Find Even More Holiday Cheer
In the new Joy Around the World Virtual Holiday Scavenger Hunts, players virtually travel the world on a fun, festive search for glad tidings and good cheer. You swing by the North Pole, fly to India to celebrate Diwali, encounter a creepy Krampus, and more.
Of course, the world is full of more holiday fun than virtual holiday scavenger hunts can highlight. Here are a few of the holiday traditions and locations we explored around the world while building our holiday games.
Away in a Ger-manger
Visit Berlin’s Museum of European Cultures to explore its mechanical Weihnachtsberg, an animated, incredibly detailed showcase of the Christ child Christmas story. Started in 1885 by the master painter Max Vogel, this work of art is one of the largest of its kind and took more than 100 years to complete.
Basilica in Bethlehem
From a scene of the nativity, take a 3D peek into the Church of the Nativity. The grotto of this basilica in Bethlehem, a West Bank city six miles south of Jerusalem, is celebrated by many as the birthplace of Jesus. It is also the oldest site in the world to see uninterrupted use as a Christian place of worship.
Celebrating a Saint in Sweden
Lucia Day honors Lucia of Syracuse, a martyr who died in the year 304. According to Swedish legend, Lucia also happened to be Adam’s first wife before Eve came along.
Now, Sweden celebrates Lucia Day on December 13th, one of the longest, darkest nights of the year, with a veritable festival of lights. Lucia was considered a bearer of light in dark Swedish winters, and today women all over the country dress in white and wear candle-studded wreaths on their heads. The Lucia Day procession also includes star boys, who wear conical hats and carry stars on sticks, and lantern-carrying Christmas elves.
Every year, the United States Postal Service makes countless holiday wishes come true. And we don’t just mean delivering a bunch of Amazon boxes. Operation Santa gathers adorable, heartwarming letters to Santa from children around the country, and lets readers “adopt” and fulfill a child’s wish list. This year, nearly 24,000 letters were adopted, which means a lot of holiday cheer to end an otherwise tough year.
Untraditional Christmas Cards
Every December, people spend billions of dollars on Christmas cards to send loved ones a heartfelt greeting or a festive laugh. But in Victorian times, Christmas cards were a lot weirder. It used to be perfectly normal, apparently, to convey holiday greetings with images of dead birds, murdered frogs, melting snowmen, and kidnapping Santas.
Christmas in Tennessee
Even if Christmas is your favorite holiday, chances are you don’t love it nearly as much as the people behind Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Styled like a Bavarian village, this holiday megastore sells Christmas all year long. You can stroll through the shops yourself in Google Maps, or tour the Santa Suite, an almost too-festive room at the inn.
Some of our holiday hunters have a chance to explore the Charles Dickens Museum, where the author of A Christmas Carol once lived. Though he lived here a few years before writing his classic Christmas story, Dickens did write Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby here. His family saw the birth of a daughter here, as well as the death of Dickens’ beloved sister-in-law. This house-turned-museum is the only Dickens home still standing in London today.