Christmas traditions that you know and love, and why we participate in them


As the Christmas season is approaching, family and friend traditions start to spike up all around the world. Families are putting up Christmas trees, hanging up stockings, lighting up the neighborhood with Christmas lights and so much more. However, do you ever wonder why we do these things to represent the Christmas season? Many of these traditions originate back from the 9th century in Rome. Some of these traditions include putting up Christmas trees, hanging wreaths on front doors, hanging up stockings, kissing under the mistletoe and the hanging of Christmas lights.

Christmas Trees
Ever wonder why we put up Christmas trees? The Evergreen fir tree is a worldwide Christmas decoration and was a reminder to people that spring would come again. Romans would place them around temples to honor Saturn, the God of Agriculture. Starting back in the 16th century, German Christians would bring the Evergreen Fir trees into their homes to represent everlasting life. After hearing that Queen Victoria had her German husband, Prince Albert put up a Christmas tree in their palace; the Christmas tree tradition had officially begun.

Hanging up a Christmas Wreath on your front door is a smart way to use trimmings from your own Christmas tree, which is probably how this tradition got started back in Germany in the 16th century. Likewise, the symbolism of wreaths goes way back to the times of the Romans when Victorian athletes would wear a woven crown on their head representing a crown. The representation of a never-ending circle made of evergreens would represent that the springtime would come again and to celebrate the winter solstice.

Why would people hang empty socks on their fireplace? Well, they were hoping that Father Christmas would come and fill them if you had been good that year. Jenny Leach states,
According to tradition, the original Saint Nicholas put gold coins in the stockings of three poor sisters. One night, the girls left their stockings drying over the fireplace. Saint Nicholas knew the family was very poor, so he threw three bags of gold coins down the chimney. The money landed in the sisters’ stockings. Since then, children have hung up their Christmas stockings on Christmas Eve, hoping to find them filled with gifts in the morning. (2020).

Mistletoe is the perfect excuse to pucker up and kiss that special someone. Legend has it that the gods used mistletoe to resurrect Odin’s son Baldur from the dead. Frigg, Baldurs mother, the goddess of love, made the plant a symbol of love and promised to kiss anyone who passed underneath it. The plant is very unique because even during the chilly Christmas season, it can still blossom. In the 18th century, men from England were allowed to kiss any woman who was standing underneath the mistletoe, and if the lady refused it was a sign of bad luck.

Christmas Lights
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is looking at Christmas lights. I love driving through neighborhoods seeing all the houses lit up with beautiful lights. I also enjoy walking through lights with my family and friends at places like Temple Square, Hogle Zoo and Luminaria.

Christmas traditions create memories for families and friends all around the world and help us remember the true meaning of Christmas time. Helen Lowrie Marshall said, “For Christmas is tradition time-Traditions that recall The precious memories down the years, The sameness of them all.”