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By Cara Beth Smith 

We see traditions all year long; Not just during the holidays, but also in our daily lives. However, the holidays are a time when traditions are arguably most significant. Many families and cultures hold traditions close to their hearts, especially during the holidays. Just like Christmas gifts, Christmas traditions come in all shapes and sizes. 

There are many Christmas traditions that are much more predominant than others. For example, traditions like decorating a Christmas tree, hanging stockings, and writing letters to Santa are important in many, many households and have been for years. On the other hand, there is a countless amount of traditions that are much more specific and personal. 

While there are some traditions that we know exactly where they came from and why we practice them, there are others that we probably just do because that is what we have always done… without really knowing why. 

Traditions and their origins: 

  • Red, gold, and green are colors that we see everywhere at Christmas time. We decorate our homes with it, wear it, and more – but why? According to homesandgardens.com, the tradition has religious roots. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ, gold symbolizes the gifts of the three Kings, and green symbolizes everlasting life. 
  • When you think of Christmas, the next thing you think of is more than likely a Christmas tree. Christmas trees are probably the most popular Christmas tradition for families today and for many previous years. It started with the pagan culture: hanging branches in their homes during winter to remind them of the Spring to come, according to homesandgardens.com. In many countries, it was believed that evergreen would keep away witches, evil spirits, and illnesses, among other bad things. According to history.com, “Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes.” 
  • During Christmas, stockings are famous for adorning fireplace mantles. There are several stories of the origin of this Christmas tradition. One legend shares that St. Nicholas set forth to help a family in need by anonymously dropping a gold coin down their chimney. The coin fell into a stocking that had been hung to dry. In the early 1800s, the first mention of Christmas stockings being hung near a chimney occurred in the popular poem “Visit from St. Nick,” which contains the famous line… “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there,” according to truwest.org

As Christmas quickly approaches, take time to appreciate the traditions that you practice with your loved ones. Traditions are important to our culture, and they carry on the love of families year after year. While carrying on old traditions is great, it is also important to start new traditions with your family and friends that can be carried on for years to come. 

Have a very Merry Christmas, and enjoy the blessings of both new and old traditions!