Christmas is most definitely coming, the Christmas markets are up and running, some people already have their tree up, and with Black Friday almost upon us there will be the rush to grab those present bargains. We are now just 9 days away from enjoying those Chocolate advent calendars. It’s definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
But where did some of our best loved traditions come from?
Everyone loves to open those little windows of an advent calendar, revealing what is hiding behind, but did you know that advent calendars actually date back to the 19th Century, and are German in origin. The original calendars were little more than chalk marks on walls and doors to signify a countdown, or lighting candles was used to countdown to Christmas.The first printed ones were made by Gerhard Lang in the early 1900s.
Nowadays calendars come in all guises, from those with chocolates and sweets, to those housing all kinds of beauty and fragrance products. When it comes to calendars, there is truly something for everyone.
There is a story that the modern Christmas tree was introduced to Britain by Prince Albert after he married Queen Victoria in 1840, but the tradition of Christmas trees is actually much, much older than that. Germany and Estonia and Latvia argue over who had the first Christmas trees brought into the home, this was in the late 15th. early 16th century.
The most famous tree in the UK is the large Norwegian Spruce that is placed in Trafalgar Square each year. This is a gift from Norway that is given as a thank you for help that Britain gave Norway during World War 2.
Putting your Christmas stocking on your mantelpiece or hanging from your bed is a European tradition that dates back to the story of St Nicholas.The man who many say was the basis for Santa was said to have put gold coins into the stockings of 3 poor sisters. Now children hang their stockings hoping to find them filled with goodies. Originally the stocking was just an ordinary sock, but now stockings take on beautiful and varied forms.
Finally a tradition that has its roots in Britain. Christmas crackers are said to have been first created in London by Tom Smith. He was inspired to create a cracker with a snap from the crackle of his fire. Originally they contained sweets (Tom Smith has made his fortune with bonbons sold in sweetie wraps) but they eventually developed to hold the novelties and jokes that we enjoy so much today.