The Origin Of Common Christmas Traditions

M ost people have some form of Christmas traditions, whether we are talking about presents wrapped in elegant bulk Christmas wrapping paper or having a big family meal on Christmas Eve. But some people do not know about the origin of these traditions. While you do not have to know the origin of your Christmas traditions, it might help in understanding what you are doing.

bulk christmas wrapping paper

The Tradition Of Giving Gifts

The tradition of giving gifts actually has 2 origins. Some people place the origin of gift giving with the 3 wise men who visited Jesus when he was born and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. This would place the origin of this tradition with the first Christmas.

The second believed origin of gift giving lies with Pagan beliefs instead of Christian. Pagans would give their children wax dolls during Saturnalia. The dolls were representative of the human sacrifices that the Rome offered to Saturn as payment for a good harvest. Many people believe that this is the true origin of the tradition of gift giving.

Christmas Stockings

Hanging a stocking on the mantle and filling it with small gifts is something that a lot of people do. The origin of this tradition comes from Saint Nicholas who is the basis of Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas believed that childhood should be enjoyed and savored, but this was during a time when children as young as 10 had to work to support their families. To counter this, Saint Nicholas would give homemade food, furniture, and clothes to the children.

The problem Saint Nicholas faced was finding somewhere to leave these gifts for the children so that they could find them. According to the legend, he saw a girl’s stocking hanging over the fireplace to dry and he placed the gift in this. From this point, children would hang stockings in the hope that Saint Nicholas would visit them at night and bring them gifts wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper.

christmas stockings

The Christmas Tree

Christmas decorations are not complete unless you have a tree, but the modern tree we have differs greatly from its origins. The tradition of decorating a tree at Christmas has pre-Christian origins as they were used as part of the winter festivals to symbolize immortality and fortitude. Traditionally, these trees would be decorated with edible items such as nuts and apples.

The Christian origin of decorated trees did not serve the same purpose as they do today. There was a dual purpose to these trees and they were to ward off the devil and to allow a perch for any birds that remained for the winter. Evergreen trees which were decorated with apples in the Middle Ages were used as a representation of the tree from Genesis which held the forbidden fruit.

There are many Christmas traditions that people have and observe every year. Each of these traditions has a different origin which can help you understand the meaning of the tradition. Some of these origins lie in Christianity while others have links to Pagan rituals and festivals. There is no way to know the exact origin of any traditions, but knowing where they could have come from can help you adapt them to something that has meaning for you.

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