Every family has their own set of holiday traditions, but these weird ones are pretty common in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Weird Holiday Traditions

Only In Your State published an article titled "11 Weird and Wacky Holiday Traditions You'll Only Get If You're From Wisconsin", and I've got a big bone to pick with it.

1. "Eating herring for prosperity in the new year"

Paul Einerhand via Unsplash
Paul Einerhand via Unsplash

I don't know much about herring, but I do know it is a Scandinavian tradition that is not only celebrated in Wisconsin.  My 100 percent Swedish grandfather would bring herring every year on Christmas Eve, and no one, except for him, would ever eat it.

2. "Hiding a pickle ornament on your tree"

A man hanging up a unique pickle ornament on a Christmas tree
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The 'Christmas Pickle' tradition is said to be traced back to Germany and involves hiding a pickle ornament on your tree to be searched for on Christmas morning. The first person to find the ornament gets to open the first present, and many families throughout the world enjoy this holiday tradition every year...not just in Wisconsin.

3. "Spending Thanksgiving hunting"

Grandpa and Grandson going Duck Hunting

The Thanksgiving hunting tradition may be most popular in Wisconsin because the state's firearm deer hunting season usually includes Thanksgiving weekend, and Illinois' does not.

4. "Cutting your own Christmas tree"

Eyecandy Images

Wisconsin may have more Christmas tree farms to choose from than Illinois, but saying the tradition of cutting down your own Christmas tree is unique to Wisconsin is one hundred percent inaccurate.

5. "Celebrating St. Nick's Day"


For those that aren't familiar with what St. Nicholas Day is, it typically takes place  December 5 or 6 (it's the 6th this year), and usually involves placing coins or treats in children's shoes. My family has never celebrated this tradition, but MANY families do throughout Illinois, (and the rest of the World), so this is far from just a Wisconsin thing.

Unique Holiday Traditions in Wisconsin

Now here are some things from the Only In Your State list that I do believe might be unique to Wisconsin, (or at least I've never heard of them before );

1. The WE Energies Cookie Book 


Only In Your State says; "Dating back to 1933, this free recipe book is distributed by the local utility company and still is today." WE Energies' 2023 Cookie Book celebrates first responders this holiday season and is available to download, here.

2. Cannibal Sandwiches 

This straight up makes me want to puke, but the "Cannibal Sandwich", aka, "Tiger Meat" or "Steak Tartare" is literally a raw beef sandwich topped with onion and considered one of Wisconsin's specialty food "delicacies".

3. Stollen

I've never had Stollen, and I've never seen it available in Wisconsin before, but if Only In Your State says it's uniquely Wisconsin, I'll take their word for it.

4. Bicycling Santas

Wisconsin loves riding bikes and drinking beer dressed like Santa so much, that several different towns/cities throughout the state host a special bike ride each December that will really put you in the holiday spirit(s)!
5. Brandy Slush

Apparently, during the holiday season, a lot of Wisconsinites put down their Old Fashioneds and pick up a Brandy Slush instead. Although, I'm willing to bet this particular drink tradition is enjoyed throughout Illinois and beyond each Christmas too. (I think I need to try it!)

Do you have any weird holiday traditions to share with us? Send us an app message and tell us about it!

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