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Origins of Christmas Traditions

Dec 01, 2010

There are several different stories behind the many Christmas traditions we have today. Some of them might even be true. Here are a few of the stories behind popular Christmas traditions, just in case you've ever wondered.


The Story of Christmas Stockings

Stockings have to be one of the best parts of Christmas - unless you're one of those naughty kids who only gets a lump of coal. The tradition of stockings started in Holland during the 16th Century. Kids would leave clogs filled with hay near the fireplace for Santa's reindeer. Santa would then leave behind treats for the children. Eventually people began using stockings instead - something we still do today.


The Story of the Christmas Tree

No Christmas is complete without the Christmas tree. But how did this tradition begin? Well, the story goes that St. Boniface, who is credited for converting many Germans to Christianity, came across a group of Pagans worshiping an oak tree. This made him angry, so he cut the tree down. What sprouted up in its place was a fir tree. St. Boniface took this as a sign from God, and it has been a Christian symbol ever since. Also, when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, he gave a tree to his wife for Christmas, since it was a custom in his homeland of Germany.


The Story of Gingerbread Houses

Who doesn't love making a gingerbread house during Christmas? Ginger can be traced back to Europe during the 11th Century. Explorers came back from the Middle East with the spice ginger. It quickly became popular, especially in Germany. Nuremberg, Germany is the gingerbread capital of the world. The Brothers Grimm, who wrote Hansel and Gretel, made gingerbread houses even more popular.


The Story of Christmas Cards

The first Christmas card was made by Sir Henry Cole who worked for the British Postal Service. He hired an artist to create three scenes - in the middle a family sat around the dinner table, on the left, the hungry were being fed and on the right, the needy were being clothed. The familiar greeting "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You" was written on it. English schoolboys also wrote greeting cards to their parents as proof of how well they could write.


The Story of Mistletoe

Mistletoe has been getting peoplelocking lips together for a long time. The Celts used to believe that mistletoe was a powerful charm against lightning, thunder and other scary things. The Norse thought the plant was a symbol of peace. Warriors who met under the green leaves would not fight and warring couples would "kiss and make up". Other European cultures believed that mistletoe aided in fertility and was an aphrodisiac - which explains why peeps become so smitten underneath it!


Have Your Say

What Christmas traditions do you have? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

1 Comment

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Poll

Fave Christmas Tradition?

  • The presents, duh!
  • Putting up and decorating the tree.
  • Making a gingerbread house.
  • Pelting my brother with snowballs.

Random In The Forums

Myshkin
Myshkin posted in Debating:
"Jolly-Rancher206" wrote:One human being doesn't have more value than another "Jolly-Rancher206" wrote:If one believes life has intrinsic value in the first place (can't be proven, touched measured, just is) then how can you go about distinguishing the amount of value someone has? Life having intrinsic value doesn't mean that a person's value can not increase or stagnate based upon their actions and character. Mass murderers, for example, are viewed as having less value (either to you or I, or society in general, but either way we perceive them differently) than an ordinary law-abiding citizen. In a similar way, a man has greater worth than a woman in certain situations, and a woman greater worth than a man in certain situations. It's not necessarily strictly based upon being a man or woman either, it's just what their general behavior is viewed as: for example, women are generally held to be more empathetic than men, therefore more people prefer to open their heart up to women because they believe they will be given a more sensitive response. Short of attaining ego death, you're always going to value people differently. It's very nice to say from an abstract, intellectual standpoint that all people are equal, but even in solely your own life you know this isn't how you actually look at things, unless you really are prepared to tell me that the worth of your parents or siblings or close friends or distant friends are not worth more to you than a stranger on the street. I just want to point out in bold that I'm making a distinction between intellectual (or hypothetical/theoretical) understanding of people being equal, either in general or between men and women, and the actual application of trying to apply that principle. It likely leads us to view the two as more equal than if we didn't hold the intellectual view that they're equal, but nonetheless there is always going to be a hint of bias located somewhere. One last thing just for any additional clarity it might provide, because I recognize I might be getting vague here: "Jolly-Rancher206" wrote:I'm saying at bottom one s//x does not have more value than another. I am saying that all people have different values, be they man or woman, but in many situations one is preferable to the other and therefore their value as you perceive it is greater at that time (context).
reply 14 minutes
CaptJolee
CaptJolee posted in Debating:
like  I said it also could be another serial killer
reply 15 minutes
Pink_Cool_Girl
Well, go to his website and there is a picture of a new animatronic: Baby. But there is more than one animatronic, so why would he say one? :/
reply 16 minutes
Unrung
Unrung posted in General:
"inkdeath" wrote: "Unrung" wrote: When a child cries because her favorite pet died, you wouldn't tell her she has no right to be upset because children are starving in Africa, would you? A favorite pet dying is not as tragic as a child starving in Africa.    I get it now. You have the iq level of a fish.  Yes. I agree 100%. A favorite pet dying is not as tragic as a child starving in Africa. But that has no bearing on how a child should feel if their pet dies, was my point.
reply 26 minutes
Jolly-Rancher206
"Myshkin" wrote: "Jolly-Rancher206" wrote: "Myshkin" wrote: It means that men and women are not inherently equal, though certainly you can view their worth as being about equal. Only about? Only about. You might be able to delude yourself into thinking the two have the exact same worth but that will never actually happen due to unconscious biases, nor does the principle translate into the real-world very well where people are not made of the same stuff and the worth of a person is based upon context and character. Hold up. Yeah people are biased and some may see one s//x as better than the other. And yes people don't live that way in the real-world. I'm saying at bottom one s//x does not have more value than another. One human being doesn't have more value than another. I don't believe someone's character or personality changes that. I can think someone is a bad person, does bad things, but still affirm they have as much worth as a person as I do. If one believes life has intrinsic value in the first place (can't be proven, touched measured, just is) then how can you go about distinguishing the amount of value someone has?
reply 37 minutes