. The choir singers are dressed in red beanies and scarves, and they look like giant red candles. During the month of November and December, choirs sing carols and classics on the tree.
The pig race is held at the ski resort of Klosters in the Swiss Alps. The Swiss custom of giving marzipan pigs as luck-bringing gifts is higher than this one. The trotters play at the Hotschrennen and some 2000 people watch them.
The 10 pigs chosen are not ordinary pigs, they have been trained to ignore the temptations and negotiate the obstacles that come their way. The first pig to cross the line will become the mascot for the year.
There is a Christmas pudding on a paper plate. It's got it? Imagine racing with pudding over inflatable obstacles and down bouncy slides in a Santa costume with someone spraying whipped cream in your direction.
The Great Christmas Pudding Race takes place in London's Covent Garden in early December and is a charity event.
The bite of snow, the thunder of hooves and skijoring Run, Rudolph, Run-style can only mean the Reindeer Racing Championships in February. Even though Christmas is long gone, it still feels festive up in the wilderness of theArctic Circle in Norway. The specially trained reindeer pull skiers at speeds of up to over 37mph, and you can cheer and whoop as they do it.
The article was first published about a year ago.