As you settle down with your loved ones to enjoy the Christmas celebrations this year, I wonder if you’ve ever thought about why we celebrate Christmas the way we do?
It’s easy to get caught up in the here and now, the hustle and bustle of present wrapping and food shopping, without ever thinking about the rituals and traditions that make up many family Christmases.
I know people around the world celebrate Christmas in many ways, but I’d like to share a few traditions that make up part of my family’s traditions here in the UK.
Why do we celebrate on the 25th December?
The short answer is, no one really knows.
It is likely connected to the Winter solstice and the Roman pagan mid-winter festival of Saturnalia as both took place around this time. They were a focal point in the darkest months and offered hope for the lighter months to come.
Surprisingly, it was 200 years after Christ’s death before his birthday was actually celebrated. Then it wasn’t until 440 AD that 25th December became the official date.
Why do we pull Christmas crackers?
From the utterly naff to the extremely decadent and everything in between, crackers are such an intrinsic part of Christmas. The awful jokes and the paper hats all add to the fun, and yes I do wear my hat all afternoon!
We have been pulling Christmas crackers in their current format since 1847.
It all began in 19th Century London. Sweet shop owner Tom Smith copied the French idea of selling sugared almonds in a twist of paper.
Before long he began wrapping small toys and novelties and added the snap after sparks and pops from his fire inspired him.
Why do we send cards?
It all started as a marketing ploy to get ordinary people to use the newly formed Public Post Office.
In 1843, Sir Henry Cole and his friend John Callcott Horsley, got together and designed the first Christmas card.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Lots of people send emails at Christmas instead of paper cards, but I don’t think real cards will ever really go out of fashion. Responsibly sourced paper from certified manufacturers ensures we don’t need to harm the environment either.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the history behind some of our favourite Christmas traditions and celebrations.
Merry Christmas to all
I look forward to sharing lots more creative adventures in 2018 and I would love you to join me.
Before I go, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year!
Until next time…