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Christmas: Christmas Traditions

Most Common Traditions

  • Christmas trees – The first noted Christmas tree in the UK was brought over by the wife of King George III, Queen Charlotte. This was a tradition she brought from her native Germany, where it was custom to have a Yew tree in the home during Christmas.


  • Mistletoe – Before it was considered a symbol of romance, a kiss under the mistletoe, the plant was considered sacred as in ancient Britain it could only be cut by druids with a golden sickle. The plant had connotations of peace and people who met underneath it were forbidden from fighting, even if they were enemies. Home decorated with Mistletoe were considered safe spaces and would offer protection to anyone who entered. However, even to this day, due to the Pagan connotations, it is rare that you will see Mistletoe in a Christian church. The Victorians turned this peaceful symbol into one of romance.


  • Holly and Ivy– In pagan religion, the Holly plant represented eternal life and protection, something that the Christian church looked down on. However, the plant grew popular, as it was believed that the red of the berries would ward off witches. The church eventually sanctified it and turned the thorns to represent Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns and the berries for his blood. Holly is considered to be the male part of the plant while the Ivy is the female.


  • Christmas Cards – John Calcott Horsley sent the first printed Christmas card in 1843; it caused some controversy as it showed a small child drinking wine. Despite this, Christmas cards soon caught on and have been a tradition ever since.


  • The Monarch’s speech – The speech delivered every Christmas by the current reigning monarch has been something that millions tune in to watch every year. In 2020, over 24 million people watched the late Queen give her Christmas speech, which was originally started by her grandfather, King George V in 1932.

Traditions around the world

Finland 

In Finland, it is tradition for many Finns to visit the Sauna on Christmas Eve and for families to visit the gravesites of departed loved ones.  

Hyvää Joulua!


Mexico 

The Poinsettia plant originally came from Mexico, which is seen as a universal symbol of Christmas. Children in Mexico celebrate by making piñatas and hitting them until they break and send treats falling to the floor.

Feliz Navidad!


France 

In southern France, some of the people will burn a log in their homes from Christmas Eve until New Years Day. This comes from an ancient tradition when farmers would use part of the burnt log to ensure good luck in the next harvest.

Joyeux Noel!


Australia 

Christmas falls in the middle of the Australian Summer and it is quite common for Christmas Day to be 38 degrees Celsius. Due to the warm weather, many Australians spend Christmas on the beach and having outdoor barbecues.

Merry Christmas!


Greece 

Many people in Greece believe in Kallikantzeri, the holiday were goblins appear to cause mischief in the 12 days of Christmas. They usually exchange gifts on January 1st to celebrate St Basil’s Day.

Kala Christouyenna!


 Ukraine 

Traditionally, Ukraine would celebrate Christmas on January 6th, as depicted by the Julian Calendar. However, over the past few years many Ukrainians have opted to celebrate on December 25th, following the Gregorian calendar.

Shchaslyvoho Rizdva!

LRC's Traditions

Allyson

My favourite Christmas traditions is to watch Christmas movies all throughout December while bringing the Christmas chocolates out and having family board game nights. 

Annalee

My favourite Christmas traditions are when I get to spent time with loved ones who I may have not seen in a while while tucking into some chocolates and left-over turkey barms and the end of Christmas Day

Courtney

My favourite Christmas traditions are:

Every first weekend of Christmas, me and my family would decorate each room while listening to Christmas music.

Every Christmas Eve, me and my family would sit downstairs and me and my sister would open our Christmas Eve box and wear our new Christmas pyjamas while watching a Christmas movie.

Every Christmas morning, me and my sister would wake up early and watch a movie on low volume until 6am or 6:30am, then go downstairs and wake up our parents for then when we have opened our presents usually my auntie would come to my house, then my grandma and grandad then in the afternoon my nan and grandad would come to my house in the afternoon.

Daisy

My Christmas tradition is when I'm putting up my Christmas decorations, I always listen to Christmas music and sing my heart out. This really gets me into the festive spirit and makes me more excited for Christmas. 

Danny

My Christmas tradition is to relax at home with my family and dogs while watching Christmas movies like Die Hard or Scrooge while drinking a nice hot beverage and eating chocolate from the hidden stash that is supposed to be for Christmas day.

Dianne

My all time favourite traditions to do at Christmas time is when I get to spend time with my family and we get together with some good food and drinks followed by playing traditional games. 

Jade

In recent years, my family have used Christmas to pay respects to those we have lost in the year. We get a new decoration for the tree and make sure to toast them on the big day. On the lighter side, my son and I sit in bed watching a christmas movie with some breakfast before we head down to open presents. 

Jane

Over the Christmas holidays, my favourite traditions are when I get to spend time with the family celebrating the most special time of the year. When I get to put up the Christmas decoration, listen to Christmas music, get out the board games and of course watch my favourite Christmas movie of all time, Die Hard 

Joanne

During the Christmas time, my all time favourite traditions that I love to do are:

  • Eat lots of delicious Christmassy foods and goodies
  • Go on Winter walks 
  • Watch movies with the family 
  • Play board games 
  • Bake delicious Christmas treats 
  • Go on a walk on New Year's Day
  • Meet up with other family members

Lorraine

My favourite Christmas tradition is when I get to meet up and relax with my family while playing a good game of charades (you can't beat a good game of charades).

Luca

To me, Christmas is all about staying home with your family, staying warm and watching Christmas movies while eating a lot of food.

Paul

My all time favourite thing about Christmas is when it snows. I absolutely love the snow especially when I get to spend time with the grandkids or even go skiing.