Giving and receiving gifts is just one of the special traditions celebrated at Christmastime. Christmas traditions date back many years and are celebrated by many people across the globe. Some long lasting traditions are:
The custom of burning the Yule log began long ago in Scandinavia where a log was kept burning all of Christmas Eve into Christmas Day. It was believed the cinders of the log symbolized protection against lightening and the evil powers of the devil. Today Christians still burn Yule logs as a symbol of warmth and life.
The origin of mistletoe dates back to pagan times when the Druid priests used it during winter celebrations because it had no roots yet remained green through the winter months. The ancient Celtics thought it had magical properties and used it for healing. It is believed the ancient Romans used it as a symbol of peace. Scandinavians associated mistletoe with the goddess of love and the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe may have begun with them.
The history of Santa Claus goes back centuries and is a combination of different legends and folklore. The Santa we know today gets his origin from a Bishop in Europe named Nicholas, who loved children and used his wealth to provide toys for poor children. The portrayal of a portly Santa was introduced in the 1860s and remains the image most associated with Santa Claus today.
Cookies for Santa
Kids all over the world leave a plate of cookies and milk on Christmas Eve for Santa to enjoy. This tradition is thought to have started around the 1930s as a way for children to thank Santa for bringing Christmas gifts.
Magical Reindeer Food
One tradition that is not as widely celebrated is leaving a snack for Santa’s magical reindeer. You can make a simple treat to go along with the Christmas cookies that kids will enjoy taking part in.
The ingredients are simply 1/3 cup dry oatmeal, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon of red decorating sugar and 1 teaspoon of green decorating sugar. Place the ingredients in a plastic bag until Christmas Eve.
After the kids prepare Santa’s plate of cookies they can step outside and sprinkle the reindeer food on the front lawn. It’s said this sparkling treat (from the sugars)can be seen from the sky and guides Santa’s reindeer to your home.
This year, as you are celebrating all your family’s Christmas traditions, don’t forget the reindeer!