A freelance writer living in Perth, WA. My blog is coming soon. Watch this space!
Published October 24th 2011
Every year in December we celebrate Christmas. Christmas is a truly magical season, bringing family and friends together to share age old traditions and customs. Of course traditions differ from country to country and there are many of them dating back to ancient times.
Everyone has their own traditions and customs and you can even start your own Christmas tradition. Some people open just one gift on Christmas Eve, get a new pair of Christmas pyjamas or take a Christmas morning family photo. Here are just a few examples to make that Christmas festive season special.
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The traditions of Santa Clause can be traced back to the 1820's. Santa Clause or Santa brings gifts to good children throughout the world on Christmas Eve. Santa Clause lives at the North Pole with his magical elves and flying reindeer. He is generally described as a plump, jolly man with a white beard, wearing a red coat and trousers and black boots.
Everyone knows that Santa travels around the world with his reindeer. But did you know that all of the reindeer would have to be girls? Male reindeer loose their antlers in winter, but the females keep their antlers until spring. And since Christmas is technically in winter, the reindeer would have to be girls. That puts a whole new spin on the song/movie/book, huh?
The Christmas Tree can be either real or artificial and is a symbol associated with the celebration of Christmas. The Christmas tree is brought into the home and decorated with ornaments and lights with an angel or star on the top. The traditions of the Christmas tree can be traced back to the 15th century.
Christmas Tree image from Wikipedia
The Christmas Card is a greeting card sent to celebrate Christmas. Cards are usually exchanged before Christmas day. The first commercial Christmas Cards can be traced back to 1843 and usually show pictures of winter scenes or religious themes or traditional Christmas symbols like Santa or Christmas Trees.
Christmas Crackers (bon bons)
The Christmas Cracker is a big part of the Christmas Celebrations and can be traced back to the 1840s. The crackers are traditionally pulled at the Christmas Dinner table and usually contain a paper hat or crown, a small trinket or toy, and a piece of paper containing a motto, joke or piece of trivia.
An Advent Calendar is a special calendar used to count down the days leading up to Christmas Day. They can be traced back to the 19th century. Most calendars consist of multiple doors or windows, one of which is opened each day to reveal an image or small gift.
A Christmas Carol is a song with a Christmas theme, traditionally sung over the period before Christmas. They can be traced back as far as the 4th century, though mainly appear around 1426. They are not generally religious.
Christmas Dinner is the main Christmas meal and is usually eaten at midday or early afternoon on Christmas Day. A traditional Christmas Dinner usually contains turkey, roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, stuffing and lashings of hot gravy. For dessert rich fruity Christmas pudding is usually served with rum sauce, custard or cream. This traditional Christmas Dinner can be traced back to medieval English Christmas Celebrations.
The Christmas stocking is hung out by children on Christmas Eve in the hopes that Santa will fill it with goodies. Christmas stockings date back to ancient times and in those days children would use one of their own everyday socks.
There are references to Christmas Presents being given on or around the winter solstice in ancient times. Gift giving in the modern sense started around the 1800s with the practice of exchanging small gifts with family and friends at Christmas.
Snow and Snowmen are traditional Christmas symbols even though in many places there is no snow at Christmas. This is probably because Christmas coincides with the winter solstice in some countries. It is thought that snowmen were first built to scare away evil winter spirits.