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Christmas Rituals 'Round The World

Christmas is celebrated in most parts of the world. But not every country has the same rituals that Americans do.

On The Early Show Monday, Kenneth Davis, author of "Don't Know Much About Anything," offered some insight on how other countries celebrate the holiday.

Davis is known for his series of "Don't Know Much" book for both adults and children. They fill in readers' gaps of knowledge with fun and interesting facts.

Davis has been dubbed "The King of Knowing" by Amazon.com because he becomes a subject expert in all of the areas he writes about -- the Bible, mythology, the universe, and the Civil War, to name just a few.

Christmas is, of course, one of the world¹s most widely celebrated holidays and those celebrations can be very different from the traditional American idea of Santa and snow.

For instance, Christmas in Australia comes during the summer, so kids get a six-week "summer" vacation and an Aussie Christmas dinner might be served on the beach!

Some other interesting tidbits:

What is Boxing Day?

It's celebrated on Dec. 26 in England, Ireland and Australia; the holiday goes back to the notion that noblemen "boxed up" gifts for their servants on this day. It's also called St. Stephen's Day

Where do children put out their shoes instead of hanging stockings?

During the evening of Jan. 5, Spanish children put their shoes near a window. The next day is Epiphany, celebrating the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus. According to legend, the Wise Men arrive during the night before Epiphany and fill the children's shoes with small gifts.

Where do bad children risk a visit from Father Spanker?

On Christmas Eve, French children put their shoes in front of the fireplace hoping that Father Christmas will come. But his partner, Father Spanker (Le Pere Fouettard), delivers a spanking to naughty children.

Where would you be served an eel on Christmas Eve?

In Italy, that is a traditional Christmas Eve meal. Italian children receive gifts from La Befana, a kindly old witch, on the eve of Epiphany. According to legend, the Wise Men asked the kindly old witch to accompany them to see the infant Jesus.

Where does Christmas season begin on December 13?

In Sweden, festivities begin on St. Lucia Day, December 13. In the morning of this day, the oldest daughter in the home dresses in white and wears a wreath with seven lighted candles on her head. She serves the other members of the family coffee and buns in bed.