Popular Christmas Traditions and Their Origins

Have you ever wondered why we put up Christmas trees, send out annual letters, and open advent calendars every year? You’ve come to the right place! In today’s post, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the most popular Christmas traditions and their origins.

No matter which traditions you honor each year, The Christmas Light Emporium is here for all of your decorating needs. Head over to our online store to pick up the Christmas lights and decorations you need to create a winter wonderland in your front yard and inside your home!


Christmas Trees 

While scholars still debate the earliest appearance of Christmas trees, there is almost unanimous agreement that the tradition began in Germany in the 1500s. German Christians would decorate trees (and sometimes piles of wood) in their homes, and they would even use candles as decorations. Of course, decorations have become more complex and intricate in recent decades, with many homeowners investing in LED Christmas lights to string around the trees. Christmas trees made an appearance in German-American settlements in the early 1830s, though they were still widely (and negatively) perceived as a Pagan tradition until decades later.


Christmas Letters

Christmas is the perfect time to write your friends and family a letter that wishes them well and lets them know what you’ve been up to during the year. You can tell them about your career, your children, or even show off your amazing LED Christmas light display on the front of the card!

The first Christmas letter was created in England in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. The postal system in England was expensive and used almost exclusively by the wealthy until 1840, when Sir Henry Cole helped create the Penny Post, a mailing system that made postal services accessible to virtually everyone in the United Kingdom. Cole enlisted the help of his friend and artist, John Horsley, to create the world’s first Christmas card. The price of Christmas cards dropped when printing technology improved and trains were able to deliver mail much more quickly than before. By 1915, Hallmark Cards had been founded and was popularizing Christmas cards in the United States!


Christmas Ornaments 

Many families have a tradition of giving each other fun and festive ornaments each year. Some may be homemade, while others might be purchased from a local artist or from your favorite retailer. This tradition originates in the early 1500s, when a fir tree in Latvia was adorned with flowers in honor of the Virgin Mary. More than a 100 years later, Christmas trees in Strasbourg, France, were being adorned with nuts, candles, seeds, and tinsel composed of pure silver. This tradition made its way to America by the early 19th century, and by the late 1880s, the hand-blown glass ornaments popularized in Germany became part of American Christmas culture. In fact, nearly all of the Christmas ornaments in America were imported from Germany until the early 1900s.

Stay tuned for future posts in which we’ll continue to explore the most popular Christmas traditions and their fascinating origins. No matter which traditions you celebrate, LED Christmas lights are the perfect way to spread Christmas cheer, so pick some up before you go!

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