The tradition of Santa giving bad kids the undesirable present of coal in their Christmas stockings derives from earlier European traditions. Both the Befana, the Italian Yuletide witch and Krampus, the bizarre Christmas demon of Austria, have punished bad children with gifts of coal for centuries.Know More
The horned Krampus, monstrous and horrifying in appearance, accompanies Saint Nicholas on his house visits, frightening and threatening the bad children and giving them coal. Regional variations of Krampus include the Swiss Schmuztli and the Bavarian Pelzebock.
Though a more amiable being, the Italian La Befana is a witch. Her story begins on the night of the Nativity, when the shepherds asked her to come along with them to the site of the miraculous birth. She declined, and did so again when the Magi invited her, preferring to stay and sweep the floors. Soon she realized her error, and since then, so the story goes, La Befana has been looking in every house for the Holy Infant.
She flies on a broomstick, distributing gifts to worthy children on Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany. Italian Children receive presents from both La Befana and Santa. In contemporary times, all of the children also receive coal in the form of a black, blocky candy called carbone dolce della Befana, or Befana's sweet coal.Learn more about Cultures & Traditions
There are many Christmas traditions from around the world, such as the Austrian tradition of Krampus, the Christmas devil that attacks disobedient children. Germany has several interesting traditions, such as children leaving shoes outside at the beginning of December to be filled with candy or searching for the hidden pickle on the Christmas tree. In Italy, children are visited on January 5 by a witch who gives toys and candy.Full Answer >
Some easy Christmas crafts for kids include making stockings to be filled by Santa, making a ribbon tree and creating peppermint ornaments. These activities require only a few basic crafting items.Full Answer >
Some interesting Christmas facts for kids include the original meaning of Christmas (that is, the celebration and story of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem) and the names of Santa's original eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner (or Donder) and Blitzen. The ninth and perhaps most famous reindeer, Rudolph, did not exist before the song about him was released.Full Answer >
Traditional Italian Christmas outfits or costumes are knee-high breeches paired with white stockings and vibrant sheepskin vests. Dark cloaks are worn over the entire ensemble.Full Answer >