Christmas History

Originally posted December 12, 2013

A community of family historians has risen and grown over the last several years. I have been drawn into it through several sources which you already know if you have read past blogs. Warning to anyone just getting started in that process – the search flows over to every aspect of life. Christmas is one example.

This is a subject where bits and pieces have come to me several times and in various ways for years. I have never taken the time to actually research it. Guess I knew why I celebrated and uninterested to the past stories.

This year, it became a nagging thought invading my mind often. What does someone involved in searching for the facts of family history do when this happens? Well, that person can’t stop until it is done.

During the process, I found some interesting never-known details along with refreshing the already known ones. Starting with a google search, I found many sites related to this subject. A couple of them are:

There are many, many more. The second one listed has information on different cultures. For example, coal was originally given to poor children not bad ones. It was to help them be warm. What did naughty children get? They received switches or rods. We all know what they were meant for, right?

This information also shows the melting pot that is the USA. Many families hold true to the traditions of the country their origin left behind while bringing those ideas with them. Families incorporated the traditions found from other countries.

I am like everyone else. I hold onto the traditions I grew up with incorporating some from my husband’s past Christmases. We now have also added some from our in-law children. Occasionally, we lose one as it no longer fits.

Sometimes we continue something because it brings memories. Our children were joking around for a while that we still put nuts and fruit (apples and oranges) in the stockings even tho they didn’t care for the nuts. The suggestion of dropping that tradition was met with cries of “but we have always gotten them.” We explained that in our families fruit and nuts were a real treat because they were not readily available as they are now.

Another example is that we let our children open one present on Christmas Eve. As they married, this was not what their mates had done, so they changed it. Our daughters and families open one gift, but it always pajamas so they are all dressed in them for present unwrapping pictures.

Our children did not receive as many gifts as many do today. Early on, they just all ripped them open at once leaving us wondering what their reactions were at that first moment. We changed that to pass out all the gifts but everyone, then we took turns opening one gift around. Some of them like to continue that while others want to change it. Gift opening does last a long time but it is still nice to share in the joy each gift brings.

I have enjoyed this journey of learning about the history and traditions of Christmas. Sharing a few of our traditions has been a beautiful journey for me. If you would like to read about our tree tradition, I shared that another day.

Whatever your traditions, I wish you a day filled with happiness and blessings. Please share some below. We might want to include one of yours.


Author: Pamela K. Young

I have not only lived many chapters in one life, but many lives in one body. The person I am today is far wiser than the me of young adulthood. My life is like your life with its ebb and flow. We are all connected in some way. I am a wife, mother, and grandmother, but what makes me, well, me is the way I wife, mother, and grandmother. I am a liver transplant survivor. Whatever devastation you have survived, we survived in our individual ways. I create with words and photos. I am a writer and photographer.

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