The Evolution of Christmas Traditions

by Dan Adler

Here is a list of Christmas traditions that have been compiled with the help of history.com to support the historical facts that follow.

December 25

Christmas wasn’t always celebrated on December 25. In fact for most of the past 2,000 years it wasn’t celebrated at all. I the early days of christianity people couldn’t decide when christmas should be held. In 300 A.D. it became widely accepted that Christmas would be celebrated on December 25 because that was the time of many pagan festivals at that time.

Christmas

By the eighth century Christmas had spread around Europe and was being celebrated by millions. Many people celebrated the holidays back then a lot like Mardi Gras is celebrated today. There were many parades, parties, and feasts. The puritans on the other hand opposed wild Christmas celebrations and in turn, in 1644 the Massachusetts legislature fined anyone 5 shillings if they were caught observing Christmas. Christmas wasn’t widely celebrated until the 1800s.

Christmas trees

Prince albert of Germany brought the tradition of decorating trees to England when he married Queen Victoria. The custom of tree decorating caught on in America in 1848 when a picture of the british royal family and their 40ft Christmas Tree was published in American magazines.  

Gifts

Gift giving is a very old Christmas tradition that goes back many centuries. It was originally done because it had religious significance by reminding people of the three wise men and their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. However with the industrial revolution and the rise in advertising in int nineteenth and twentieth century,made gifts the center of christmas today.

Santa

Santa is based off of a real person named Saint Nicholas of Myra. Also known as Sinterklaas, Saint Nicholas was a Dutch Saint who helped those in need. He was famous for giving gifts to children in his town out of the kindness of his own heart. Early pictures of Santa showed him wearing many different colors. However it wasn’t until the 1920s, when Coca Cola came out with an ad that depicted Santa in a red and white coat, that the modern day image of Santa stuck.

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