Christmas Traditions

Origins Unclear

The origins of many Christmas traditions are unclear and are often the result of the fusing of elements from many folklores and faiths. This is particularly true where a country has adopted different faiths over the centuries. Ancient practices are continued and absorbed into new belief systems and passed down the generations.


Advent, derived from the Latin word Adventus meaning “coming”, is a season celebrated by many Christian denominations in anticipation of the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a period traditionally marked by the keeping of many customs including fasting and the hanging of purple and blue decorations in churches. In northern England woman would carry two dolls which represented the Virgin Mary and Jesus in order to collect money from those who saw them. The failure to donate having seen the dolls was considered to bring bad luck. In Normandy children were sent to run through fields and orchards carrying burning torches to set fire to piles of straw. This was believed to eradicate vermin from the crops. The most common traditions that survive in Western cultures are use of the Christmas Advent calendar and Christmas stockings.

Countdown Calendars

Christmas Advent calendars have their origins in the German Lutheran tradition of counting down the first 24 days of December. The first know example was produced in 1851 and was handmade. The first printed advent calendar is believed to have been produced in Hamburg circa 1903 but the concept was popularised by the German printing company Reichhold and Lang who produced and marketed more than 30 designs before their demise in 1930. Advent or countdown calendars are now used in many cultures to mark the passing of days approaching significant celebrations.

Modern Calendars

Today’s calendars are normally manufactured from card and feature 24 perforated and numbered windows which can be opened each day to reveal pictures or small gifts such as sweets and chocolates. Advent calendars are mainly aimed at children and are produced in huge quantities by toy and confectionary companies at the risk of inviting criticism for their largely non-religious content. The calendars containing chocolates have been known to be popular with adults too !

Socks and Stockings

The exact origins of the Christmas stocking are unclear but appear to derive from several, mainly Nordic, legends. One story tells of a nobleman who died leaving his three daughters without dowries. St Nicholas felt sorry for the girls and threw gold coins down their chimney which were caught by their stockings hanging out to dry over the fireplace. Another tale surrounds the story of the Scandinavian figure Odin. Children would leave out their socks filled with food for Odin’s horse Sleipnir and in return the horse would leave treats in the socks for the children. This legend evolved to include St Nicholas or Santa Claus with the arrival of Christianity.

Larger Stockings

The modern commercial nature of Christmas has resulted in increasingly large numbers of gifts being given to children and adults alike. The old custom of leaving out a sock or stocking has evolved into the manufacture of larger and larger sock shaped bags to be left out for the visit of Father Christmas. In fact many such receptacles no longer resemble stockings at all and are merely Christmas gift sacks !

The Commercial World

So many Christmas traditions have been transformed by the intervention of the commercial world that the original significance of the legends have been lost to us but the charm of the Christmas stocking and Advent calendar do live on in most houses today, even in the absence of children !

The Contemporary Home offer a great selection of Christmas advent calendars for all the family.

Appropriate Christmas gifts for the girl you’re dating

Worried about looking too keen or maybe too stingy? Getting the right Christmas gift for the girl you’re dating is a touchy subject. If you’ve just been together a few weeks you might be thinking twice about getting anything at all, but trust us, pretty much all women will want something, even if you don’t start dating until the night before Christmas.

Here is our Christmas list of appropriate Christmas gifts whatever stage your relationship. A full range of gifts for women is available at House of Fraser. Just check out their ‘gifts and wedding’ section online; don’t worry we aren’t suggesting you plan for the big day just yet, it’s just the name of the online gifts section.

Dating time: less than a month

You definitely don’t know everything about her just yet; so don’t go overboard. This is a tricky time bracket, insomuch as you don’t want to look too soppy and/or keen, but you do want her to know she is special and you are most definitely interested. Anything too personal is a big no-no, but something too general is also out of the question. Beauty products are great early-bird gifts. If she is into make-up – you should be able to figure this out just by checking out her face on the first date – the Benefit makeup Project Flawless Gift Set is the ideal choice. If she is more of a fresh faced lady, the Clinique 3-step home and away I & II is perfect.

Dating time: two to four months

You know more about her now and feel comfortable with where you’re at, but you still need to impress. Prove you know her with a fragrance gift set. Ask the beauty counter assistants for advice; they will guide you through myriad fragrance types. However, if you’re buying online, you could get her the gift set of her favourite fragrance.

Dating time: five to eight months

You really should know what she likes and doesn’t like at this stage, and if you have been together for this long it must be pretty serious. She means a lot to you, so show her how much. This is the time for jewellery. You can find something personal now because you should know her unique style. Earrings and rings can be tricky, but bracelets and necklaces are much easier to get right.

Dating time: nine to 12 months

This relationship is for real now. This means it’s time for the next step; no, not marriage. Instead of a traditional gift, you should get her an ‘experience’. Smartbox experiences, available through House of Fraser include a Michelin-star dinning gift set where you can whisk your leading lady off to one of 30 Michelin starred restaurants in the UK. Quite a nice deal for you too.

Celebrate Christmas with Love and Light

Love and romance at ChristmasThis Christmas, Christian singles everywhere will be celebrating the Christmas season with love and light. This is a festive time of the year, and it is especially so for Christians with all of the beautiful religious connections to the holiday. There is a feeling of celebration that is constantly in the air, and it has rightly been referred to many times as the season of hope. It has also been referred to as the season of joy. Both of these aspects are perfectly descriptive of Christmas and everything that it represents, and you should be prepared for this Christmas season to be the best one ever.

If you are looking for someone else to share the season with, you should certainly consider online dating. This has been growing rapidly in popularity, and is a great way for you to meet other Christian singles in your area. No more will you have to hope for luck or waste your time getting to know people that you do not have a strong connection with. This process can be daunting, frustrating, and can take a lot of the excitement out of the idea of dating at all. It can even make people feel like they should give up on dating altogether.

With online dating, however, you do not need to be afraid that this will happen again. You will be able to connect with other Christians who share your views and your love for religion. Many soul mates have met in this fashion, and many more will this Christmas season.

There will be a lot of love in the air around Christmas, and you should find someone to share this wonderful time with, someone whom you can grow to love. There is no reason not to, and every reason to start looking right now on an internet sight that has your best interests at heart. The site will help you to weed out all of the people who you do not care about, by saving you from having to look through them at all.

If you sign up today, you can go online and browse through listings of hundreds of people who could all be your potential match. The only problem that you may have this year is figuring out which one to choose, as there are so many. Don’t be alone this Christmas. Find someone to share the season with, and celebrate with love and light.

Single Christians Can Have A Divine Christmas

Christmas is coming – and that means carol singing, midnight mass and celebrations with family and friends.

All these Christmas events give single Christians a chance to meet new friends and get to know old friends a little better.

So many single Christians enjoy Christmas and the joy it brings but worry too much about how they appear to others.

All sorts of thoughts run through the mind … he or she is nice, should I talk to them? What will the others think? Does he or she like me or will I be rejected.

Well, none of these thoughts matter, because the fear of striking up a relationship is all in the mind.

The biggest relationship fear is fear itself

People are not scared of a snarling dog; it’s the thought in their mind of what could happen if that dog approached them that causes fright.

That means all your doubts and fears about a relationship are in your mind and if you can conquer those fears and just be yourself, you will have an easier time breaking the ice with other singles.

Just remember everyone has the same thoughts of self-doubt, especially if they have been hurt in other relationships.

Christmas is a time to praise and celebrate a wonderful occasion, but no one will mind if you meet a soul mate – good, caring Christian people should be happy for you.

Just remember that single Christians may have a code of behaviour and beliefs that often leads them to believe their ability to interact is restricted, but at the bottom of it all, Christians are people with the hopes and needs like everyone else.

A peck on the cheek is just flirty fun

So just remember a peck on the cheek under the mistletoe is just a bit of flirty fun and only has a meaning if someone gives one.

Just act towards others as you expect them to act towards you and you may find that taking away the fear may lead to making some new friends or even a sweet romance.