Category Archives for Christmas History

The History of Christmas Bells

In the fast-paced modern world, it is often easy to forget the importance of bells in the not-so-ancient past.  We have clocks to tell us the time.  We have telephones to communicate with each other instantly (maybe telephones are too ancient now too.  Cell phones it is.)  We have roads we stick to, with cars […]

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The History of Mistletoe

While I had heard of kissing under the mistletoe, I hadn’t really ever seen any until I moved with my family to South Carolina.  There it grows in abundance in the trees, and I learned how it is a parasite that leaches life out of some trees enough to kill them.  My brothers would go […]

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The History of St. Nicholas

Ah yes, Jolly old St. Nicholas, undoubtedly the best-known historical figure who inspired the modern-day Santa Claus, although there have been many others.  December 6th is the Catholic feast day for St. Nicholas.  There is a feast day for a saint every day of the year, and families would celebrate the feast days honoring the […]

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The History of Krampus

Krampus, the terrifying Christmas Demon.  December 5th is his night.  Forget about coal for naughty children, this entity will kidnap naughty children, stuff them into his basket he carries on his back, and either eat them or take them to his lair to become slaves.  Christian or Pagan?  Well, love it or hate it, this […]

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The History of Wassail

Wassail is my favorite holiday treat, and, as a musician, one of my favorite holiday traditions because of the beautiful music passed down to us from Christmases past.  The etymology of wassail comes from the Anglo-Saxon “waes hael”, meaning “good health”.  It was a friendly toast.  There are two different winter social activities associated with […]

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The History of Christmas Trees

Ah, Christmas Trees.  There has been so much debate over the origins of the Christmas tree, along with many misconceptions.  Pagans rejoice and Christianity has a history of banning them because they think they are Pagan in origin, especially in early Puritan America.  While I cannot say that my own research is definitive, (spoiler alert!), […]

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The History of Tomte

Recently one of my Pagan communities had a serious discussion about Elf on the Shelf. While some of the parents saw make-believe Christmas elves as something entirely different from the history, others were deeply troubled by the idea of inviting ANY elves into the home, imaginary or not, because of what it represents.See, real elves, […]

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The History of Gingerbread

Gingerbread!  Ginger was an exotic spice that was part of the famous spice trade.  It was fairly expensive, and as such, originally only the wealthy could afford it.  In Europe there were monasteries which specialized in bee production.  They needed mass amounts of bees wax to make candles for worship, and the honey was a […]

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Christmas History Advent Calendar 2020

I’m really excited to begin this advent calendar!  I had the idea towards the end of October to learn about and share the history behind Christmas traditions, symbols, decorations, and more.  I came up with a list long enough to do this again next year!   Some of the things I’ll be sharing are purely secular. […]

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