The holidays are a wonderful time to spend time with your loved ones. One thing that makes it so special is getting to keep family traditions alive. Families across the world celebrate Christmas just a little differently, whether it is a recipe passed down through the years, a specific way of opening presents, where the family eats dinner, or the main course selected for the family, people put their unique twist on this beloved holiday. Our unique family traditions are also accompanied by the traditions of Christmas that we have all adopted together such as mistletoe, Christmas lights, Christmas trees, advent calendars, and sending Christmas cards.
For the perfect Christmas kiss, you need tic-tac-mistletoe Mistletoe is a way we show love and affection to the people we care for. Thousands of years ago, the Greeks used mistletoe as a healing plant, but the Celtic Druids had other ideas for the plant. It became a sacred romantic symbol to them for restoring fertility because it could blossom during the frozen winter (Andrews, 2020). By the 18th century, it made its way into holiday celebrations when men were permitted to sneak a kiss from any woman caught standing under the mistletoe, and declining was viewed as bad luck. Many of us use the tradition to be sweet and keep love alive during the holiday.
Can I get a watt, watt? Nothing screams holiday cheer like a house with twinkling lights and inflatable decorations in the yard! The challenge of hanging the lights up and having the ends finish in a good spot is always an ‘entertaining’ time. And how do the lights that you painstakingly loop together so neatly the year before get so messed up just sitting in a box?! The tradition of Christmas lights is believed to have begun in Germany. They use to put candles in their trees until tragedy struck a few times. It is also said that we hang Christmas lights outside our homes to shine bright at night in order to bring back the light during dark times, bringing back the light of the sun (Marr, 2021). Bringing back the light of day with festive and beautiful lights strewn across our homes just brings the Christmas cheer full circle, don’t you think?
Your decorations look treemendous Decorating a Christmas tree with your family is one of the greatest trips down memory lane that you can take together. Families have very personalized trees with decorations the kids make in school every year and even some decorations of their own from when they were little. When your kids start to grow into adults and head to college, pulling out a little gingerbread man or Christmas tree that they made in 2nd grade is heartwarming and brings a smile, or laugh, to everyone’s faces. Christmas trees are decorated all over the world with different traditions passed down through the centuries. China traditionally decorates their trees with paper lanterns, fresh flowers, and homemade garlands. People in Australia tend to decorate their trees in a summer theme with seashells and natural elements because it falls during that season for them. Christmas also falls during summer time in India and they use mango and banana trees to decorate for Christmas (Schumacher). Ukraine uses spiders to decorate their trees because spiders symbolize a token of good luck and they believe the decorations will bring them good fortune (Watson, 2015). Then there is the infamous pickle in the tree known to be practiced by the people of Germany.
According to my chocolate advent calendar, there are only three days until Christmas:
The Advent calendar is known as the ultimate Christmas countdown for kids and even some adults. Parents make or buy calendars numbered 1 through 24 for the days leading up to Christmas and every day the kids get to open a day on the calendar! The calendar days are filled with goodies like candy, chocolate, little notes, and toys (Lascala, 2020). For adults the calendars can be filled with little trinkets, jewelry, notes, and other small things they need/want. These countdown calendars spread the holiday cheer in little pieces all the way up until the big day of family time and presents.
Holiday cards sleigh me:
Photo holiday cards are one way of keeping track of your family’s growth throughout the years! Every year parents nag their kids to get dressed up and take photos to send out to family and friends across the country and even the world. A holiday greeting is a wonderful way to re-connect with others to let them know that they are in your thoughts. It is also a great way to show the changes that have gone on in the family… a new baby, a new pet, or even the loss of a loved one. Holiday cards can showcase your personality or your year in review as they range from the sentimental to the silly. Receiving mail, that is not a bill, is sure to make someone smile..
To thine own elf be true. This newer tradition was started in 2004. An elf scout is sent to your home from the North Pole to encourage kids to behave themselves. The elf is said to get into mischief during the night and every morning when the children wake up the little elf is in a different location in the house (Lascala, 2020). The children believe that Santa has a little helper to watch them for the month and he comes alive at night while everyone in the house is sleeping. Some parents get insanely creative with their Elf on a Shelf….all you have to do is look on Pinterest for amazing ideas for this mischievous little elf scout!
With the holiday spirit around the corner, grab your family and make some fun memories once again! Try out some of these traditions if you haven’t already to keep the cheer alive. If you don’t have little ones in the house anymore, then grab your partner and have some fun making advent calendars, your own mistletoe bundles, or getting a fun new set of lights for the house! Happy Holidays!
Andrews, E. (2020, December 22). Why do we kiss under the mistletoe? History on A&E.
Lascala, M. (2020, December 8). 30 best Christmas traditions to get your family feeling festive. Good Housekeeping.
Marr, Kathryn. Why Christmas lights are everywhere (and how they got there).
Christmas HQ. https://christmashq.com/decorations/lights/
Schumacher Cargo Logistics. Christmas around the world – Different Christmas decorations from other countries. https://www.schumachercargo.com/christmas-decorations-around-the-world/
Watson, G. (2015, December 3). How people from other countries decorate their Christmas trees. Gourmet Gift Baskets: Food for Thought.