countries share similar Christmas traditions, such as Santa Claus,
Christmas trees and Christmas cards. Where did these traditions come
What is Christmas Eve?
Before International dates, time zones and the like were introduced, days
used to begin at sunset. This meant that the evening was the beginning of the
day. So Christmas Eve was actually Christmas day, back then. Now, because days
begin at midnight, Christmas Eve falls on December 24. In some countries the
main celebration of Christmas is still held on December 24, after sunset,
following the old tradition.
Who is Santa Claus?
Most people think that Santa Claus has nothing to do with the religious side
of Christmas. In some ways they are right. However, Santa Claus is actually
supposed to be Saint Nicholas. Up until the 1930 s he was shown in paintings
to look like an ordinary person, dressed normally but wearing a red cloak. Then
in the 1930 s the Coca-Cola Company ran an advertisement showing Santa Claus
the way we know him now; rather fat and jolly, with his red suit and long white
whiskers. He was much more appealing to children this way, and so the image
stuck. How St Nicholas got dragged into Christmas is another story.
Where Do Christmas Trees Come From?
Christmas trees were originally part of the German Christmas celebrations.
Like St. Nicholas, they have gradually been adopted and incorporated into
Christmas tradition around the world. In Germany the tree is still one of the
most important parts of the celebrations for children. Traditionally the tree
held candles, fruit, nuts and cookies, but now it also has tinsel, glitter
ornaments and toys hanging from it. It is put up during the afternoon of
Christmas Eve, in a locked room, and children only get to see it after eating a
special meal. In Germany children are told either Santa Klaus or the Kristkind
(Christ child) put up the tree.
How Did Christmas Cards begin?
Christmas cards were introduced in Britain in 1840, with the postal service,
and penny stamps. In those days a penny was a lot of money, and printed cards
were very expensive and hard to come by. As the postal service improved, along
with printing methods, cards became more popular. By about 1860 they were fairly
When they first began, Christmas cards showed religious scenes and often had
religious text in them. Nowadays, they can have just about any picture on them,
including winter scenes, and most do not contain any reference to religion.
These are just a few of the many traditions associated with Christmas. Why
not purchase this report on Christmas Around the World to learn more? It
includes some of the shared traditions, background information on why Christmas
is celebrated when it is and a look at some of the traditions of individual
countries. It is packed with information, activities, recipes and more. To find
out more about it email me.