Celebrating Huggg’s European Christmas gifts with 5 unusual European traditions
We love our differences
In honour of our new range of Christmas gifts to send overseas, we thought we’d take a deep dive into five of the most unusual festive traditions celebrated across Europe. We’re excited to now offer a classic range of European Christmas gifts including sweet treats, bottles of wine and flowers amongst other carefully curated gifts, so you can send gifts to Europe at the click of a button.
Here at Huggg, one of the things we love most about the festive season is how differently everyone celebrates this magical time of year. We love hearing about unique holiday customs and new office traditions – from your favourite festive cocktails to the cheesy Christmas jumper contest. Festive traditions are a great way to bring people together and spread some joy during the darker winter months, however you choose to celebrate.
Initially we’ll be delivering European Christmas gifts to the Republic of Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and Poland – with more countries added over time. Thanks to Huggg’s handy gift scheduling feature, you can organise all your Christmas gifts to send overseas in advance and beat the last-minute rush. Now that’s something worth raising a glass of ‘Rudoph’s Tipsy Spritzer’ or your traditional tipple of choice to.
So from pooping logs to pickles (we know – it makes no sense) read on to discover five of the weirdest and most wonderful European Christmas traditions.
1. Italy – watch out for witches 🧙
While Italian children are visited by Santa Claus (or Babbo Natale) each Christmas Eve, they get another, arguably spookier visit on January 5, the eve of the Epiphany. Befana is a woman who, according to popular folklore, visits all the children of Italy to fill their socks with sweets and gifts if they are good, or a lump of coal if they’ve been naughty. Befana is usually portrayed as an older woman on a broomstick (which we now associate with witches) and is often covered in sootbecause she enters the children's houses through the chimney. Makes a spooky change from Santa and Rudolph.
2. Germany – pop a pickle in the tree 🥒
This Christmas tree tradition is believed to have started in Germany back in the 16th century. The adults of the household hide a pickle (or more practically, a pickle-shaped decoration) in the branches of the Christmas tree, and give a gift to whichever child finds it. One legend says that the Christmas pickle tradition was inspired by two young boys who were held as prisoners inside a pickle barrel. The heroic Saint Nicholas rescued the boys, and ever since they showed their appreciation in pickle form.
3. The Netherlands – forget stockings, check your shoes 👢
In the days leading up to December 25th, Dutch children excitedly leave their shoes by the fire in hopes that Sinterklaas (aka Dutch Father Christmas) will fill them with small gifts and treats during the night. In return, children leave out carrots for Sinterklaas' faithful white horse, Amerigo. In the distant past, naughty children would receive a potato instead of toys and sweets – but if you ask us, a potato isn’t a terrible punishment. It’s just some delicious chips in waiting!
4. Catalonia – a doo-doo-lightful tradition 💩
This might be the most unique custom in the whole of Europe: the Catalan tradition of caga tió or 'defecating log'. Every Christmas the residents of eastern Spain bring out a hollow log decorated with a little face and festive hat. They spend a fortnight feeding their caga tió fruit, nuts and sweets and then on Christmas Eve the entire family beats the log with sticks and sings a traditional song that translates to 'if you don't crap well, we'll beat you with a stick'. During this process, all the sweet treats fall out of the log for the family to enjoy. Catalans take this tradition one step further by decorating their nativity scenes with caganers – small ceramic figures with their pants around their ankles in what can only be described as a pooping stance. Niche.
5. France – the proof is in the pie 🥧
In another Epiphany tradition the French eat La Galette des Rois, a delicious puff pastry pie, to celebrate the three kings who visited the nativity. This royally delicious treat has a variety of fillings including fruit, cream and even frangipane. Baked inside La Galette des Rois is a small trinket known as la fève, and whoever finds it is then crowned the king or the queen for the day. In fact, store-bought La Galette des Rois are usually sold with a paper crown, ready for a very tasty coronation.
Meaningful, memorable European Christmas gifts
With Huggg’s new European gift range, you can be sure your European teams and customers won’t miss out on the festivities.
Our European Christmas gifts include indulgent toiletries by Molton Brown and artisanal cookies by Pierre & Tim amongst other delights. We’ll also be offering classic gifts of wine and flowers that are suitable for every occasion, and a selection of tried and tested gifts with choice for EU-based teams.
Sending European Christmas gifts works in exactly the same way as UK gifting. Just select your gift (all prices include postage) and enter your recipient’s email address to send gifts to Europe and share your festive well wishes with clients and teams.
Check out some of our great European gifting options