1. International Fun Facts

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Fun Facts and Gift Giving Traditions from Around the World

  • Did you know that Santa really does exist—and that he's Greek? From gift-giving to red clothes, Nikolaos of Myra was a model for the modern Santa Claus
  • "Stille Nacht" comes from Austria and is sung all over the world. Still don't know it? It's "Silent Night."
  • In France, kissing under the mistletoe is a New Year's custom, not a Christmas custom
  • In China, sharp items like knives, scissors, or needles are taboo because they symbolize severing relationships
  • Germans consider red roses for lovers and lilies for funerals; heather is often seen in cemeteries and is considered an ominous gift. Other flowers are a better choice—as well as fine chocolates or vintage wines
  • In Italy, gift-wrapped chocolates or flowers make welcome hostess gifts.
  • It's considered unlucky to receive an even number of flowers in many European countries
  • Mexicans consider yellow flowers bad luck since they are traditionally used for funerals.
  • In India, an appropriate hostess gift is candy, sweets, fruit, quality wines, or flowers
  • In Russia, you should choose pink, cream, orange, or blue flowers, but avoid yellow and white. Never send red flowers unless you intend to express romantic intentions
  • Traditionally, the Irish exchange gifts on birthdays and on Christmas. Hostess gifts are also welcome, and flowers, chocolates, gourmet gift baskets, or wine are greatly appreciated
  • In Finland, "relaxation" or spa gift baskets are a special treat that helps people get through those long, cold, dark winter months.
  • In the United Kingdom, Mothering Sunday or Mother's Day was originally when children who had gone to work as domestic servants were given the day off to visit their mothers and families. Today, the number one gift for Mum's day is flowers, but fine chocolates, gourmet gift baskets or wine are also good choices.