Have you ever wondered why we have certain Christmas traditions? Several of them date all the way back to the 17th century! Let’s rediscoery some of the Yuletide customs that have endured to the present day.
1. Candy Canes
Candy canes are some of those delectable confections that scream Christmas cheer. However, these sweets have existed for hundreds of years. According to some estimations, the candy cane originated in the 17th century and arrived in the United States in about 1847. They were introduced to the United States by a German-Swedish immigrant living in Ohio and gradually developed into the treat we know today. Things only got better when the first candy-cane producing machine was invented in the 1950s, making them more available to the general public.
Another long-standing Christmas tradition is Eggnog. This spicy egg and milk combination seems to have originated in medieval Britain, with monks in the 13th century imbibing a similar concoction. However, they substituted eggs and figs for milk in their beverages. By the 1700s, Eggnog had gained popularity in the American Colonies due to the increased availability of eggs, milk, and, most importantly, rum. Even George Washington had his own eggnog recipe, albeit he neglected to include the number of egg yolks he used.
Nowadays, eggnog is available in supermarkets. It does have a somewhat different flavor than a handmade batch, owing to the fact that it often contains more milk than egg yolk. Enjoy the holidays with a hot cup of alcoholic rum and good cheer!
3. Santa Claus at Shopping Malls
During the Christmas season, mall Santas are a regular sight, seated within an elaborate display of trees and presents. This tradition began in 1890, when James Edgar became the world’s first “Mall Santa.” He first intended it as a way to amuse children outside his business, but it grew in popularity as more children visited Santa Claus. Even visitors from distant cities paid him a visit just for a chat with the large joyful man.
Additionally, the toy retailer Macy’s has a different assertion. They claim to be the inventors of the first Mall Santa, hosting Saint Nick since 1862. Whichever origin story you believe, Mall Santas will always grab the imaginations and hearts of children everywhere.
4. Christmas Trees
Finally, we’ll examine one of the most famous and long-standing holiday traditions: the Christmas Tree.
The practice of adorning a tree with lights and ornaments is reported to have re-established itself in Germany. Christians created the first of these ornamented trees in the sixteenth century. Martin Luther, the man credited with initiating the Protestant Reformation, is also credited as being the first to light a Christmas tree.
However, it is believed that these trees were imported to the United States by German immigrants in the 1830s. The practice of displaying these trees was mostly restricted to German neighborhoods and communities. This all changed when Queen Victoria and the rest of her royal family were seen with a Christmas tree. It sparked a revival of interest in the tradition, and the rest is history.
Additionally, various regions of the globe have distinct traditions for decorating their Christmas trees. Each of them is extremely fascinating, so keep an eye out for them if you ever decide to spend the holidays abroad.