Christmas Eve has many of its own customs and traditions.
Christmas Eve might be one of the most traditional of all evenings.
- In many Countries this is the night the tree is bought in to the house.
- Christmas Eve has many of its own customs and traditions. The most widely practiced one that still exists today is going to a Midnight Mass Church Service. This is the most important things to do.
- The 24th use to call to mind Adam and Eve. In early church calendars of saints, 24th December was Adam and Eve’s day. The Paradise Tree represented the Garden of Eden.
- Decorations have special meanings. Tinsel was originally made from thin strips of beaten silver. All the versions of the story involve a poor family who can’t afford to decorate a Tree for Christmas (in some versions the tree grew from a pine cone in their house, in others the family have bought a tree into the house). When the children go to sleep on Christmas Eve a spider covers the tree in cobwebs. Then on Christmas morning the cobwebs are magically turned into silver and gold strands which decorate the tree. In Germany, the first Christmas Trees were decorated with edible things, such as gingerbread and gold covered apples.
- Holly The prickly leaves represent the crown of thorns that Jesus wore when he was crucified. The berries are the drops of blood that were shed by Jesus because of the thorns.
- Ivy has to cling to something to support itself as it grows. This reminds us that we need to cling to God for support in our lives.
- Christmas is also sometimes known as Xmas. Some people don’t think it’s correct to call Christmas ‘Xmas’ as that takes the ‘Christ’ (Jesus) out of Christmas. (As Christmas comes from Christ-Mass, the Church service that celebrated the birth of Jesus.In the Greek language and alphabet, the letter that looks like an X is the Greek letter chi / Χ (pronounced ‘kye’ – it rhymes with ‘eye’) which is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, Christos.
- Bells, especially Church Bells, have traditionally been associated with Christmas for a long time. In the Anglican and Catholic churches, the church day starts at sunset, so any service after that is the first service of the day. So a service on Christmas Eve after sunset is traditionally the first service of Christmas day! In churches that have a Bell or Bells, They are often rung to signal the start of this service.
- There are three meanings of ‘coming’ that Christians describe in Advent. The first, and most thought of, happened about 2000 years ago when Jesus came into the world as a baby to live as a man and die for us. The second can happen now as Jesus wants to come into our lives now. And the third will happen in the future when Jesus comes back to the world as King and Judge, not a baby.
- Gold is the color of the Sun and light – both very important in the dark winter. And both red and gold are the colors of fire that you need to keep you warm. Gold was also one of the presents brought to the baby Jesus by one of the wise men and traditionally it’s the color used to show the star that the wise men followed.
- Rudolph and Santa’s other reindeers might well be all girls!? Only female reindeer keep their antlers throughout winter. By Christmas time most males have discarded their antlers and are saving their energy ready to grow a new pair in the spring.
- Most children receive their presents on Christmas Eve night or early Christmas morning, but in some countries they get their presents on St. Nicholas’ Eve, December 5th.
- From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings.
- The 19th century that Americans began to embrace Christmas. Americans re-invented Christmas, and changed it from a raucous carnival holiday into a family-centered day of peace and nostalgia
- Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger.
- Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.
- The Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.