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Christmas Traditions

With the celebration of the birth of Christ only a few weeks away, I thought it might make a good topic to share traditions and customs.

I will start. In Ukraine, and I presume other Orthodox cultures, you dont share Christmas greetings (words or cards) until after Christmas Mass. Oh, and Orthodox Christmas is January 7th (edit; in Ukraine), So if you are in the region you have an opportunity to share Christmas twice (Dec 25th and Jan 7th).

Posted by
3226 posts

Oh, and Orthodox Christmas is January 7th.

It depends. Some orthodox churches celebrate Christmas in December, some do it in January.

Posted by
932 posts

I must say I do enjoy a good wassail. Though I’ve never been able to participate, the south west England version of wassailing in the orchards really appeals, because nothing says ‘Christmas’ like alcohol and unrestrained gunfire!

And Nick……it’s behind you!

Posted by
2614 posts

With the celebration of the birth of Christ only a few weeks away, I thought it might make a good topic to share traditions and customs.

Ah yes... Christmas, originally known as Saturnalia, the Ancient Roman holiday which later morphed into Christmas, with December 25th being the birthday of Sol Invictus, sound familiar? lol! The pagan Roman Empire lives on in many Christian traditions we hold near and dear, most especially Christmas. Praise Saturn!

The custom of gift-giving at Christmas time harkens back to the Roman tradition of giving "sigillaria" gifts. The lighting of Advent candles stems fromthe Roman tradition of lighting torches and wax tapers during this time. Likewise, Saturnalia and Christmas both share associations with eating, drinking, singing, and general merriment!

Posted by
249 posts

Celebrating St. Nicholas feast day (Dec 6th) by putting your shoe on the front porch. If you've been good, it will be filled with fruits and nuts (now translated into candy), and hopefully no coal. Also as Swiss/German-Americans, we always had a pickle ornament on the tree which I was told was a German tradition. Have since talked with many native-born Germans who disclaim the pickle ornament. Not sure what to believe. =)

My own tradition is collecting ornaments when I travel. Then every year when I put up the tree, I get to reminisce about all the wonderful travels my family and I have had.

Posted by
1614 posts

I don’t know if you’re asking for country customs or personal. We don’t follow any particular customs. When we moved to AZ over 35 years ago we decided to make our own traditions. No family here to keep happy, just us. We make homemade pizza for Christmas Day. Covid is preventing our friends get-together, but this year we’ll make pizza for a few friends. Because they live 1 1/2 and 2 hours away, they’ll spend the night so no one is drinking and driving.

By anyone’s thinking, my house is over decorated. 8 trees of varying sizes, each with a decorating theme. Lots of Santas everywhere. Hey! You don’t have to dust if everything is covered with decorations!

Posted by
932 posts

Kaye -

We do the collecting stuff from our travels to put on the tree! Moose from Alaska, ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ bauble, Santa in a gondola from Venice, bauble from Elsinore, Copenhagen, sloth from Costa Rica…etc., etc!

Posted by
3194 posts

I do have a travel tree but daughter insists that we also have one for non-travel family decorations.

Posted by
5061 posts

OK, James E., you can't leave us hanging....

Posted by
13569 posts

I was going to spend my first Christmas in Europe. I brought my Christmas tree, lights (that didnt work out so well) and ornaments. Amazing what you can fit in checked luggage.

Posted by
8127 posts

Yep, Germans do not put a pickle on their tree. This is some weird myth told to Americans, that just won't die. Sort of like Snowballs are a German pastry treat. An item that is never found in any German bakery or Konditorie. Dry and disgusting, no German would waste their money on this, yet they are sold at Christmas markets to tourists for some bizarre reason.

In Frankfurt, they have the "Pealing of the Bells" on the 24th at 17:00. This is 50 bells, ringing for 30 min. from churches all over the inner city. 1000s of people come downtown to hear these. This happens 3 other times a year, but Christmas Eve is the most popular. Even the trams have to stop running as the streets are packed with people listening to the bells.

Posted by
1226 posts

James, were you just pining to take a tree to Europe, and did you go to see my good friend Douglas fir your purchase? Did the tree indeed spruce up your apartment, as you hoped, and did you get to cedar other Christmas trees in your building?

I have a bit of corn left over. I'll go feed my neighbour's chickens.