Gardner Village Blog Christmas Traditions from Around the World with Wanderlust
Wednesday Dec 8 2021

Grab your passport. We’re about to take a trip around the world in something even better than first class… Santa’s sleigh! This global journey is thanks to the talented traveler-turned-shop-owner behind Wanderlust, Courtney. She opened Wanterlust after spending time crossing continents, falling in love with the various cultures, and wanting to bring that culture right here to our Utah community. (Read more about Courtney’s inspiring story here.)

Jim Shore Santas 

With Courtney as our tour guide, let’s visit a few of the MANY countries represented at Wanderlust and learn a fun fact or two about holiday traditions around the world!


STOP 1: The United Kingdom

Fun Fact: In 1650, mincemeat pie (meat + fruit + spices) was banned due to gluttony. It was a decree that backfired

UK Christmas 

STOP 2: The Ukraine

Fun Fact: In parts of Ukraine, there's a popular story called "The Christmas Spider." It's so popular, in fact, that trees are commonly decorated with artificial spider webs. 

Ukraine nativity

Like a web, the design of this wood nativity, crafted in Ukraine, is quite intricate. You don't even need glue to assemble the 3D design. It all snaps into place. Fun!

STOP 3: Holland

unique gift ideas

Fun Fact: In Holland, Christmas socks (stockings) are exchanged for Christmas shoes — wooden shoes called clogs. Children fill them with carrots and other treats for Santa's horses and are treated to candy and suprirses in return. 

STOP 4: Kenya

Fun Fact: In Kenya, Santa's mode of transporation is a camel. Let's hope it's a double-hump -- one hump for Santa and one for his bag of magic. 

africa nativity

Speaking of magic, this intricate nativity was handcrafted in Africa from banana fiber. Isn't that impressive?! (Good news! It's now back in stock at Wanderlust!)


STOP 4: Norway

Fun Fact: A husband/wife team is behind these gorgeous books, and the darling little girl on the cover is actually their daughter. They took her to Norway for these photos. See how she progresses in age with the release of the books?

A Christmas Wish book 

Stop 5: Germany

Fun Fact: In Germany, it's tradition to hide a glass pickle ornament on the tree. The first to find it gets a special gift or the honor of opening the first gift. Sounds like a pretty sweet dill! 

German Christmas decor

This is one of many light-up wood displays, representative of Germany. Stop by Wanderlust to see them all!

Holiday Happiness

Wanderlust is your go-to source for more than just Christmas gifts. You'll find a lovely assortment of items for other winter celebrations, including Chanukah and Kwanzaa!

Chanukah in Utah

Kwanza in Utah

Santa Claus IS Coming to Town

Fun Fact: Okay, this one isn't as "fun" as it is funny. As we were setting up our shot of these gorgeous Jim Shore Santa's, they were literally being purchased out from under us. In the five-minute span, three Santas sold! They're just THAT cute. Fortunately, many remain and more are on their way, including some not pictured here.

Jim Shore Christmas Around the World

Thank you for going on this fascinating trip with us today! It's such fun to see how one holiday can vary so much from location to location but also have common themes. Courtney is THE source for fun facts. Stop by Wanderlust at Gardner Village and chat with her about your favorite country. Odds are, she'll have something interesting and special to share! 

Wanderlust at Gardner Village

Fun Facts Continued

Because Courtney's knowledge overflows like the gifts from Santa's pack, we thought we'd leave you with a few more interesting holiday tidbits. Enjoy!

Christmas ornaments from around the world

MEXICO: On Dec. 23, Oaxaca celebrates "Night of the Radishes," which is a competition to find the best scene created from carved radishes. Google it. It's really something to see!

FRANCE: Joyeux Noel Nativities made from clay are very popular. Unlike other nativities, the French like to include such figures as a butcher, a baker, or a ... no, not a candlestick maker, but police officer or a priest. 

PORTUGAL: On Christmas Eve, children rush home from Mass to see if Baby Jesus has magically appeared in their nativity. Alas, no appearance means no presents. No wonder the youngsters are eager to see the outcome.

GREECE: Along with decorating Christmas trees, it's common to decorate the masts of ships. Yo ho ho ho!

SWEDEN: Nearly every home hangs a star in the window. Another common thread — lingonberry jam. It's used in many holiday recipes (and is available at Wanderlust). 

BRAZIL: Because Brazil was under Portuguese rule for many years, they share many similar traditions with Portugal. It's warm in Brazil at Christmas, so fireworks are also a common part of the celebrating!

PHILIPPINES: This country is known as home to one of the longest Christmas season. In a gorgeous display, people in the Philippines decorate buildings and homes with parols (Christmas lanterns). It's another one worth Googling. 

SWITZERLAND: Advent calendars are a BIG deal. So big, in fact, that they bring the advent to life by decorating homes with Advent Windows. When it's your home's turn to display your Advent Window, you host a big party for the villagers, complete with music, food and Glühwein (mulled wine). Fun! 

Labels: wanderlust, christmas traditions, where to buy unique holiday gifts, shop local, best boutiques in utah, holiday shopping in the salt lake area, best spot for gifts