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Christmas Holiday Traditions and Where they Came From

Throughout the ages, Christmas has evolved to what it is today. Along the way, many things have become traditions that are as much a part of Christmas as Santa Claus and Christmas Mass.

Below are some interesting articles on some of the little things that help make Christmas such a wonderful holiday, and the stories behind them.

Be sure to also check out our other Christmas Article Sections:

The History of Christmas | All About Santa | Christmas Trees | Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions

Christmas Stockings - Once upon a time, in the days of old Saint Nicholas, people, especially children used to hang their stockings on the chimney after they washed them so they would dry.  It is believed that Saint Nicolas would come and throw coins down the chimney aiming for the stockings.  The children would get up the next morning and gleefully would find the coins.  It is said that Saint Nicholas did this for the children who were poor and he knew that with these coins they could buy them food in the town.  Read More...

Christmas Music - Does anyone remember when there were three network channels, a PBS station and then the voided wasteland of UHF? Yes, in the days before cable television there was more emphasis on big “event” television particularly around the holiday season. During Christmas there were a great variety of specials that were holiday themed and one of the most memorable was a Bing Crosby special that featured a duet between him and David Bowie where they sang and incredibly moving version of The Little Drummer Boy. Even though three decades have past since that famous episode aired, it still remains an incredibly memorable and moving duet. In fact, there are a number of moving and interesting versions of Christmas songs and Christmas music because it more than just a way of emoting lyrics indicative of the time of the year, they are passionate moving songs that truly reflect the spirit of the Christmas season. While most people are familiar with Christmas songs (how can you not miss hearing them on the radio during December?) most people are not familiar with their origins. Where did Christmas songs originate and how did they start?  Read More... 

Mistletoe - “Oh, ho, the mistletoe, Hung where you can see…” With these lyrics, Burl Ives immortalized the symbol of the mistletoe in popular culture with the song “Holly, Jolly Christmas.” However, when one looks at the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe seems somewhat curiously removed from other Christmas traditions and this is why looking at the origins of the Mistletoe tradition can be enlightening.  Read More...

Christmas Decorations - If anything were quite noticeable during the Christmas holiday season it would be all the incredible holiday decorations that are on display during the month of December. While most people can identify these symbols of Christmas, most people are not familiar with the origin of many of these decorations. Considering the fact that many of these decorations come from a great variety of time periods and cultures it is somewhat understandable that most people are not familiar with these voluminous convergences of history. So, to shed a little light on the history of Christmas decorations a brief overview of the origins of some of these decorations will be presented.  Read More ...

A Traditional American Christmas - Not every family celebrates the holiday season in the same way. Everyone has different traditions whether this may involve dinner on Christmas Eve or a relative dressed as Santa. There are some traditions that have been handed down as people like to replicate the Christmas of their childhood. Sometimes new traditions are invented to keep up with the changing times and changes in the family and family life. It is impossible to catalogue what a traditional Christmas means to most people but we can put together a list of things that are generally done.

Shopping: Christmas shopping can be done at any time but the period after Thanksgiving is officially shopping season. While most people will vouch for shopping being one of the best things some regard it as a bore and a necessary headache to endure. Internet shopping has changed the intrinsic experience that holiday shopping is and people (ok, men mostly) have found it to be a lifesaver. However nothing can compare with the traditional rush to the shops, the feel of buying things and seeing the Santas at the stores, the lights, smells and sound that accompany such trips.  Read More...

Holly - A Christmas Tradition - It is said that the concept of Christmas decorations first started from a practice of Romans to send boughs and also other gifts to their family and friends during the festival of the Saturnalia, which was a custom which the early Christians too up. In verification of this idea, the Church of Bracara had issued an edict later which forbade Christians from decorating their homes with green boughs at the same time as the pagans did, as the period of the Saturnalia was approximately a week before Christmas. The source of Christmas decorations and gifts has also been attributed to the Druids, who adorned their huts with evergreens during the winter as a home for sylvan spirits. Christmas Eve is marked as templa exornantur (churches are decked) in old church calendars, as just as these customs were deeply ingrained into the people in the early Christian and pagan days, so it is even today.  Read More...

Traditional Christmas Foods - The holiday season families coming together and family get-togethers are incomplete without great food. Christmas has always been traditionally a time for family and great food. In fact, some foods have become synonymous with the holiday and families would never imagine celebrating Christmas without certain dishes on the table. If you are going to do your family dinner you could use some of these ideas.

Christmas traditions differ from place to place. In the same way Christmas food, especially Christmas dinner is never the same in different geographical locations. The families of the south have traditionally enjoyed turkey or ham on Christmas. But some families tend to eat turkey on Thanksgiving and ham on Easter. A prime rib can be enjoyed for Christmas as well. No matter what the main dish is it is bound to have gravy on the side and be accompanied by potatoes, dinner rolls, corn, beets or fruits. Read More...

Poinsettias - Christmas cactus - Poinsettias were first introduced into the United States by Joel Robert Poinsett in 1825. Poinsettias are actually native to Mexico, where they grow wild. Poinsett was an amateur botanist and the first ambassador to Mexico. He introduced poinsettias to the United States when he first brought some cuttings to his plantation in Greenwood, South Carolina. National Poinsettia Day is on December 12, and it honors Poinsett and the plant which he made famous on his death anniversary in 1851.

You can trace the legend of the poinsettia to a Christmas Eve a few centuries ago. A little girl called Pepita did not have any presents to give to the Christ child. So, she gathered up some weeds from the road while she was on her way to the church. It was then that a miracle happened. As she was approaching the altar, the weeds in her hands bloomed into beautiful flowers - Flowers of the Holy Night or Flores de Noche Buena.  Read More...


Traditional Christmas Treats - Perhaps one of the most joyful periods of celebration is heralded by the arrival of Christmas time. It comes as no surprise then that kids are always superbly excited as soon as December arrives and the wonderful day begins to draw nearer. 

There is nothing that children love more than being actively involved and playing at being grown-up. And you can increase their pleasure by allowing the children to prepare treats and food items during this time of merriment. This would also educate them more about food in general, how recipes work wonders and even where the food is from. You can involve your tiny tots and keep the safe by simply doing the slicing yourself or picking an item which can be prepared without a knife. They can then be allowed to determine how much to use and mixing of the ingredients, which they are sure to enjoy. Since it is almost Christmas time let us provide those of you who haven’t finished their baking as yet with some simple recipes which your loved one are sure to love and are just right for the budding festive chefs of your household.  Read More...

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