It’s X-mas time again, and that means there will be stars on trees, lights on homes and candy canes hanging off branches. Little ones will be writing their lists to Santa, and we’ll all be looking for gifts for our loved ones. Yes, the season of snow and joy is a melting pot of different symbols that have developed through the ages. But do you the know the origins of your favorite Christmas traditions?
Do you know where the symbol of Father Christmas originated? You might have a vague idea that the idea of Santa evolved from the stories of St Nicholas. St Nicholas was an incredibly rich bishop who lived in Greece. The story goes that a poor man had three daughters and didn’t have enough money for his first to be wed. Good Ol’ St Nick dropped a bag money down the chimney that happened to land in a stocking. The story developed over time, evolving into the image that we are familiar with today. Most regions across the world have their own idea of who Santa is. In the UK, he’s Father Christmas, in America it’s Kris Kringle, and in Holland, they look forward to the arrival of Sinterklaas.
A common misconception about dear old St Nick is that Coca-Cola created the image of a jolly old tubby man in a red suit. Not so, this image was created in 1826 by Thomas Nast and only embraced by Coca-Cola. They still love using him in their advertisements to this day.
Christmas TreesChristmas Trees were adopted as part of the celebration of pagan festivals. Evergreen fir trees were used to celebrate the coming of winter in homes. But no one is quite sure who first started using them as Christmas decorations like we do today. Thousands of years ago the trees were brought inside and hung upside down, chained to the ceiling! The Christmas tree first appeared in Britain sometime in the 1830’s, and it was the royal family that made them so popular.
ReindeerHave reindeer always been part of Christmas celebrations? Actually, deer appeared much later in 1823, originating in the famous poem the night before Christmas. Interestingly, at this point, there was only eight reindeer because Rudolph hadn’t yet been imagined. He arrived in 1939 and was based on the life of a copywriter who created the story around his own experiences of bullying.
Christmas LightsChristmas Lights arrived from Germany where candles were used to decorate the tree. Perhaps people noticed the possible fire hazard because in the late 20th century lights were embraced instead. Now, you can’t go a block at Christmas without seeing bright, flashing neon lights.
StarThe star, of course, is based on the story of baby Jesus. On the day of his birth, a star appeared in the sky that brought travelers from afar. Christian stories and carols have kept the star at the top of our tree and in our hearts for thousands of years.
BellsBells are rung at the Christmas Eve service to celebrate the beginning of Christmas Day! Bells were also used in the past during Victorian times when people went caroling. It was quite common for carolers to be holding little hand bells that they rang in time with the music.
Candy CaneCandy Cane is once again based around the origins of Jesus, but it was actually created in Indiana. It was designed in the shape of a J so that we would remember his name. The cane was originally white to symbolise the purity of the Son of God. Three red stripes were later added to make it more colourful and attractive.
Believe it or not, like many other symbols, Mistletoe wasn’t originally based around Christmas. It goes back to ancient times of the Druids when the plant was hung in houses to ward off ancient spirits. The origin of kissing under mistletoe comes from Norse mythology, combine the two and we get the tradition that we know today.
We give gifts at Christmas to remember the gifts the three wise men gave the baby Jesus. It also symbolises the gift that God gave us thousands of years ago with the birth of his son. Although, the actual organisation of gift giving at winter came from several Roman festivals such as Saturnalia. Gift giving as we know it today began in the early 1800s across the pond in America.
This year, we’ll give gifts to everyone from family and friends to loved ones and children. If you don’t know what to get someone, clothing is always a great choice. It’s simple, and people love getting cozy clothing in the season of winter and chills. You can choose from Wellcoda’s 8000 designs that are sure to suit lots of different people, no matter what their interests are. What says "I love you" more than a hoodie that will make one feel warm and cozy at this beautiful time of the year? Check some of our hoodies HERE! :)