The C-word is fast approaching and we thought we’d help you on your way to excitement central by exploring the ways our favourite time of year is celebrated across Europe as well as where some of our current traditions originated from. Christmas needn’t be a stressful time, as we explained within our tips to keeping your cool post, so relax, grab a drink and let us tell you a few festive facts you may not know.
Traditions are what make the festivities special whether they’re family specific, such as bacon sandwiches on Christmas morning (a must-do in our household) or more generic ones dependent on religious beliefs or geographic location they all contribute to making this time of year more memorable.
Originally from Germany as far back as the early 19th century, the advent calendar didn’t always have chocolate behind each little window. Families used to count down the first 24 days of December by drawing a chalk line on the door each day.
Gerhard Lang, credited with the invention of the advent calendar, as we know it, has his Mum to thank for the idea as she quite simply stuck 24 small pieces of candy onto a cardboard sheet as a treat for him each day. So Mum’s homemade creations could turn into something recognised across the world!
What’s great about Christmas trees is that they hold a huge amount of meaning to various groups of people. Hundreds of years ago people would decorate their homes with branches from the fir tree, which has more recently developed into the whole tree!
There are many legends, passed down through generations, about where the idea of having the beloved Christmas tree in our homes came from. One of these is that a German forester and his family were walking in the forest and the stars were shining through the trees branches, which was so beautiful, he cut it down and proudly showed it within their home.
Tinsel also originated in Germany alongside the legend of The Christmas Spider. In parts of Germany, Poland and Ukraine its thought to be good luck to find a spiders web on your Christmas tree.
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Wreaths are a beautiful addition to any wall or door around the world during the festive season, but do you know the meaning behind them?
The circular wreath represents life’s big concepts such as inclusion, unity and focus as well as symbolising the cycle of time and the seasons. Traditionally, wreaths are made using evergreens like holly, pine and pinecones, which are also used to represent renewal and everlasting life. They remind anyone that sees them that life is exciting, hopeful and never-ending, similar to the trusty evergreen fir Christmas tree.
These Christmassy decorations may look complicated to create but they’re actually quite easy to make yourself if you fancy a festive activity with the kids in the run up to the big day. If you do have a go we’d love to see photos, so do send them over!
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What are your Christmas traditions? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below or via our social pages.