Unusual Christmas Traditions Around the World


Things that influence the traditions around Christmas more than everything else is location, culture and the weather. With the massive Scandinavian population in Minnesota, Christmas is celebrated via Nordic food and lutefisk. Wreaths in New Mexico is made of dried chillies instead of dried fruits or leaves.

Every State in America Puts Its Own Spin on Christmas Traditions

It really does not matter where you’re planning to spend your Christmas holidays, every state in the US has a special holiday celebration, which will ensure your trip to America remains memorable for many years to come, if your plan to visit Reno, you’ll get to attend the Santa Claus race, Nevada offers a holiday spirit like no other and in Rochester you get to see a massive Christmas tree made formed of beer kegs, which highlights any trip to New York during the festive season.

Alaska

The highlight of the holiday season is the Alaskans parade, in which a wooden star is moved from each house to the next, the wooden star is a representation of the Star of Bethlehem.
The tradition of selaviq of the Russian Orthodox is also referred to as starring, and only days before Russian Christmas, which falls on the 7th of January, a wooden star is carried by parishioners partaking in the parade. As the star moves from one house to another the crowd increases and more and more residents join the parade.
Arizona, Chandler

This is where you will find the largest Christmas tree in the world made of tumbleweed. It is also the most popular attraction during the festive season and thousands of tourists visit Arizona to enjoy the view offered by the giant tumbleweed Christmas tree. The assembling of the tree made only of dry Tannenbaum starts already in September and once completed it remains lit for the entire Christmas season, in Chandler the tradition of lighting the tree made of tumbleweed goes back more than 60 years.

Arkansas

If you travelling to the USA during the festive season, one place you have to add to your touring schedule is Arkansas. Visitors get to follow the trail of Christmas lights forms one off to the other in this state. Ostentatious Christmas displays are nothing new and lights display can be seen around the globe, although none come close to Arizona. This is where each of the states connects their light displays to the giant trail that runs through the entire state. Mapped to make it easy to follow, visitors can easily follow the trail of holiday lights and enjoy awe-inspiring displays as they drive from one to the other.

Cemetery in Washington DC

With all the bright light displays and wonderful Christmas celebrations in the USA, there are no shortages of magnificent traditions, yet one stands out above all and that is the laying of wreaths on every single grave in the Arlington National Cemetery. In honouring the fallen a non-profit organization places a holiday wreath on graves in Washington as well as on graves in more than 1,200 other locations in America.

Memorable Christmas Guaranteed During Your Fairytale Visit to New York

New York is by far the most exciting city on earth and one of the greatest when it comes to coincide with the Christmas it is incomparable with anywhere else in the world. There is no other city like the Big Apple during the holiday season, adults get to enjoy shopping in some of the biggest shops, Broadway shows are line-up and no other mood-lifter works as well as Central Park. The out-of-towners may get New Yorkers to grit their teeth, but even then, they realise that no-one can resist the magic in the air. There is just so much to feast your eyes on that it’s impossible to paint the real picture in words.

Rockefeller Centre


The most brilliant atmosphere to skate in is at the most iconic rink in New York, and you get to enjoy the Rockefeller ice rink at very affordable prices. During the holidays you can also enjoy cookies and hot chocolate in the VIP tent, and then there is the 30m Christmas tree that keeps your attention for hours.

Window Displays with the WOW Factor

Whether you are a shopper or not, the window displays at Bloomingdale’s get everyone to stop and appreciate this impressive art form. Every year the displays are based on a specific theme, and the techniques used are unlike you’ve seen anywhere else. One of the shops you simply can’t walk past is Macy’s, passing by is bound to get you to stop and enjoy the displays for a while, but should you step in, you’ll be pleasingly lost in a Christmas wonderland.

Christmas Events & Shows


The place to be is Time Square in New York! The recurrent Christmas show is the NYC Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker, and it has been since 1954. Performed at the Lincoln Centre and notwithstanding its longevity, the show, now a huge success, first became this popular after it was televised in 1958. This time of the year, New York offers the best Broadway family shows, which almost always include SpongeBob Square Pants and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Christmas Holiday Worth Remembering

One of the most exciting shopping sprees would be by visiting Macy’s, while it is no secret that New York is not cheap, depending on where you’re travelling from the exchange rate could further increase your expense. But there are many ways to cut costs and enjoy the best Christmas ever: you get to go anywhere via the subway, and if you spend a day or night in Manhattan the hotdog stands do sell the best food at the most affordable prices. You don’t need much as the flashing billboards, and fantastic Christmas decorations are more than enough to provide you with a lifetime worth of memories, and you get to visit all the biggest attractions with either a CityPass or 7 Day Unlimited Subway ticket.

Proud Songs About America

Known for its ability to create the best songs about America, Country music have been responsible for creating protest tunes, patriotic anthems and country artist are known for singing about home sweet home. The large variety of song about America have been inspired by love, others by current events and it has allowed so many artists to achieve their dreams, one thing that does connect all the songs is the passion the artists have for the USA.

Putting A Playlist Together for Your USA Travels


Compiling a playlist for your holiday or some of the road trips you plan in America can include music from several different genres, there are a few go-to songs about America that no playlist should be without. While we loved listening to all of them, we finally did decide on the three most important songs you should add to your playlist before grabbing your bags to travel to the USA.

Brooks & Dunn – Only in America

Only in America by Brooks and Dunn released only a few months before the 9/11 attacks, its reached extended during a time of devastation and its inspiring and energetic tribute to the everyday life of Americans continued to promise hope for the future. Music critics feel the song is a declaration that America is the country where everyone gets to dream as big as they want. The song “Only in America” has since been used in a major way in the political arena on both sides, it featured in the 2004 re-election campaign of George W Bush, and it was also the music played after the acceptance speech of Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic nominations. Co-written by Brooks, “Only in America” reached number one and for the duo, it was a major success.

Toby Keith – Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue

It’s basically impossible not to think of Toby Keith when it comes to songs about America, his most popular “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue”, some calls it, The Angry American song. The artist built his career basically on attitude-driven patriotism, one of the biggest songs released in 2002. This song hit the nerve and gave the community the worlds they needed to process their feelings, feelings such as that brought on by 9/11. The one emotion American’s could identify with was that of anger, it was a way to deal with devastating sadness. It is something that Toby Keith felt as well. He knew it would find favour, that it would offer that what listeners wanted to hear at the time. As a number one hit, Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue now stands as the most honest depiction of the attitude of the people during the darkest time in the history of America.

Lee Greenwood – God Bless the USA

Without “God Bless the USA” your playlist would simply not make sense, and this song by Lee Greenwood is the one tune that stood the test of time. It first released in 1984 and was re-released in 2001, shortly after 9/11.

Couple’s Getaway – Most Romantic US City

When it comes to romantic cities most people think of Venice the city with the gondola-clad canals, other instantly think of the home of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, but those living or visiting the US have no reason to search for romance by crossing the ocean, there are plenty of romantic cities in the USA.

Never lost any of its lustre, Palm Beach once was the playground of the high society, but all that has been traded for a relaxed island holiday resort style feel and at the same time nothing could be more romantic. It is still home to classic events like the PGA and polo, but it is far from the Palm Beach it was yesteryear, the 47 miles of sandy beaches framed with resorts set the perfect destination to enjoy candle dinners at one of many oceanfront restaurants and reconnecting with your partner.

Sunsets & Endless Beaches of Florida

Palm Beach, Florida is perfect for everyone, including the romantic history buff, the romantic food lover, romantic water loving couples, and those who just want to leave it all behind and enjoy each other’s company. Long walks and magnificent sunsets on Florida’s beaches is all you really need to enjoy romance, but should you wish to show someone just how much you care than spending a bit of time in planning a great schedule could be just what your break-away needs.

Kick-Off with Relaxing Golf Session for Him, Spa Relaxation for Her

A great way to finally get rid of the at-home stress is to book a great golf session for him while she gets to enjoy pampering at a luxurious spa. If you both play golf, then your break-away could start by scheduling some golf followed by spending the rest of the day in slippers and a robe in-between dips in the mineral pools.

Idealistic Stay in Florida


Seaside glamour and unapologetic luxury await in the Breakers Palm Beach resort, built originally in 1896 by one of the greatest industrialist Henry M Flagler. The only downside of the Breakers is that neither of you would ever want to leave again as its panoramic views of the coastline is unbeatable, and if you climb to the very top of Jupiter Lighthouse, you enjoy a view from this historic lighthouse which is 105 tall.

Dine & Wine at Romantic Restaurants

Renato’s is the perfect place to start your holiday in pure European-style elegance in a courtyard with white table clothes and some of the best Italian cuisine. Other restaurants to add to your list include Café Boulud where Chef Daniel Boulud servers award-winning French cuisine. There are also the private dinner cruises offered by the Palm Breeze Charters, and upon return, you could have a couple of drinks at a tiki bar and a walk on the beach, but if you want to really prepare for this getaway, you might want to watch “The Palm Beach Story.”

America The Land of Apple Pie

It is said that decades ago when journalists asked soldiers in World War II, why they were fighting, the common slogan used by all was “For Mom and Apple Pie”, which then gave rise to the well-known phrase still used today “ As American as Motherhood and Apple Pie”

Apple Pie is the most classic of all desserts in America and while many think it humble, it is far from basic. Get to know all the ins and outs and you too can make the perfect apple pie, one soldier would be proud to battle for.

Apple Pie

Apple pie is greater than a heart-warming dessert that smells delicious and perfectly goes with a large scoop of ice cream, it’s traditional and it everyone in the US fondly remembers freshly baked apple pie. With several variations and twist to the traditional apple pie recipe, they all have one thing in common and that is that they all simply delicious. To make things easier pies can be baked by using the ready-made pie crusts refrigerated from Pillsbury or made from scratch.

Perfect Apple Pie Made With Refrigerated Pie Dough

You will need:

Aluminium
A large mixing bowl
The 9-inch glass pie plate

Apple Pie Ingredients

• One box Pillsbury pie crusts (refrigerated)
• ¾ of a cup of sugar
• ¾ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
• 6 cups of apples that have been thinly sliced and peeled
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

How to Bake American Apple Pie

First of all get the oven going as you will need a pre-heated oven of 425F before you can place the pie crust into an ungreased glass plate followed by pressing it firmly down on the bottom and sides.
In the larger bowl gently mix all the ingredients and spoon into the plate lined by the curst, once the ingredients are spooned into the crust, top with the second crust. The access crust can be cut off and the edges pressed together to seal.

Apple pie needs 40 to 45 minutes of baking and it is best to cover the edge of the crust with foil to prevent too much browning. Once the Apple pie is out of the oven it requires it a cooling down period of minimum two hours. To ensure cooling it is best to place the glass plate on a cooling rack and only when it is completely cool to the touch it is ready to be served.

Apple pie stays fresh for up to two days if it is wrapped in aluminium or plastic wrap once it is completely cooled down. Storage should take place at room temperature and the just baked freshness can be enjoyed for two days with ice-cream. (for best results heat up one slice at a time in the microwave but only for a few seconds just before serving it to your guest)

Do Enjoy American Folk Music During Your Visit

There is no real nameable origin for American folk music because it grew more out of communal tradition than profit or entertainment. Folk songs as a term cover several musical styles, which includes from Cajun to Western, Appalachian to Zydeco music and then all the way to tunes of the urban diaspora. Within the tradition of folk music in America, the folk songs are the ones that use traditional modes to speak or melodies. The traditional folk songs can address political or social issues such as a popular opinion, work or even war, while others are ballads telling the stories of families, then there are love songs and some that can only be classified as nonsense songs.

American Music in the 20th Century

Folk Music returned in the 20th century into the psyche of America as workers struggled, they gathered in union halls, living rooms and churches to sing folk songs. It helped them cope with their harsh work environment. Songwriters such as Joe Hill was discovered as they adapted the tunes of Baptist hymns and replaced the words with verses regarding the struggles experienced by the labours. These were sung by workers during strikes and when they gathered in union halls. Woody Guthrie was another who worked that headed full of hope to California to find employment and wrote hundreds of songs before 1967 when he died. Guthrie was one of the most important figures in folk music and his most known song “This Land Is Your Land” continues to inspire millions both musically and politically.

American Folk Music in New York


Folk music blossomed in the 1950s to the 1960s in New York, especially in the coffee houses and clubs in Greenwich village showcasing singles like Bob Dylan, Paul and Mary and Judy Collins. New York still offers visitors an array of top music halls and pubs where folk music can be enjoyed.

New York’s Best Venues for Old-Timey Folk Music and Foot-Stomping Bluegrass

One place that rocks in Manhattan is the Postcrypt Coffeehouse an all-acoustic venue in the St. Paul’s Chapel basement. It is run by students and founded in 1964. Just to confirm that New York is everything but all about rock ‘n roll, the Greenwich Village coffee shops such as Hank’s Saloon and Japoly Theatre are only two of the best honky-tonk places to visit. Hank’s Saloon is referred to by the New York Times as a Boerum Hill Bar where the old days will never end, waiting to hand you, your first drink is Jeannie Talierco who has worked at Hank’s for more than 20 years. So, if it is the search to find a bit of America’s folk song history, you’re after do book at Hank’s Saloon where there is are no history, it is still in the making.

Things Americans Think is Normal that Foreigners Do Not

It is normally outsiders that point out the unique behaviours of Americans. US citizens like to go big, and that includes the amount they tip, the size of their burgers, sodas, it is the one thing that first-time visitors are amazed by. Then there are also the things that are odd to visitors and completely normal to the Americans, which are also interesting.

Instead of Hello, how are You?


What at first throws visitors is when they just arrived in the US and the shop assistants ask how are you doing when they actually mean hello, it’s a form of greeting more than an actual question and a great way to open conversation. The funny thing is that European visitors always start talking about their well-being instead of yes accepting that it is a way of greeting.

American Flags Everywhere

Americans love their blue, red and white flags and no matter whether it is Veteran’s Day or the Fourth of July, every day is flag day. Flags can be seen on lapel pins, on cars and in the front yards of houses. There are not many countries that can compete with the love US citizens have for their flags, and it is unquestionably one of the things that make America great.

Skittles, Grape Flavour


Skittles and in particular “grape” flavour is what American’s love, in Australia and the UK the flavour is referred to as blackcurrant. Yet in America, it is the grape flavour everyone loves, blackcurrant used to be a popular flavour, but that was only until legislators banned it because it then served as a wood-destroying vehicle for the disease known as the white pine blister rust.

Where do Americans Go on Vacation?

Outside of the US, holidays or vacations are what everyone is looking forward to after a year of hard work as everyone gets to spend a few weeks away from home. In the US taking time off for holiday is actually treated as a dark secret and is not as common as everywhere else in the world. Most employees have vacation days piling up. Many outsiders find the workaholism in the USA bizarre.

In the USA they Drink from Red Solo Cups

Apart from the large portions served in restaurants and the amazing taste of the food available in the US, one thing Americans do is drinking from red cups. The red solo cups are seen in the country as a symbol of backyard barbeques and college keggers. They are used at all social gatherings, and even while they have hardly seen outside of the USA, they are the main cup from which booze are consumed. When Seth Stevenson was asked about the red solo cups he explained that the main attraction to some is the opaque colour, which makes it impossible for law officers or other authorities to tell what is inside, the red solo cup’s sturdy design and in its latest version the square bottom also makes it a cup easy to hold. Plus it is red, so it is one of the three colours most loved by the USA.

Going to America – Don’t Dare Miss These Hotdog Joints

Due to their love for hot dogs, Americans even celebrates a National Hot Dog Day, which falls on the 18th of July, this yearly event confirms that the hot dog is a symbol of the country’s ingenuity. Hotdogs are the one food to easy to make you could hardly mess it up. Yet there is a major difference when it comes to the masters of hotdogs and America has no shortage when it comes to phenomenal hotdog joints.

Coney Island – Angelo’s


What drastically differs from the brethren in Detroit is the Flint-style coneys, these differences include that the wet-style gloopy motor city chilli, the Flint’s are dry, and onions and mustard are essential. The Flint Town version is also one-hundred per cent local and the coneys comes from the Koegel Meat Company which do make the best dogs in the entire country.

No one knows the Vienna better than Anglo’s which grills these to perfection, and even though the original flint has been through an array of changes over the past seventy years, the one you simply could not miss is that of Angelo’s as they are the best coneys served with fries and gravy.

Chicago – The Hometown of Biker Jim

While Chicago is proud to have Abe Froman, Denver is quite pleased with the idea of being home to Jim Pittenger the Sausage King, started as a food cart owner his journey led first to a fleet of carts and now to several brick-and-mortar joints. Since Pittenger also became a fixture on television and his signature dogs are the favourite of millions including Andrew and Bourdain Zimmern.

The signature dogs are unique and represent a variety of meats including buffalo, reindeer, elk, rattlesnake and pheasant, and they described as glorious. Each explodes with a flavour sensation of their own and is amped with a range of brilliant topping including coney sauce, harissa roasted cactus, green Chile salsa or even Malaysian curry.

South Carolina – Jack’s Cosmic Dogs


What beach towns have in spades, South Carolina has in hot-doggery roadside joints, yet Jack’s are a piece of America that no other will ever have the right to claim. It is famed for more than one thing, including its unique home-made sweet potato mustard that is simply mind-blowing and then there are the bits of blue cheese part of the tastiest special slaw in the world.

Jack is the mastermind of flavour explosions, and this is one roadside hot doggy no one on earth should miss out on. It is well worth the trip and if you love messy do order the blue galactic dog. It will leave you in a happy mess of magical flavours, well worth the clean-up afterwards even if you might need to jump into the ocean to get all the saucy bits off.

Pastries Most Loved in the US

Humanity has been consecrated via bakeries and confectionaries since the Roman empire days. A millennium later the artform of baking has advanced into the self-indulgent day-dreams of Caligula himself. Culinary artists have bend tradition delights into new forms of brilliance, ground-breaking innovations have influenced the style of backing, patisseries reached new delightful heights, and some of the most amazing bakeries are now based in America. So, when you next plan a trip to the land of plenty, here are some of the bakeries that would be a sin to miss.

Arcade Bakery New York


Arcade Bakery is Church Street, and with its name stamped onto the outside, it is quite easy to find, while the lobby of about 300 feet takes you to the counter stacked with the most delicious pastries. The baker can be seen fiddling with the dough in the open kitchen, and the smell is overwhelming and instantly alert your taste buds of what is to follow. There is a slew of sourdough loaves, buckwheat baguettes to choose from while the pastries clearly French-influenced include whiskey-pecan babka, caramel apple brioches and savoury as well as sweet croissants.

Should you enjoy a mightily staked sandwich, flaky croissant or one of the just-prepared pizzas, chances are that you would feel like shouting at the passers-by that they are missing out on the best treats America has to offer. Once you’ve spoiled your taste buds to this kind of treats you might want to visit Arcade Bakery every day while you are visiting New York, yet we have another surprise in store, and it is also situated in the big apple.

Dominique Ansel Bakery

Dominique Ansel invented the Cronut, and he is known as the French wizard of pastries, he merely rolls a croissant into a circle, and already he has you hooked. Science defying bakes decorates the cabinet and by 7 am every morning proverbial lines find their way out the door as the baking or more than 350 croissants are freshly stacked in doughnut hybrids.

It is not easy ordering just one thing as there are Ansel’s frozen s’mores decorated with chocolate wafers and vanilla custard ice cream served in a behemoth of marshmallow torched to order, then there are the cookie shots shaped in shot glass form filled with Tahitian vanilla milk after they lined with dark chocolate. That is not even touching the list of French desserts such as Tarte tatins or chocolate eclairs on the inventory, so do yourself a favour add this one to your list of New York’s unique treats.

San Francisco & Denver Bakeries

The two bakeries that follow the boutique’s bakeries above includes B. Patisserie in San Francisco known for serving the best sugary cakes and a marvellous selection of macarons, apple tart and almond streusel. Should your travels take you to Denver, then do try and make your way to Babettes Artisan Breads the variety of bread include daily country loaves and porridge bread, while the pastry counter offers the nicest molten-centre chocolate cakes and apple croissants.

Best Teas in Tennessee

Located in the heart of country music, Tennessee, favoured for it honky-tonks, yet one thing visitors are often surprised by is the southerners infatuation with tea, not any tea sweet tea. With fruit being a regional speciality, home kitchens and restaurants throughout the state serve pineapple and orange juices, lemonade and limeade made with sweet tea and the hot favourites is fruit tea.

Right Up Tea-lovers Alley


Alley Cat tea is made with filtered water, oranges, cane sugar, pineapples and black tea. The tea contains no artificial flavours and 48% of it is juice. It is also available at most stores in the natural foods section throughout Tennessee as well as in major retailers in Virginia, Illinois, Mississippi, Indiana, Georgia and Kentucky.

Tennessee is as famed for its delicious fruit teas as what Nashville is for its super-hot chicken. The beauty of the locally produced tea is that it can be enjoyed hot as a spicy tea or served cold, while it is also used more often than not as a marinade for pork or chicken, tea is as versatile as your creativity allows. 2016 was a big year for tea lovers in Tennessee as Alley Cat added a brand new flavour to its range called Southern Mint tea. The tea offers a subtle hint of mint and was created especially for the people in the South known for liking a fresh sprig of mint to their favourite refreshment.

Tea-rrific Southern Fruity Ice Tea Recipe:

4 iced tea bags, either Luzianne or Lipton
2 quarts water
½ a cup of honey or sugar
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 mini cans pineapple juice 12 ounces

Boil the water, allow tea bags too steep for at least 15 minutes, remove and discard tea bags, add more honey or sugar, stir well. Leave to cool and then add the brewed tea into a pitcher of at least gallon size, add juice concentrates, add the pineapple juice as well as lots of ice. Another enjoyable recipe is the Kinky Kitty Cocktail, which requires 5 parts of Alley Cat tea, 1 part clear rum and 1 part coconut rum, although it is more suited for weekends. Once the ingredients are mixed well, the kinky kitty cocktail is served over ice and garnished with fresh fruit.

Tea Drinking at Southern Restaurants

Most restaurants in Tennessee serve fruit tea including the Loveless Café, Star Bagel, Baja Burrito and American Grill. A ginger ale taste is added to the fruit tea in Brentwood, at the Puffy Muffin bakery the ginger teas offering a surprising flavour twist has been served for more than thirty years and can be ordered sweet or unsweetened. The difference between the sweet tea served in Tennessee and that in Brentwood is that the ginger tea is not made with pineapple, although it also contains limeade and orange juice.

In Columbia fruit tea is a local favourite and served at most restaurants since 2003. The thirst-quenching drink is perfect for summer or winter, while sweet tea is not only an adult treat but loved by children as well.