Opinion

Top 5 Christmas Traditions to Try This Year

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Many Americans celebrate Christmas every year. Many families participate in traditions that have been passed down. Here are 5 popular Christmas traditions to consider this year. These are not ranked in order of worst to best. These traditions are geared towards Christianity. Most of these traditions will not be meaningful unless that is your religion.

5. German Pickle on the Tree

Courtesy of: learngermancoach.com

While it turns out to be a myth, it is still fun to do on Christmas morning. Legend says that on Christmas morning, German children had to find a glass pickle. Whoever found it first, got an extra present. Many Americans think that this is true, but it turns out that this tradition started in 1890 when glass Christmas ornaments were imported from Germany. To learn more about this tradition, click here.

4. Putting Up a Christmas Tree

Courtesy of: Costco.com

The tradition of putting up a Christmas tree can be traced all the way back to the time of the Romans. They decorated trees with pieces of metal to celebrate their winter festival. In the Middle Ages, an evergreen tree was decorated as a symbol of the feast of Adam and Eve on December 24. Millions of people today decorate trees with ornaments and put presents under them. Some people put a star or an angel on top of the tree which both have significance to Christmas. To learn more about this tradition, click here.

3. Tracking Santa Claus

Courtesy of: history.com

The tradition of tracking Santa Claus before Christmas had a funny start. In November of 1955, NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command received a call on a top-secret military hotline meant to take calls from the president and generals about impending nuclear attacks. Colonel Shoup in Colorado nervously answered the call, which turned out to be from a child asking if he was Santa Claus. The colonel being a father of four and a lover of Christmas played along. 

It turns out that a Sears in Colorado had printed the wrong number in an ad for a Santa hotline. Since that Christmas, NORAD has sent out reports on Christmas Eve to tell boys and girls where Santa is. These days, kids can track Santa on an app, website, or the Google Earth Santa Tracker. To learn more about how this fun tradition started, click here.

2. Christmas Cookies

Hungarian kolaches
Courtesy of: americanheritagecooking.com

Eating special cookies at Christmas is a strongly held tradition. The smell of freshly baked cookies fill homes all over the world and make it feel like Christmastime. This tradition started in Medieval times. Desserts could only be eaten at special times like Christmas due to expensive ingredients like molasses, lard, and butter. Cookies were an easy way to share some holiday cheer with friends and family back then and today due to the fact that they are personal sized. Gingerbread cookies were popular in the Middle Ages. They were baked with nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger, so they probably taste the same today. Queen Elizabeth I was the first person to eat a gingerbread cookie. To learn more about the history of Christmas cookies, click here.

1. Giving and Receiving Gifts

Courtesy of: usatoday.com

Before Christmas Day, people run around buying presents to give to their close family and friends. Kids on Christmas morning run downstairs to unwrap presents to see what toys Santa has brought them. So where did this all start? The Bible story of the birth of Jesus Christ features three Wise Men giving Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In many countries, children believe that they get their presents from a gift bringer, most commonly Santa Claus or St. Nicholas. Presents are opened on different days around Christmas Day. Some countries like the Netherlands open presents on St. Nicholas’ Day, December 6. Countries like the U.S., the U.K., and Japan open presents on Christmas Day, and Catholic countries like Spain and Mexico open their presents on January 6, the Epiphany. To learn more about this popular Christmas tradition, click here.

About Jenna Ehrler

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