by Brian Roulston

Christmas is a time when many people come together in good cheer, good will, and to celebrate with Christmas traditions. Some traditions around the world are fascinating, unusual and even record-breaking.

Queen Victoria instituted the Christmas feast early in her reign. Now, consider a feast of turkey so massive that it makes it into the Guinness Book of World Records. The Duck Inn in Worcestershire, England did just that when they offered the largest commercially available meal on Christmas Eve 2013. Weighing in at 9.6kg (21.1lbs), Ashley and Louise Gargon served the turkey with carrots, parsnips, broccoli and cauliflower; roasted potatoes, pigs in blankets along with 25 Brussels sprouts.

On Christmas Eve, many individuals in Japan like eating KFC fried chicken. The tradition started in the 1970s, when the fast-food giant launched a unique but successful marketing campaign dubbed “Kentucky for Christmas.”

The Adelaide Christmas Pageant is regarded as the world’s largest Christmas parade. The Australian procession is 3.2 km long and draws over 240,000 spectators from across the continent. It is also televised with over 583,000 viewers tuning in each year. (The Toronto Christmas Parade is, of course, Canada’s largest parade; it is the world’s oldest Santa Claus procession and one of the world’s oldest annual parades. Fun fact, did you know that Eaton’s Department store once arranged to have Santa’s sleigh drawn by real reindeer brought in from Labrador specifically for the parade in 1913?) Staying in Australia, David Richards a lawyer, set a Guinness Book of World Record in 2014 for the world’s largest Christmas light display at his Canberra home. The next year, he constructed a much larger exhibit at a shopping mall in that city. It took the form of three huge Christmas gifts and included 1.2 million LED bulbs. It was proven to be the world’s biggest LED display, and if the bulbs had been placed side by side, it would have stretched 120 km (75 miles).

In Colombia, people light up the night with thousands of candles on December 7, the Day of the Little Candles. This tradition marks the start of the Christmas season and honors the Virgin Mary.
For centuries, St. Nicholas aka Kris Kringle was the Santa that most people knew, until Coca-Cola changed his image in 1931 to what we know today.

At 21.08 meters (69’16” ft.) tall, the world’s largest Santa towers above Águeda, Portugal. It is decorated in festive lights and was constructed of 8 metric tonnes (17,637 pounds) of aluminum and iron.

Without his reindeer, Santa’s sleigh would be stranded at the North Pole. The world’s tallest reindeer rises 40 feet along the interstate highway passing by Naperville, Illinois. The oversized Rudolph features a glowing red nose and is completely covered with festive lights.

A Douglas fir at 64.6 meters (212 ft.) was the world’s tallest Christmas tree. It weighed a whopping 22,680 kg (50,000 lbs) and was 287-years-old. The tree was erected in 1950 at the Northgate Centre Mall in Edmonton, Alberta. The biggest Christmas tree in Ontario went up at CF Toronto Eaton’s Centre on November 24th, 2016. It was 10 storeys or 33.5 meters high.

And if you had a Christmas tree like one of those, you’d need a serious collection of Christmas ornaments to decorate them such as the one owned by the late Sylvia Pope aka Nana Baubles from Swansea, U.K. Her Guinness Book of Records collection consisted of 1,760 tree decorations; or you could go with one giant ornament like the world’s largest bauble. It is 4.68 meters in diameter (15’4″) and was created for the Dubai Mall in Dubai, UAE in 2018.

The record for the world’s most expensively dressed tree goes to highly luxurious Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE in 2010. The 13.1 meter (43′) high tree was decorated with 181 items of jewelry valued at more than $15.2 million Canadian.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Dubai’s Global Village Mall embarked on a mission to break 25 Guinness World Records from October 25, 2020 to May 21, 2021. Among the records that it achieved was the largest collection of letters to Santa Clause in a single day. A total of 2,144 letters were written and sent to the North Pole within 24 hours.

You could cram a lot of Christmas goodies in the world’s largest Christmas stocking, made by Carrara, Italy’s volunteer emergency services in January of 2011. It was 50 meters long (168′) x 21 meters (70′) heel to toe.

The world’s largest Hand Made Candy cane made by Logan’s Candies in Ontario, California would make a great stocking stuffer for that stocking; contrary to what your dentist might think. The candy cane is 2 meters or 6 feet long and weighs 19 kg or 30 lbs.

At Pudong Shangri-La, Shanghai, China, 80 chefs made the world’s longest Christmas cake -yule log- of vanilla with bitter chocolate frosting. It measured 1,068 meters or 3,504 feet, in length.
The Statue of Liberty requires no introduction, it is regarded as the world’s largest Christmas present. It was a gift from France to the United States and was built in 1884, shipped to the U.S. and erected, then dedicated by President Grover in October 1886.

A construction firm in Bangkok, Thailand broke the record for the largest gathering of people dressed as Santa’s elves on November 25, 2014. In total, 1,762 “elves” were gathered. Unfortunately, fourteen of those so-called elves had to be eliminated because they were not dressed correctly.

The Godswill Akpabio Unity Choir in Nigeria formed the largest Christmas choir in the world on December 19th, 2014, with 25,272 participants. They sang The First Noel, Joy to the World, O’ Christmas Tree, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Once in Royal David’s City, and O’ Come, All Ye Faithful.

Finally, we come to what could be perhaps the wackiest Christmas tradition of all, the Norwegian’s hide their brooms on Christmas Eve to prevent evil spirits and witches from stealing them. This tradition dates back to ancient times, when people believed that witches were more active on this night.

No matter how you celebrate, on behalf of the North End Breezes, have a safe and happy holiday.