Where Did These Christmas Traditions Come From?

Where Did These Christmas Traditions Come From?

Every year when December rolls around people begin to participate in common holiday traditions. But why? These traditions are done every year, but many people don’t know why they participate. Every tradition has an origin, whether it is purposeful or just came to be.

Christmas Trees:

One of the most common Christmas traditions is the setting up and decorating of a Christmas tree, usually located in the living room of a home. The start of the Christmas tree began in Germany during the middle-ages. The idea of having a Christmas tree didn’t become popularized until the 19th century. Ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews view evergreen trees as a symbol of eternal life.

Advent Calendars:

Advent calendars are commonly sold in stores containing chocolates, small gifts, action figures, etc. In 1903 Germany began the tradition of advent calendars. It was a way for children to count down the days until Christmas by opening a “door” which revealed a bible verse.

The Nutcracker Ballet:

The Nutcracker has become an extremely popular ballet that has been recreated by many companies. It was first performed and choreographed by Marius Petipa outside of Russia in 1944.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters:

This tradition began in the 1980’s which seems fitting to the decade. Ugly Christmas sweaters became a party trend in Vancouver, Canada in 2001. Sweaters are now commonly worn and sold in many stores.

Santa’s Cookies and Milk:

Leaving out cookies for Santa is something kids do every Christmas Eve. Americans started this tradition during the Great Depression. It was meant to show gratitude during a time of struggle.

Hanging Stockings:

Stockings on the fireplace are not just a decoration. A possible explanation for this tradition is its equivalent to the old tradition of leaving out shoes on the day before feast day. It has been common to use stockings since 1883.

The Colors Red and Green:

Even though red and green haven’t officially been declared the colors of Christmas, it is common information people agree on. The green may have originated from the color of evergreen trees and red is either from holly berries or a religious implication of the blood of Christ.


Information gathered from


(How 25 Christmas Traditions Got Their Start, Lesley Kennedy, December 17, 2019)