Christmas NewsChristmas Traditions

Christmas Cards Remain a Durable Tradition

Many assume that with the rise of the Internet and the explosion of social media that older forms of communication have faded away. Indeed, letter writing, telegrams, and “dispatches” of the days of yore are now somewhat relic in nature and victims to technology. But one old fashioned form of festive communication has stubbornly survived and even grown in the digital age: Christmas cards. As traditions go, sending Christmas cards …
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The Art of the Ugly Christmas Sweater

Dressing in something unusual for Christmas is certainly nothing new. Anciently part of Christmas celebrations meant wearing something silly or out of character. That notion continues today with Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. There is nothing meaningful behind this tradition other than fun. It is universal – meaning anyone can do it – and the only rules are that there are no rules. In fact, the more insane your sweater the …
Christmas DecoratingChristmas FeaturesChristmas HistoryChristmas Traditions

The Real History of Christmas Ornaments

The humble Christmas ornament rarely gets much thought for its significance and purpose. For many the Christmas ornament is merely decorative, a simple environmental adornment of the season. Most can look at an ornament and see it as nothing really special. Like nearly all things Christmas the history of Christmas ornaments is glossed over by historians and peddlers of merchandise. At Hallmark, who makes millions from sales of specialty ornaments …
Christmas HistoryChristmas Traditions

History of Christmas in July

The modern image of Christmas is locked in as a season covered in snow, ice and frosty images of evergreens. Ironically, the actual setting for Christmas should take place in the dry desert heat. Christ, after all, was not born on December 25th. Historians usually place His birth in the Spring. The seasonality of St. Nicholas bears explaining as well. Historically Nicholas of Myra was a year-round figure, placed in …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas MemoriesChristmas StoriesChristmas Traditions

My Private Christmas

The presents are all unwrapped. Santa’s stockings are emptied. Signs of yet another great Christmas celebration are everywhere. And my husband and children are asleep. The lights on the tree still shine and this is my time for my private Christmas. It is private because most don’t understand it. I didn’t understand it at first. Like everyone else I grew up with the traditions of Christmas. The mistletoe, the concerts, …
Christmas HistoryChristmas LegendsChristmas Traditions

History of the Tradition of Elves

Lost in the romance, fantasy and some would say mystery and myth of Christmas is the concept of elves. Most folks today think of Santa’s helpers, often in the form of little people, who work at the North Pole busily making toys for good children everywhere. But elves in that vein are a relative recent invention, stemming from 19th century minds full of fantasy as the modern character of Santa …
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10 Ways to Make Your Christmas Card Unique This Year

We all tend to see the same Christmas cards year after year — a Christmas greeting in traditional red and green, perhaps with a festive family photo. But what if you tried something new and different this year? From cheap Christmas cards with funny wording to more elaborate cards that shimmer and shine, we’ve got some fresh ideas for putting a new spin on your annual Christmas cards. Let’s take …
Christmas NewsChristmas Traditions

The History and the Mystery of Santa’s Wink

Santa’s wink is missing. British fans of Christmas are taking to social media to vent over a change in Coca Cola’s traditional Christmas commercial that shows Santa handing a bottle of Coke to a little boy and then winking at him. That wink from Santa is meaningful. It has been around for a long, long time both as a gimmick in holiday advertising and as yet another means of imaging …
Christmas HistoryChristmas Traditions

History of Christmas Greetings

Lazy historians typically date the advent of Christmas cards to the 1840s, a time when postal services in modern western societies were well established and became more affordable. The truth is that the sending of holiday greetings is centuries old. Commercial Christmas cards got their start in the UK in the 1840s, suspiciously around the same time as the explosion in popularity of all things Christmas — from trees to …
Christmas Traditions

The Christmas Tradition of Ghost Stories

The “spooky season” of Halloween has more connection to Christmas than many people realize. It comes in the form of the Christmas ghost story. In the end, both holidays at their core are a celebration of life over death, of explorations into themes of light and dark. Even the Nativity Story, innocently told through the tale of the birth of a Baby, has elements of the supernatural. Gabriel’s visit to …
Christmas HistoryChristmas Traditions

History of the Christmas Countdown

The anticipation of Christmas is considered by many one of the great joys of the season. These days there are websites and social media groups dedicated to counting down days to Christmas and cable television channels have adopted a countdown to Christmas as a way to get all their new holiday content shown during the course of a season. Counting down to Christmas is a time-honored tradition. It is older …
Christmas HistoryChristmas Traditions

Christmas Trains

For more than a century trains were the center piece of mass transportation. This time in culture also saw the rise of the industrial revolution and, as well, the media-driven mass popularity of the secular Christmas. The real connection of trains to Christmas was born of the fact that going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house for the holidays was best accomplished by trains and it …
Christmas FeaturesChristmas Traditions

Five Weird American Christmas Traditions the World Misunderstands

There is plenty to Christmas around the world that people consider weird. Krampus, for example, is strange. The popularity of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Japan on Christmas Eve is another weird one. But when it comes to Christmas no place is known for weird better than America. While Christmas wasn’t born in the United States it sure has taken it over. And that dismays much of the world that still …
Christmas NewsChristmas OpinionChristmas Traditions

Tips to Prepare for Christmas Card Sending

It is our tradition to announce and open our annual Christmas card exchange during our Christmas-in-July festivities each year. In advance of that we thought it best to share with you some tips for preparing for the sending and receiving of approximately 100 cards from around the world as part of the exchange. Many of us have done this now for over a decade. In a time where the world …
Christmas NewsChristmas Traditions

Top Five New Christmas Traditions of the 21st Century

We had a big response to our recent post about dying Christmas traditions. But if Christmas has proven one thing over the centuries it has been a resilient ability to constantly evolve into ever creative new levels of celebration. For example, the Christmas tree wasn’t always a part of Christmas. While historians lay claim to the idea that pagans gave rise to the tradition long before Christianity, as this video …