For weddings that blend families, spending the holidays together will be a little special. It’s your first Christmas together! And with kids, you will have to introduce to them the spirit of Christmas, a custom celebration that happens all over the world.
Where do our Christmas customs actually come from?
Trees in the living room, calendars that only have 24 days, old men with red pointed caps. At first glance, our Christmas customs may seem a bit strange. But they have a story – and you can find it out here
Nicholas and Santa Claus
Whitebeard, red robe, and a bulging gift sack – that’s, of course, Santa Claus. But the legendary hero of Christmas did not always have this well-known figure.
Its appearance and function go back to St. Nicholas. This bishop lived in the 4th century and to this day his name day is celebrated every year on December 6th – it is thanks to him that shoes and stockings are filled with sweets on St. Nicholas Day.
Now it’s getting more complicated. Because the one who visits us on Christmas Eve is not Santa Claus, this is Santa Claus. The two Christmassy guys have a lot in common, but they are not one and the same person. Over time, “Santa Claus” emerged from St. Nicholas in the USA. It was there that today’s image of him was shaped.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the authors of many poems and stories described him with a red coat and a long white beard – later the reindeer sleigh was also mentioned. In addition, Santa Claus got a “home”: the North Pole.
Thanks to many films and the advertising of the lemonade giant “Coca Cola”, Santa Claus soon became known all over the world. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Santa Claus has been competing with our actual Christmas messenger – the Christ Child.
Even in the Harry Potter movies, they have celebrated Christmas! Test how much you know about Harry Potter with the harry potter sorting hat quiz.
A tree is a focus
With “Christmas” we not only associate Santa Claus but also the Christmas tree. But why do we actually put a needle-like plant in the living room? The tree takes up a lot of space, it pokes us when we want the presents that are below it and after a short time, it begins to lose its needles. And then we hang it with all sorts of odds and ends, wrap shiny threads around the branches and let it shine in a blaze of lights.
There is a needle-like custom in many countries around the world. Decorated trees are nothing new in our culture. An example: in the Middle Ages people began to decorate a maypole in spring.
It took a little longer for people to bring a tree into their living room at Christmas. It is believed that the first Christmas trees adorned living spaces in the 18th century. But why do conifers play the main role at Christmas?
Almost all conifers are evergreen, so they do not lose their leaves. That symbolizes life force. Also: putting up a bare birch tree as a Christmas tree in winter would certainly look a bit bleak – even if it would be easier to get the gifts.