5 Christmas Traditions & Their Origins

Many of us cherish Christmas and New Year as a season of giving, when we exchange gifts with our loved ones. If you’ve ever been curious about the origins of some of these cherished Christmas traditions, you’re in the right place. In this discussion, we’ll explore the beginnings of several well known Christmas traditions.

  1. Advent Christmas calendars – This tradition is believed to have originated in Germany in 1903 when publisher Gerhard Lang created a calendar with small windows that children could open during the days leading up to Christmas. These calendars began with messages and drawings behind the small doors, yet they somehow evolved into gifts and these advent calendars are more popular today than they were 50 years ago. When you visit German homes during the festive season, you will find advent calendars alongside Christmas baubles, which will be hanging on the Christmas tree.
  2. Gingerbread houses and gingerbread men – There is some disagreement over where this trend began, some say that it was Queen Elizabeth I who thought of gingerbread cookies, while others claim that gingerbread houses were made by German bakers a couple of centuries ago. The German Grimm brothers launched Hansel & Gretel and the rest is history.
  3. Christmas tree – A Christmas tree is typically an evergreen species, such as a fir, pine or spruce and the tradition of having a tree for Christmas is said to have originated in Germany. The trees were originally decorated with coloured paper and small candles were added, although this presented a high risk of fire. It didn’t take long for this tradition to sweep across Europe, into Scandinavia and in the early 19th century, Christmas trees were commonly put up in Australia US and Canada. You can see hanging Christmas baubles on modern Christmas trees, along with lights, chocolate and candy canes. In recent years, artificial Christmas trees have gained popularity, mainly due to the convenience factor, as well as reducing the number of trees harvested for Christmas.

  1. Department store Santas – We’ve all been to visit Santa at a nearby department store and this trend began in 1890, when James Edgar had a Santa suit made for him and he handed out candy at his store. This soon expanded and many stores in around the world and the US would hire a Santa for the weeks leading up to Christmas, mainly as a marketing move.
  2. The giving and receiving of Christmas cards – This first surfaced in Great Britain, when a Post Office employee had the idea to send his friends a card with the message, ‘A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you’, which quickly took off and within a few years, Australians to Americans were sending Christmas cards to their friends and family members. According to some research, more than 20 billion Christmas cards are sent annually.

As we move into November, it is time to start planning for Christmas 2023 and with an Australian online supplier of Christmas decorations like Christmas Elves, you can make your home more festive to celebrate Christmas.