People in North America and Europe love to amp up the holiday spirit with something extra special – the metal Christmas tradition. These traditions bring a whole lot of excitement, and they come from fairytales, real-life events, and personal stories. Some of them might not be entirely true, but what matters most is the experience and the joy they bring.
That’s why we’ve rounded up the 12 most popular metal Christmas traditions for you. You might not have heard of some because they’re specific to certain regions and are quite unique. So, get ready to explore and learn about these awesome metal Christmas traditions that might be new and exciting for you!
The 12 Most Popular Metal Christmas Traditions
Here’s a look at some of the most popular metal Christmas traditions
Krampus is a scary character in Austrian stories. He’s like the opposite of Santa Claus, and people who enjoy spooky tales absolutely love his character. In Austria, if kids were not good, they didn’t just get coal like in other places. Instead, they had to deal with Krampus. Good kids got presents from Santa, but naughty ones got punished or were even taken by Krampus.
Krampus is a mix of a man and a goat. Sometimes, he gives kids a real scolding, and in really scary stories, he takes them to “Hell”. People even send cards with pictures of these creepy scenes every year. So, Krampus is a kind of dark and spooky twist to the usual holiday stories, and he’s become a part of Austrian tradition that adds a scary excitement and flavour to the festive season.
‘Tid the Season
A rad metal Christmas tradition was ‘Tid the Season, put on by the metalcore band Every Time I Die. This fest went down in their hometown, Buffalo, NY, and it wasn’t just music. They also participated in wrestling, ice skating, games, food, and loads of other fun activities. And while the band played good music on stage, they also did a world of good off it as they helped fans with tips on where to stay, grab a bite, and have a blast in Buffalo, giving a boost to tourism right before the holidays. It’s a bummer to see it go, but the good times will always be in our memories.
To a lot of fans, “Every Time I Die” felt more than a concert. It was an experience that brought people together in the holiday spirit, making ‘Tid the Season a standout and unforgettable celebration in Buffalo. The mix of music, festivities, and local recommendations was the Band’s way of showing how dedicated they are to their fans and their city, leaving a lasting imprint on both the metal and holiday scenes.
The Yule Cat (Icelandic Jólakötturinn)
The Yule Cat, or Icelandic Jólakötturinn, is a creature that shows up at kids’ doors during Christmas. This giant cat monster has a unique appetite—it eats children who didn’t get clothes as gifts. The idea is that kids only get rewarded with clothes if they finish all their chores.
So, the Yule Cat is like a furry reminder to get those chores done or risk becoming its dinner. It’s a quirky tradition with a message about the importance of completing tasks and the joy of receiving wholesome gifts during the holiday season.
Père Fouettard (French Christmas Cannibal)
In France, there’s a Christmas tale about Père Fouettard, also known as “the Whipping Father.” The story goes that this scary guy once kidnapped and planned to eat three lost children. But, here’s the twist: Saint Nick arrives, not happy with Père Fouettard. Santa brings the kids back to life and turns the would-be cannibal, also called Black Peter, into his servant.
Now, Black Peter’s job is to scare kids into being good. It’s a strange story with a lesson—Santa doesn’t like naughty behavior, and Père Fouettard’s transformation into Black Peter adds a spooky but fascinating holiday weirdness twist to the tradition.
In Greece, a top Christmas tradition is that of the mischievous goblins called Kalikantzaroi. These little troublemakers supposedly emerge from the ground each year, causing chaos during the 12 days of Christmas. To keep them away, people would keep their fires burning all night, making it hard for the Kalikantzaroi to sneak in through the chimney. It’s a tradition built around the idea of protecting homes from these goblin antics and making the Greek holiday season even more memorable.
Wassailing started as a somewhat “disorderly and not-so-nice Christmas” custom. Back in the day, tipsy English folks would go around from one house to another, requesting food and drinks they might not have earned. They bothered neighbors, sometimes even going into places they weren’t supposed to and being a bit too rowdy, all in the spirit of Christmas. Today, caroling has shifted more towards church groups and school events, but the old wassailing vibe still persists in things like New York City’s Santa-Con.
In the past, this tradition wasn’t as jolly as it is now. People would get a bit too much to drink, causing a ruckus as they moved from house to house. They’d ask for treats, and if they didn’t get any, they might cause some trouble. Fortunately, things have changed, and caroling has become a more cheerful and organized way to celebrate Christmas. Yet, the original wassailing spirit, with its lively and sometimes mischievous energy, can still be glimpsed in events like “Santa-Con in New York City,” where people dress up as Santa and enjoy the festive atmosphere.
In the ancient Celtic times, mistletoe held special significance for the Druids, who were the upper class. Unlike today’s use for romantic encounters, the Druids saw mistletoe as a purifying plant with the power to ward off disease and evil spirits. During winter, they would carefully cut this sacred plant from oak trees using golden sickles. It all seems quite beautiful until the ritual sacrifice part comes in. The Druids believed they needed to show proper respect to mistletoe by offering blood. While some accounts mention animal sacrifice, there’s growing evidence, according to National Geographic, suggesting that the Druids might have also been involved in human sacrifice.
Mari Lwyd is a cool Welsh Christmas tradition. People carry a horse skull decorated with lights and stuff, going around singing carols during the holiday season. If folks welcome Mari Lwyd warmly, it’s supposed to bring good luck. But if they don’t, it might bring bad luck for the next year. The tradition mixes old stories with today’s celebrations, making it special in Welsh holiday fun.
Those taking part in the tradition bring a unique touch to it. Walking from house to house with the decorated horse skull makes people feel connected and proud of their shared culture. The sight of the horse skull decked out in festive gear adds a bit of magic to the celebration, making Mari Lwyd a standout and cherished part of Welsh Christmas fun.
Austria holds more than one unusual Christmas tradition. Alongside Krampus, there’s another concern: the Perchten, evil spirit minions of a winter witch. This story originated from associating winter with dark and gloomy things like death. In early January, Austrians take part in the Perchtenlauf, or Perchten parade. During this event, people dress in wild, beast-like costumes and make noise with metal drums. It’s a peculiar way of acknowledging these winter spirits and perhaps trying to ward off the darker aspects of the season in a lively and communal manner.
Spiders on the tree
In Ukraine, a unique Christmas tradition involves decorating the tree with fake spiders and spiderwebs as ornaments. This custom comes from an old fairy tale about a widow and her children who couldn’t afford decorations for their Christmas tree. On Christmas morning, they discovered the tree covered in cobwebs, which miraculously transformed into gold and silver when touched by sunlight. As a result, Ukrainians embrace this tradition, giving their trees a distinctive and somewhat Tim Burtonesque appearance compared to trees in other places.
In Iceland, there’s a spooky twist to the Christmas season with Grýla, a female counterpart to Krampus. Grýla is described as a two-horned mountain ogress, and during Christmas, she sets her sights on naughty children, whisking them away to transform them into stew. Even today, Icelandic kids hear this scary tale as a way to encourage good behavior. According to Smithsonian, Grýla’s ominous reputation goes beyond her dealings with mischievous children – she once ate her husband out of sheer boredom.
This chilling narrative has been passed down through generations, becoming an integral part of Icelandic Christmas traditions. The story of Grýla not only serves as a cautionary tale for kids but also adds a spine-tingling element to the holiday season. It’s a unique and creepy touch to the festive folklore, reminding children to be on their best behavior or risk catching the attention of the fearsome Grýla. The blend of myth and cautionary lesson in Icelandic Christmas traditions makes Grýla a memorable and slightly frightening figure in the hearts of those who celebrate the holiday in this enchanting land.
The Christmas pooper
In Catalonia, there’s a major popular Metal Christmas tradition involving a figure called the “caganer.” This figurine is included in nativity scenes and shows someone in the act of defecation. Typically, the caganer represents a Catalonian or Spanish peasant, but sometimes in a bid to add humor to it, it features a famous person or cultural figure in the act. Placing this figure near the baby Jesus is a way of enhancing the traditional nativity of the scene, making it even more distinctive. It’s a fun and lighthearted way for Catalonians to celebrate the holiday season.