Photo Credit: krisdecurtis
(Creative Commons)
Christmas - also known as Xmas, especially here in the UK - is undoubtedly one of the major festivals of the year. Although of Christian origin (after the pagans) it's also celebrated by many non-Christians as a great family holiday. Food, drink, decorations, gifts and friends - December the 25th can be the best time of the year. Children especially love Christmas and the promise of presents from Santa.

The interesting thing about Christmas is how new much of it actually is. The basic festival dates back thousands of years - it probably originated with the pagan celts before being "adopted" by the early Christians. However many of what we consider "traditional" Christmas customs only arose within the last one or two hundred years.

The Victorians

Much of our modern traditional Christmas (if that isn't too much of a contradiction!) is of Victorian origin. The Victorians loved elaborate celebrations and any custom adopted by Queen Victoria herself was guaranteed to spread rapidly through Victorian society in England and hence to other parts of the world.

On these pages I'll investigate some of the customs and traditions of Christmas, both ancient and modern, as well as discuss a little of the symbolism behind them. If nothing else it'll give you something to talk about whilst stuck in the traffic jam on the way to do your Christmas shopping!

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