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We all love Christmas! As the song goes, its the most wonderful time of the year. Celebrating the festivities won’t be complete without doing the usual Christmas traditions and activities that mark the occasion.
Most of the Christmas customs and activities that we know mostly originated from Germany. It was then brought to the United Kingdom during the Victorian times because of Prince Albert (German Prince), the Prince Escort of Queen Victoria.
These yuletide activities became the norms when celebrating Christmas not just here in the UK and but around the world. Here are some of the popular Christmas activities that should be in your checklist this yuletide season.
- Here are the best Christmas traditions of families and friends
Here are the best Christmas traditions of families and friends
1. Christmas tree lighting and decorating
Germany started the tradition of putting ornaments to evergreen trees. This gesture has been a part of their winter solstice celebration and was later incorporated into the celebration of Christmas in the country.
Nowadays, big centres and public spaces make Christmas lighting a proper ceremony. People from the neighbourhood gather round to witness towering trees being officially lit for the first time. Designs vary from the traditional to the eco-friendly ones, with each year bringing in something grander than last’s.
2. Cosying at the fireplace
This somewhat simple gesture of gathering to enjoy the warmth of the fireplace has long been part of the traditional Christmas activities. Norway has something to do with this tradition, as the Yule log is used to celebrate the coming of the sun at the winter solstice. It is also a romantic thing to do for couples during Christmas time snuggle up to the heat of the fireplace. This also brings a homey atmosphere to the families every Christmas season.
Simply perfect to lounge around infront of the fireplace with your woolly blanket and hot chocolate and a room well decorated with all the Christmas trimmings.
It is during Christmas season that people tend to be extra generous, as this is the time when giving and sharing to others is widely encouraged. Christians would tell you that the first gift-giving happened on the day Christ was born, as he is God’s gift to mankind.
Because of this culture of gift-giving during Christmas, businesses take this opportunity to set up holiday sales and Christmas packages that are hard to resist for any shopper. However, gift-giving during the festive season is not limited to exchanging material things anymore. Many organizations come up with charity events that aim to share the gift of love to the less fortunate in the form of food, clothes, and other necessities.
Read More: 10 Best Christmas Markets in Europe
4. Christmas greeting cards
John Calcott Horsley has a role to play in the proliferation of sending greeting cards during Christmas. In 1830, the Englishman produced small cards that have some holiday images and greetings on them. It became a hit in England and the US and other creators followed suit.
One of the old English Christmas traditions is giving Christmas card during the holidays, we tend to arrange them as a bunting during the festive season. So don’t be too surprised to see a home here in the UK filled with Christmas card bunting.
5. Singing carols
Another one of the most loved Christmas traditions stemming from England is carolling. Musicians on the road visit the homes of the elite to sing Christmas songs in the hopes of getting money or even food in exchange.
In the Philippines, Christmas carols start to fill your ears as early as September. Filipinos playfully explain that the holidays start when “-ber” months come in. You will hear joyful songs on the radio, in shopping centre speakers, and in other public places. Come December, performing children and adults alike hit the road in groups, armed with musical instruments that are sometimes makeshift.
6. Poinsettias as Christmas ornaments
We have Joel R. Poinsett to thank for these red-and-green plants adorned all over our neighbourhoods. The American minister to Mexico brought these plants to the US in 1828, and its striking Christmas-themed colour gained the attention of many. It was not long after the plants became a true symbol of the Christmas season.
7. Being visited by Santa Claus
Santa Claus is a prime embodiment of Christmas and is frequently used to market Christmas all over the world. While he is mainly a product of imagination and dreams, the concept comes from a real man named St. Nicholas of Myra. He was a Christian monk who was known for his various gestures of goodwill during his lifetime.
It was in Europe where Santa Claus has evolved into how we know him now – a gift-giving jolly man clad in red and white, travelling through the skies on a sleigh with his reindeers and giving gifts to homes on Christmas Eve.
Many children take part in the sweet gesture of leaving something for Santa Claus in case he does visit their homes. Stemming from the idea that he might be tired and hungry from all the gift deliveries he has to make, children place cookies and milk for Santa right under the Christmas tree.
8. Hanging stockings
One of the most favourite family Christmas traditions in the hopes of receiving gifts and treats, children in the US and the UK hang stockings by their bedside or near the fireplace. These stockings then “magically” get filled overnight – to the glee of the kids come morning time.
In Scandinavia, children practice the same tradition but with shoes. This can be traced from a traditional Christmastime story which tells of Saint Nicholas leaving and dropping gold coins from the chimney of a family – one of which landed inside a shoe near the hearth.
9. Kissing under the mistletoe
One of the favourite and classic Christmas traditions for couples. A seemingly childish tradition of being kissed under the mistletoe actually has a long history behind it. In olden times, the mistletoe was believed to have some sort of magical powers that can induce fertility and wellbeing.