There are many traditions associated with the Christmas season. How have these Christmas traditions evolved over time? Many of our Christmas traditions have a long and fascinating history. Christmas cards, Christmas trees, Christmas carols, and other traditions are still important parts of our festive celebrations. Our family holiday tradition is to bake together!
We have shared many of our favourite Christmas recipes on the blog including the Crème Brulée Gingersnap Cookies! Your kids will enjoy using a kitchen torch to make the Crème Brulée (parental assistance is advised)!
What’s the origin of the Christmas tree? There are various theories about the origin of the Christmas Tree. One suggestion is that is it derived from the old English Yule tradition of decorating houses with tree branches. Another story from the 16th century is that German religious leader Martin Luther was walking one Christmas Eve under a sky full of stars. He took home a small tree from the forest and decorated it with candles to remind him of the stars in Heaven.
A London art dealer Henry Cole invented the first Christmas card in 1843 as a quick way to send greetings to friends. Cole tried to sell the cards to others, but they were not popular; however, as printing and postal systems soon developed, Christmas cards quickly became a tradition around the world.
The word carol comes from an old French word carolet, which means to dance in a ring. The first carols were written in Europe around 1200. Christmas carols became more popular with the writng of many well-known songs during the 19th century, including “Silent Night” (1817), “We Three Kings” (1857), and “Away in a Manger” (1877).
European legend tells how St. Nicholas was concerned about the plight of three desperately poor sisters and so one night he dropped three gold coins down their chimney. The coins fell into the girls’ stockings hung by the fire to dry. The hopeful have been hanging up their stockings ever since!
Christmas wreaths are often intertwined with red ribbons and decorations. The wreath’s evergreen leaves represent the everlasting life that Christ’s birth promised, while the circular shape recalls the crown of thorns placed on His head.
During the Middle Ages, the red berries from holly were believed to keep witches at bay and its evergreen leaves symbolized eternal life. The plant has also long been associated with Jesus Christ – the red berries representing drops of blood and the prickly leaves the crown of thorns.
A common explanation for Boxing Day is that it originates from Ancient Rome where apprentices were given boxes of money on the day after Christmas. Similarly in 19th century England, the servants of large households would receive boxes of money from their employers. Church goers also donated money into a box in the church. The funds were then distributed to the poor of the parish on December 26.
As you can see, many Christmas traditions are still well part of our holiday festivities today!
What are your favourite Christmas traditions? Share below!