Christmas Traditions

Megan Drum, Contributor

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   My Christmas is the one holiday a year that pretty much everyone gets into. For some people it’s the time of giving; for others it might be the time for spending  with family. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is eating our annual Christmas dinner and playing games.

Christmas traditions vary all over the world, and for each family. In Norway their Christmas tradition is a little bit different than ours. Instead of spending time with family on Christmas Eve, they hide their brooms (Yes, you read that correctly; they hide brooms). This tradition dates back to centuries ago when people still believe that witches and evil spirits still came around on Christmas Eve looking for  a broom to ride on.

Instead of celebrating good ole St. Nick like we do in America, Austria celebrated St. Nick’s accomplice Krampus. For the first week men all over Austria dress up like the beast known as Krampus ( a beast known for capturing all the little bad girls and boys and taking them away in his sack).

In America we usually celebrate Christmas by giving gifts, spending time with family, and decorating a Christmas trees. My family spends the holiday eating dinner, playing games, and handing out gifts. Traditions have changed over many decades. Take the Christmas tree for instance; it used to be that the Christmas tree would be real and not a fake pre-lit tree. Another old tradition that isn’t really around anymore is the hanging of mistletoe. The tradition originated from England. The custom was where that the berry was picked from the spring of mistletoe before the person was allowed to kiss, and when all the berries were gone there would be no more kissing!

There are still a few families who still carry out some of the old traditions. My family one year decided that we would bring back the tradition of stringing popcorn. We may have forgotten some of our old traditions, but we have gained new ones too. One of our new traditions is that we will hide one of each other’s gifts so they have find it. Another new one that is my favorite is where all the family goes to see the lights at the park.

The origins of the Christmas tree traces back to the Pennsylvania German settlers. They were the first people shown to display one in the 1830’s on record. “ Christmas isn’t the same once your own kids become older, and stop believing in Santa Claus,” explained my mom. The most famous origin of all is the one of good ole St. Nick. This story originates from Asia Minor (now known as modern Turkey). The story goes that there was bishop that went by the name St. Nicholas, and that when his parents died they left him a lot of money. He was described as a very kind man, who instead of spending the money himself, used that money to bring secret gifts to the poor.

Through the years as I’ve gotten older Christmas has changed. It was lot more meaningful, and more fun. My favorite Christmas memory from when I was little is when my grandma gave me and my brother the bell from Polar Express. Drew York’s family traditions are a bit different than mine. Her Christmas starts off with her visiting the reindeer farm in Martinsville. “My favorite tradition is when we all dress up in Christmas pjs on Christmas Eve, while we set the cookies out and drinking hot cocoa before going to bed.”

Though everyone has different traditions Christmas is still a time where everyone does something with the family and loved ones. As the famous line from the Grinch goes, “maybe a Christmas doesn’t come from a store… maybe Christmas…. perhaps .. means a little more”.