10 Fun Foot-Filled Holiday Traditions You Might Not Know About

Families across the globe have all sorts of traditions that they uphold and cherish every time the holiday season approaches. Some put up an evergreen tree in their living room and adorn it with sentimental ornaments. Others bake Yule logs with Bing Crosby serenading in the background. We at The Foot & Ankle Center enjoy both the holidays and all things podiatry, so when the two combine, it’s even better. See how people throughout the world celebrate the holidays with their stockings, shoes, and feet!

Ecuador

You’ve probably made a list for Santa prior to Christmas, right? Well, if you were in Ecuador, you would write a list and place it safely into your shoes. After you leave your shoes out and head to bed, Papa Noel takes your list and replaces it with new shoes and presents. Not a bad deal at all, we say!

France

Children in France eagerly await Père Noël by neatly placing their shoes in front of the fireplace the night before Christmas. As they dream of sugar plums dancing in their heads, the man himself is said to fill their shoes with candy and toys!

Hungary

The footwear of choice that eager children leave out for treats is boots, which they rest on the window waiting for Mekulash, the Hungarian Santa. Good, well-behaved children are rewarded with boots filled with chocolate, nuts, and fruit. On the other hand, sticks or switches are placed in the boots of misbehaving children. It isn’t unheard of for children in Hungary to receive both sweets and a switch, oddly enough!

Iceland

Much like the Hungarian children, boys and girls in Iceland will leave their shoes on the windowsill during the Christmas season. The difference is that Jolasveinar, a troop of 13 elves, comes to visit one at a time over the course of 13 days. These elves leave all sorts of goodies for good children. Meanwhile, bad children will find their shoes filled with potatoes.

Italy

In Italy, Santa rides a broom. Also, Santa is actually a witchy old woman named La Befana. Children throughout Italy set out their shoes and go to bed filled with anticipation for La Befana’s arrival. It is said that she brings toys, fruit, and candy to well-behaved children. For those who like to be disobedient, La Befana fills their shoes with coal!

Netherlands

Children in the Netherlands excitedly prepare for the arrival of St. Nicholas by filling their wooden shoes with hay and carrots for his horse. The next morning, they can expect their shoes to be filled with toys and candy for their kind offerings.

Spain

Like children throughout the world, Spanish kids will leave their shoes out hoping to receive gifts and treats. However, they set them out beside the door, fireplace, or balcony on January 6, which is the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. These shoes are filled with hay for the Wise Men’s camels; in return for the kind gesture, those shoes are filled with candy and toys!

Venezuela

Going to church to celebrate the holiday? Be sure to blend in with everyone else and don your roller skates! Skating to church is a holiday tradition in Venezuela, so much so that the streets are closed off, making skating to church easy and extra enjoyable.

United Kingdom

Much like how we do in the United States, families in the UK hang up stockings on their mantles (or from their beds!) for Old Saint Nick. Why? Because they want to try catching the coins that Father Christmas drops through the chimney. Often, residents will wake up the next day to stockings filled with oranges or tangerines, which symbolize coins or bags of gold.

United States

We in the U.S. have a few foot-related holiday traditions as well. Of course, families everywhere hang stockings and set out an offering of milk and cookies so Santa can leave good children plenty of presents. But did you know that many others also celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6? Like many other countries, children leave out their shoes by the fireplace or window so good ol’ Saint Nick may leave a few goodies for the shoes’ owners.

How will you celebrate the holiday season? Tell us in the comments below!


7 Reasons to be Thankful for Your Feet

It may seem biased, but we truly can think of no other body part that is as overworked and underappreciated as the feet. As amazing works of architectural art, our feet deserve so much love and respect for all that they do for us. Here are 7 good reasons why you should be thankful for your feet:

They House 25% of Our Bones

We all know that the human body contains 206 bones. Our feet are collectively comprised of 52 bones, 66 joints, and more than 240 muscles, ligaments, and nerves. These are all essential in helping us get from point A to point B each day!

They Endure Quite a Bit of Pressure

With each step, your feet endure hundreds of tons of force. This is equivalent to a fully-loaded cement truck (or more than 50 cars). That’s only walking – when you run, your feet endure between 5 and 7 times your weight!

They’re Super Ticklish for a Good Reason

Ever wonder why your feet can be so darn touchy? Here’s why – approximately 8,000 nerves can be found in your feet with several nerve endings existing near the skin. Actually, being ticklish is a good thing. Reduced sensitivity can often indicate neuropathy, a medical condition typically connected to diabetes.

They Can Tell You a Lot About Your Health

The eyes may be the window to the soul, but your feet are the mirror of your body. Podiatric issues are usually your first indicator that you’re suffering from a serious medical problem. Many health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, nerve disorders, and circulatory disorders can often develop in the feet, so it’s wise to pay good attention to any foot ailments that appear.

Movement is a Very Involved Process We often walk without really thinking about what’s happening in our bodies. With each measured step, skip, pivot, or pirouette, our feet are working magic (well, scientifically speaking). Communicating with the brain and more than 100 other muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones, our feet get us to where we need to be, all while keeping us upright and stable.