As Christmas is drawing closer in Babel, our translation elves, content with their resolved translation conundrums are winding down for the festivities and putting everything in place for the most magical celebration you could imagine. While they all agreed on decorations – lamps, lanterns and garlands were sprouting out of façades like bountiful branches of emerald ivy – there was some debate over other aspects... What were the most common traditions for some were completely alien to others. Maybe some of them will ring a (jingle) bell?
First came the gargantuan grocery order, of particular significance given the average elf size… While some insisted on tucking into nothing but KFC, others had a hankering for porridge, with the traditional hidden almond. Portions of twelve grapes each were also highly requested for New Year in particular. And since choosing just one dessert from bûche, pudding or panettone was out of the question, it was agreed they would just bake all three.
Placing clogs and stockings by the fireplace triggered only a few surprised grins because, well, why not? There’s not that much room under the Christmas tree, anyway, it’s a space-saving solution IKEA would be proud of. The hiding of brooms, slamming of doors and burning of wooden goats, however, provoked a few more startled reactions.
Santa Claus – AKA Babbo Natale, Père Noël or, indeed, Father Christmas – was the first to arrive. Regardless of name, he was the VIP on most of the elves’ lists. Next up were thirteen Yule Lads who frolicked in the village hall, followed by witches and another bearded gentleman in a mitre accompanied by his soot-covered acolyte and a furry donkey.
A sweet-filled animal-shaped patchwork was smashed open, pickles were hidden in pines, and small, smiley ‘poop logs’ were fashioned out of wood and topped with a red hat, ready to be beaten with a stick until presents pop out. A whole icy circuit even had to be installed around the tower of Babel, for some felt the irrepressible urge to glide around on roller skates until sundown.
It may come as no surprise that snuggling in front of the TV after a big meal, in a profound state of lethargy induced by the inevitable post-prandial drowsiness, is universal. As is Love Actually (this may be more surprising), but along with it, some other well-known classics from Gaïdaï, Poiré or Bergman. Of course, you already have them all lined up for your own Christmas viewing, I’m sure!
Do you know where these cracking Christmas traditions come from? How many more do you know of that our elves might have forgotten to mention? We’d would love to hear about your Christmas traditions!
We hope you enjoy whichever tradition you partake of, and of course, we wish you a very merry WITmas!
Written by Elise Haja, WIT Project Manager and edited by Amy Reid, WIT Account Manager