Christmas – a time to be with loved ones and celebrating with your favourite traditions. Some of mine, and maybe even your, favourite traditions have a historical background that not many are aware of. From giving gifts to the food we eat, there is a reason why this tradition exists.
One of the most popular traditions is exchanging gifts with friends, family, colleagues, etc. This has become the backbone of Christmas for two major reasons. The first reasons is to remind us of the Wise Men who brought gift offerings to baby Jesus. The second reason is Santa Claus. When Santa became popular in Christmas tales, he was always giving children presents. Presents, you either love them or hate them, but for these reasons it’s a tradition to give and receive presents on Christmas!
Another popular tradition is eating turkey as the main course, but why did we end up picking turkey? Turkey became popular after Edward VII ate turkey as part of his main meal one Christmas. However, the tradition of turkey being the main course didn’t become popular until the refrigerator became a staple appliance in homes. Thanks to Edward VII and the refrigerator, we get to indulge on turkey every Christmas!
One of the last main traditions we have is sending Christmas cards to family and friends, which actually started almost 175 years ago! The first Christmas card was invented by Sir Henry Cole, who helped set up the post office, and illustrator John Horsley in 1843. As printing technology steadily advanced, the card prices dropped and became popular in 1860. By the 1900s, sending cards to loved ones was one of the main traditions in Europe. This year when you send out your Christmas cards, you’ll know why it’s become such a big tradition.
These three popular traditions have influenced everyone’s Christmas in some way, and may even be some of your favourite parts of the holiday. As the years progress, new traditions may begin, but the old ones will definitely be around to stay!