Christmas is the time of celebrations, prayers, fun, family, wishes and gifts, but why do some people celebrate Christmas and some not and what are the most known traditions?
Why do we celebrate Christmas?
Christmas is the celebration of the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ. In Christian religion it is believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The name Christmas derives from the Mass of Christ. Mass is the service where Christians commemorate Jesus’s death and his resurrection.
Christmas Celebrations in Different Countries?
From Bethlem where Jesus Christ was born, to Australia where Christmas is celebrated in summer, to a twelve course meal in Russia, to India where mango or banana trees are decorated, Christmas is celebrated differently in every country.
Christmas, is a Christian festivity and is celebrated only where there are Christian communities although with different traditions. Other religions have their own traditions and celebrations, which are just nicely celebrated as well.
What Are The Christmas Traditions?
Many schools with Christian beliefs, put on a Nativity play before the Christmas break. The Children dress up in costume and represent the biblical persons. Baby Jesus is normally represented by a doll, and occasionally by a real baby. Parents and guardians are invited to watch the play. However, in recent years, the representation of the Nativity play has taken a modern twist.
Christmas Stories/ Books
What better way to spend the evening during the Christmas period, with your little ones, all cuddled up with some hot chocolate, by the flickering lights of the Christmas tree and reading good Christmas book. There are many to choose from but we have listed some of the most popular.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is one of the most popular books read during the Christmas period. A tale of an old man, Ebenezer Scrooge, who on Christmas Eve is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is the story of boy who boards a train and gets to see. This book is also a movie. “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see”, Chris Van Allsburg
It is the evergreen fir tree that is traditionally used as Christmas tree. No one is really sure when they were first used a Christmas trees. Artificial trees became popular in the 20th century. Different countries, decorated the Christmas tree differently. In Germany, the first Christmas trees were decorated with edible things, whilst other countries decorated it with paper flowers, apples and wafers. Before the introduction of twinkling lights, Christmas trees were decorated with candles. Christmas trees are set up at different times but normally sometime between the first day of Advent and Christmas Eve.
Christmas Lunch And Dinner
Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas Day Lunch or Dinner? Each country has it’s preference as to the main meal for the festive season. As the family gathers by the table a scrumptious meal is served. All is delicious prepared, from the Christmas goose in Germany, to the Panettone or the feast of Seven Fish in Italy, to the Turkey and Christmas pudding in the United Kingdom to the Food Board in Finland who go for a buffet style.
Christmas Time is the time to bake with kids and indulge in some delicious food. These are traditional Christmas pastries:
- Mince Pieces – these are very popular during the Christmas season. For the pastry you need 375gr plan flour, 260gr unsalted butter, 125gr caster sugar plus extra for sprinkling, 1 large egg plus 1 beaten egg for glazing. For the filling you can go for store bought mince meat.
- Christmas Cookies – the options are endless and your little ones can have fun cutting different shapes and decorating the cookies.
- Kinderpunsch – for those cold winter days what better than this kid friendly hot drink. Delicious!!!
- The Snowman’s Hot Bath – Hot Chocolate Drink – another hot drink for those cold days and your kids can take part in preparing this drink.
- Sugarplum Christmas candy – kids can help out shaping into balls these sugarplum christmas candy. No cooking is involved. All you need is 1/2 cup pitted dates, 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup prunes, 1/4 cup toasted skinned hazelnuts, 2tbs cherry preserves, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/2 cup sugar. To prepare just chop finely all the ingredients and mix together. Once well combined roll into approximately 1-inch balls.
“Christmas is stocking stuffed with sugary goodness”.
The tradition behind the Christmas stocking, which is a sock-shaped bag, is that it is hung and filled with small toys, candy, fruit, coins or other small gifts by St Nicholas or Father Christmas. It all started when the girls left their stockings drying over the fireplace. The family was poor, so St Nicholas left three bags of gold coins down the chimney.
Nowadays, we find a variety of stockings, but when hanging them should they face left or right? 95% of the stockings face right and you should only be concerned about this, if you want to add more stockings to your mantle in the future. The standard size is of 20-inches in length.
Stockings can be hung anywhere you like, not just the mantle as they can enhance your Christmas decor.
The Christmas Nutcracker is a decorative figurine which resembles a toy soldier. In Germany they are a big hit and almost every one has them and not only one of them. They are symbol of good luck, frightening away malevolent spirits. The Christmas Nutcrackers became more popular outside Europe after the Second World War.
Whilst walking through the wooden stalls of Christmas Markets, you will definitely be memerized by the beauty of handmade Christmas ornaments and the smell of mulled wine and other traditional food. European countries are famous for their Christmas markets in particular Germany, Austria, Hungary and France. If travelling to Germany with kids you definitely must visit the Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt in Bavaria for the ceremonial opening. If we tempted you to visit the Christmas Market check out http://www.kerstmarktdeals.com for some great offers. And For the best Family Friendly Christmas Markets in Europe check out our post.
Christmas carols form part of the Christmas celebration traditions. The majority of the Christmas Carols focus on the Birth of Jesus or the Twelve Days of Christmas that range from 25 December to 5 January. Nowadays, although some the lyrics of some Christmas Carols do not relate to the religious part, are still synonymous with Christmas such as Deck the Hall and Jingle Bells.
Sending out Christmas Cards is part of the Christmas traditions to exchange festive greetings. The first Christmas cards sent date back to 1611. Nowadays, you find an array of mass produced Christmas cards, but what better way to spend time with your little ones than to create your own. You can sew your own personal Christmas Card or if you have a newborn at home, you can make cute Christmas cards with your baby’s feet.
Christmas Advents Calendar
The Advent Calendar is a tradition that dates back to the mid-19th century. Advent calendars have small paper doors, all numbered until from the 1st to 24th December. Each day a door is opened to reveal an image and a small chocolate. You can either buy an Advent Calendar or else create a unique Advent Calendar for your children, then what better way than creating one yourself together with your little ones. Check out some ideas of how to create do-it-yourself advent calendar.
The Christmas Pyjama tradition is very recent and originates from the United States of America. All the family members, during the Christmas period, would wear the same patterned pyjamas or else wear them for Christmas morning whilst opening gifts. It a fun way even to take family pictures. If you would like this to become your family tradition, check our blog post about 12 Matching Family Christmas Pyjamas.
As soon as Christmas starts approaching, we start thinking about presents and gifts for our loved ones. But why do we give gifts? The reason goes back to the origins of Christmas. Giving out gifts at Christmas is reminiscent of the gifts the Three Wise Men gave to Baby Jesus: Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh.
Different countries have different traditions as to when to open their Christmas gifts. Some do it on Christmas Eve, whilst others do it on Christmas Day. Many countries such as the UK, America and Japan open their Christmas presents on Christmas Day morning wearing matching pyjamas including the presents Santa Clause got them.
It is customary that the gifts for children are delivered by Santa Clause depending if they are on his good list. During the advent period children prepare a letter to Santa Clause asking for gifts which will be delivered on Christmas Eve. If your children are lacking ideas of what gifts to ask from Santa, check our gift ideas blog post for girls and boys.
Activities During Christmas Month
In this fast paced world, it nice that during the festive season we get to spend more time with our family and loved ones. During this time of year, you can find a lot of activities to do with your little ones, whether outside or inside. For those cold days, you can cuddle by the Christmas tree and do some crafts, or bake some yummy cookies, or read a Christmas story or watch one of the many Christmas movies. If one the other hand, you want to go outside, then visiting a Christmas Market will definitely be a fun experience, or else visit the theatre for the many Christmas themed performances during the period.