Like America, Northern Brazil enjoys the tale of Jesus in a manger. In the Brazilian version, however, the shepherds are replaced by several shapely shepherdesses. Hoo damn, yes. Also, the manger animals talk, though they don't have a lot to say. Typical dialogue: "Christo nasceu (Christ is born)!" exclaims a rooster. "Onde (Where)?" asks a bull. Given that they're just animals, they can be forgiven for their clunky, expository dialogue, the purpose of which seems to be endlessly restating the obvious.
In the most radical departure, a renegade gypsy actually kidnaps the Christ child, and the three wise men have to get him back. It gives us a badly needed high octane third act to the entire enterprise, and also rinses out the aftertaste of all that dull business with the talking animals ("Eu estou em um celeiro (I am in a barn !," says a sheep). We can only assume that the whole kidnapping ordeal ends in a fight between the wise men and the gypsy on the top of a speeding train.
On Christmas Eve in Finland, the entire family puts on their coats and heads to the cemetery to pay respects to the dead with candles and singing, a tribute that doubles as both touching Christmas tradition and traumatizing nightmare for Finnish children. It's telling to think that a child's only wish on Christmas Eve might be to "not get lost in the graveyard at night like last year."
Adding more fuel to the Santa Claus geography debate, the Finnish have their Santa (Joulupukki) living in the northern part of Finland, to the frustration of Greenland purists. According to fact site Virtual.Finland.fi (a boon for those of us who'd prefer to think of Finland in a non-physical, implied sense), Father Christmas "uses whatever means of transportation is best suited to the weather conditions." He has a sleigh drawn by team of reindeer, natch, but also a team of dogs, a car, an airplane, a snowmobile and even a helicopter. It sucks a bit of the magic out of Christmas to envision Santa living 20 miles up north, tooling around the woods on a snowmobile.