Traditions, Traditions, Traditions!

Christmas is upon us and that means traditions.  What are your holiday traditions?  When did they first start, did you create new ones when you left your childhood home or did you carry on those of your parents and grandparents?  Well I did a little research about the origin of some of our Christmas traditions and I have to admit, I learned a few things….

Do you send Christmas cards as a part of your tradition?  We still do.  As a matter of fact, we send both personal Christmas cards and cards to our clients on behalf of our Travel Agency.  Did you know that the first Christmas card was sent in 1843?  Many people today have given up this tradition but we still love to both send and receive a card at Christmas.  We write a somewhat witty Christmas letter (haha, at least we think its witty) to send to our friends and family each year.  I am the author and Paul is the decorator, putting photos on the letter from our years activities.  I don’t think it is a tradition our children will carry on.

Mainz Germany Christmas Market Cruise-044

What about the Christmas wreath?  When I was growing up we harvested the pine branches to make our own wreath which my parents always hung on the front door.  It was typically decorated with a bow, some pine cones and perhaps some red berries.  But where did that tradition come from?  Well since you asked…. Since the Roman times the wreath has been a symbol of power and strength.  Kings and Emperors wore them as crowns.  To Christians the wreath symbolizes tenacity and everlasting life.  Now I can’t honestly say I’ve ever thought of the wreath in that regard, nope just always thought it was pretty.  How simple we are 😊.  Today we buy our wreath from the local boy scout troop, and we hang it on the front of the house, just like my parents did.

Cologne Germany Christmas Market Cruise-010

Mistletoe, hmmm, now that is an odd one.  I mean think about it.  The mistletoe is basically a parasitic plant that attaches to a tree and sucks nutrients from the trunk.  What is romantic about that? Yet mistletoe as a tradition has been traced back to ancient Greece (not as in kissing under it) where it was said to have been carried as a golden bough by Aeneas, the ancestor of the Romans.  In other pre-Christian cultures mistletoe was believed to carry the male essence and by extension, romance, fertility and vitality.  It was hung in homes because it was believed to protect from fire and lightning (again not for kissing under).  So, where the heck did the kissing under it come from?  Well truth be known, no one knows.  The first kiss under the mistletoe was recorded in the 16th century in England.  I’m thinking some young squire had a little too much grog and grabbed the first pretty girl he could find and gave her a kiss and it just so happened to be under the mistletoe!  So do you hang one?  And really how many kisses do you get?  I don’t know about your house but we don’t hang one, unless you count our mistletoad (green frog dressed in English finery holding a sprig) because after all, its cold and flu season and no sense sharing with just anyone who walks in the door!

And with that, we’ll leave you to your Christmas traditions, where ever they came from.  Enjoy your Christmas holiday and best wishes for the New Year!

Cologne Germany Christmas Market Cruise-142

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