How many times have we exclaimed "what a small world!" perhaps because we have randomly run into a person we knew under completely different circumstances, ages ago or in a faraway place. Well, this is not the case with holiday traditions! Yes, the celebration is the same all over the world, but the way it is observed and its special features, distinguish and make each country unique. However, we won't limit our trip to just that, starting from Iceland, going through Sweden, Switzerland, Italy and ending in Alaska, we'll take a magical virtual tour and, at the end, we'll reveal the most sustainable gift ever, for your loved ones and the planet.
In Iceland, we can find no less than 13 Santas, the so-called Jólasveinar. Their story is centuries old and has been adapted over time. Today their role is to go down to the city and visit in turn the children during the 13 nights before December 24. Children who behave well during that day can expect candy or a small gift while those who misbehave will receive a rotten potato. This country is the homeland of our partners Carbfix and On Power and provides ideal conditions for direct air capture and storage of CO₂. This is why we built Orca, the world’s largest climate-positive direct air capture and storage plant, in Hellisheiði.
Traveling about 1,650.74 km we are in Nordic Sweden, home of the well-known climate activist Greta Thunberg, and here traditions change. Just like in Iceland, festivities start at the beginning of December 13. However, we will not find Santa Claus but Santa Lucia, a saint from the Italian island of Syracuse. It seems that the tradition dates to the distant 1700s and still today a "Santa Lucia" is crowned in each town every year. Another tradition in Swedish homes is to have a candelabra on the windowsill, or a bright star hanging in the window, and anyone who goes there during the holidays can't help but notice them through the illuminated windows. During the dark Scandinavian winter, these festivities light up the country, spreading the idea of light overcoming darkness and the promise of the return of sunlight.
From Sweden, we make a big jump to alpine Switzerland and music changes again. Celebrations begin in early December by placing the first candle on the Advent wreath, one is placed on each of the four Sundays before December 25. Also, in the German-speaking area, St. Nicholas or "Samichlaus" arrives on December 6 and fills children's shoes with healthy snacks, such as mandarin oranges, nuts, and gingerbread. He arrives accompanied by a character called Schmutzli, who originally reprimanded children who did not behave well, while today brings sugar canes and a burlap sack full of gifts. But Switzerland for us means much more! It is the country where most Climeworkers reside, it is the place where our HQ is located and it is, above all, the place where everything started when Climeworks was founded in 2009.
Not too far from Switzerland, we find ourselves in Italy! In the peninsula, the holiday season is not just a time for exchanging gifts and indulging in the culinary arts. It is a period rich in traditions and culture, which can last almost a month. Children eagerly await the arrival of Santa Claus, the big pot-bellied man with a long white beard who comes from the legend of St Nicholas and, on 6 January, that of the Befana, an old woman with a hump and a hooked nose. She travels on a broom, is dressed in rags and dirty with soot, because, when she can, she enters houses through the chimney. On the night she leaves gifts and sweets to children who have been good, while to those who have been less good, she leaves pieces of coal (sugar with the appearance of coal!).
To conclude our journey, we go to the other side of the world landing in Alaska. Here Santa Claus on his sleigh pulled by Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, arrives for a pre-Christmas visit. However, locals who can't wait until December 24 can go straight to the North Pole to visit him! What better way to wish Merry Christmas than visit Santa's place and receive an official letter postmarked from the North Pole? The Greetings from the North Pole post office program adds to the excitement of Christmas and makes it even more magical than it already is. Getting a letter postmarked from the North Pole is super easy, just write it down and address it to "Santa Claus, North Pole".
Our planet is distinguished by so many things, from holiday traditions, to laws, to natural resources. However, it is one big territory and must continue to be preserved and cared for by its inhabitants. No matter where you are or how you celebrate Christmas this year, giving something to your loved ones is always part of the holiday season. With Climeworks, you can give them an eco-friendly gift that's also a gift for the planet: the gift of carbon dioxide removal. Just choose the package that best suits your needs, and we will permanently remove 30kg, 50kg or 100kg of CO₂ from the air for your special person. But it doesn't end there! The positive climate gift can reach your employees, too. Set a good example by inspiring people to take permanent, direct climate action. Traditions are many, varied and special in their own way. Why not add one that is thoughtful and environmentally friendly? Go to our website, follow the instructions and help remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.