The Baby Jesus delivers gifts under the Christmas tree in only about ten countries around the world. Besides the Czech Republic, this traditiona exists in some of the neighboring countries, including Hungary and some states of the former Yugoslavia. The Aktuálně.cz online daily asked ten foreigners with different Christmas traditions to try to describe the looks of the Baby Jesus and the way he delivers gifts. According to Marco Ugolini, a 36-year-old Italian living in England, the idea of the Baby Jesus delivering presents is strange and a little ridiculous.
Besides, the connection of the spiritual and the materialistic world could upset someone, Ugolini said. “I understand that it is just a fairy tale for children, but how can a newborn give gifts? Unless children believe that the Baby Jesus is using some kind of magic. In that case, I can well imagine that he has superpowers such as telepathy, teleportation, and he can use laser beams. Maybe he flies in a spaceship,” says the Italian. Similarly, Thai Hong Le, a Vietnamese living in the Czech Republic, did not understand the concept of the Baby Jesus at all when he was a child. “I imagined the Baby Jesus as a toddler conjuring gifts with a spell, maybe by clapping. But what I did not understand at all was how the Baby Jesus and adult Jesus could have existed simultaneously. Would he always rejuvenate at Christmas?” the 26-year-old doctor asked. According to Aimee Wellington from Great Britain, however, the idea of the Baby Jesus “makes more sense than a chubby guy in a red coat.” “I can imagine the Baby Jesus flying in his crib full of straw. I just don’t know how he would deliver the gifts himself. The children can’t even raise their heads, let alone give presents,” Wellington wonders. Italian Gianluca heard about the Baby Jesus tradition after moving to the Czech Republic. However, he believes that the Czech Baby Jesus is, in essence, just another pretext for further gift buying. “The Baby Jesus has probably used the 5G high-speed network for a long time (we mortals have only discovered it now). Otherwise, I can’t explain how he could do it all by himself. Maybe he’s just a super fast and very organized child,” remarked Gianluca. Joshua Roberts from Australia heard about the Baby Jesus for the first time from his Czech girlfriend. According to him, each culture has its traditions and different ways of fulfilling children’s wishes, and the Czech tradition is one of the versions of how to achieve that. “I imagine the very figure of the Baby Jesus as something between Santa Claus and a child from the Boss Baby movie, just a little fatter,” says the Australian.
Syrian Yassir, who lives in Germany, first heard about the Baby Jesus in Germany, where some families have the same traditions as the Czech ones. According to him, the Czech tradition is a nice concept, which also makes sense from the Christian point of view as the Baby Jesus commemorates the day when Christ was born. “I imagine the figure of the Baby Jesus as an angel who is certainly helped by many other angels in delivering gifts,” says Yassir, who was born in Damascus but has lived in Berlin for the past few years. Rachelle Radford from Ireland was surprised by the Czech tradition as she assumed that every culture celebrating Christmas believes in Santa. “After all, he is the central character of all fairy tales, songs, and decorations. He cannot be avoided. I think that Christmas in the Czech Republic must be visually very different. Do children in the Czech Republic even know Santa Claus? And if so, what role do they think he has? The Baby Jesus concept is strange, it’s still just a small child. As a child, I believed that Santa rides a sleigh pulled by reindeers and comes down a chimney into every house. How does the Baby Jesus deliver presents?” asks Radford. To Rajesh Bhatt, an Indian living in the United States, the Czech tradition also seems very strange. “I imagine the Baby Jesus as an angel with wings. He must also be able to clone and make countless copies of himself. It’s all shrouded in mystery, but maybe it’s a little clearer than Santa Claus himself,” says Professor Bhatt. A Frenchman named Pierre says that he knows of the Baby Jesus and, as a Catholic, this tradition never ceases to amaze him. However, it is difficult for him to associate Jesus with Christmas presents in any way. “Besides, we are talking about the Czech Republic, where, as far as I know, a large part of the population is atheistic,” says the Parisian, who has lived in Prague for a long time. “It’s not easy to explain to children how the Baby Jesus gives presents. I would say that elves help him because he can’t handle it all on his own. I explained to my son that the Baby Jesus gives presents in the Czech Republic and Santa Claus does the same in France,” said Pierre. Although Sinem from Turkey has never heard of the Baby Jesus, he likes that the children believe in him because then they could treat newborns with more respect. “It’s a miracle that a newborn can give presents. Is it possible that he looks a bit like Santa Claus?” asks Sinem.