When we think about the joy and charm of the holiday season, some of our favorite Christmas Traditions come to mind. They encapsulate the spirit of the season, bringing together family, friends, and communities in the glow of shared celebration.
Yet, as universal as these themes might be, their origins, interpretations, and significance can vary across cultures and time periods. Delving into the rich tapestry of history and emotion surrounding these traditions provides a fascinating insight into our collective human experience.
Through stories passed down, adaptations made over time, and the fusion of old and new customs, we see a beautiful mosaic of festivity. In this blog post, we’re taking a dive into some of our favorite Christmas traditions.
1. Santa Claus – Christmas Eve Excitement
The Christmas tradition of tracking Santa Claus on his global gift-delivering journey is a staple of the holiday festivities. The tradition of tracking Santa has deeper historical roots than one might assume.
The concept originated from a delightful mishap in 1955 when a local Sears advertisement in Colorado Springs misprinted a telephone number, directing children to call Santa directly.
However, the number was actually connected to the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center. Instead of dismissing the calls, the kindly staff decided to give children updates on Santa’s whereabouts, birthing an annual tradition.
Over time, as technology evolved, so did the method of tracking. Today, families across the globe can not only call but also use websites such as the official NORAD online tracker to watch Santa’s sleigh traverse the globe. As we watch, our excitement grows and brings magic to Christmas Eve that perfectly sets the tone for the big day itself.
2. Stage Spectacular – The Nutcracker
For many, the holiday season isn’t complete without enjoying a performance of The Nutcracker. This enchanting ballet, filled with iconic characters, spellbinding music, and graceful dance, is a holiday tradition cherished worldwide. Particularly noteworthy is BalletMet‘s performance in Columbus, Ohio.
“…the production does not want for magic or enchantment. Among the dazzling sights were gift boxes that glided in the air and dolls that were summoned to life.”
The Columbus Dispatch
Taking place from December 7 – 23, 2023, this locally loved production captivates audiences with its talented cast, lavish sets, and masterful choreography. Set against the backdrop of the stunning Ohio Theatre, BalletMet’s rendition of The Nutcracker offers an unforgettable Christmas experience, bringing the magic of the season to life.
Get Tickets to BalletMet’s enchanting production of The Nutcracker.
3. Festive Snacks – Baking Christmas Cookies
Christmas and cookies are a match made in heaven. From classic chocolate chip to colorful sugar cookies, the tradition of baking Christmas treats is one of our favorite ways to get into the holiday spirit.
Here is our list of some of our favorite Holiday Cookies to get you started:
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Sugar Cookies
- Gingerbread Cookies
- Andes Mint Cookies
- Ginger Molasses Cookies
- Peppermint Cookies
- Brown Butter Cookies
- And more!
This beloved Christmas tradition not only fills our homes with the delicious smell of freshly baked cookies but also serves as a time for families to bond, create and taste-test!
4. Cozy Cinematics – Watching Your Favorite Holiday Films
We can’t talk about Christmas traditions without mentioning gathering around the television with loved ones to watch holiday films. These movies, ranging from classics like White Christmas and A Christmas Story to more modern favorites like Home Alone and Elf, have a special way of invoking the Holiday spirit.
One of the first Christmas films, Santa Claus (1898), was a silent short that showcased Saint Nick on a rooftop. As the film industry evolved, so did the depth and breadth of Christmas-themed narratives.
The 1940s, in particular, saw a surge in the popularity of festive films with classics like It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) and Miracle on 34th Street (1947) capturing the essence of the holiday spirit and leaving an indelible mark on popular culture. The rise in the popularity of Christmas films during the 1940s can be linked to broader cultural shifts and sentiments following World War II.
White Christmas (1954)
For many, these films have become as integral to the holiday season as the tree or the lights. Whether it’s laughing at the comedic antics of the Griswold family in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or feeling the poignant tug at the heartstrings with A Charlie Brown Christmas, these films, when shared with family, have a way of capturing the essence of the holiday season.
It’s more than just entertainment; it’s a warm, cozy tradition that brings us all together year after year.
5. Sweet Structures – Building (and Eating) a Gingerbread House
Adding another sweet tradition to our Christmas lineup, the building and decoration of gingerbread houses allow our creativity to shine.
The gingerbread house traces its roots trace back to Germany during the 16th century, where intricately decorated gingerbread houses became synonymous with Christmas celebrations. The practice truly gained popularity after the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, depicted a house made entirely of treats, capturing the imaginations of readers and bakers alike.
Today, the tradition of constructing and decorating gingerbread houses has evolved into one of our favorite holiday activities. From simple cottages to grand castles, the creations span a wide range of architectural styles. Families and friends gather, armed with colorful candies, icings, and, of course, gingerbread, turning the process into a delightful afternoon or evening of collaboration and creativity.
This fan favorite brings families together for a sweet project, crafting edible houses adorned with rainbow candies and powdered sugar snow. It’s a Christmas tradition that is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the taste buds.
6. Glimmering Greenery – Decorating the Family Christmas Tree
Decorating the Christmas tree is an iconic ritual at the heart of the holiday season. The tree, once illuminated by twinkling lights and adorned with an array of ornaments, helps to tell the story of each family, reflecting their memories and shared moments. Not only can you decorate with store-bought baubles and tinsels, but families can add a more personal touch with DIY ornaments.
Crafting your own ornaments is a great way to personalize your family Christmas tree. So gather some glue, glitter, paint, and an assortment of your favorite materials and get together with your loved ones to create your own Holiday decorations.
These DIY crafts range from hand-painted baubles and paper-mache figures to intricately woven yarn stars and salt dough keepsakes. Each homemade ornament tells its own story and makes sure that your tree stands out from any other tree out there.
With the glow from the lights and the combination of store-bought and handcrafted ornaments, the Christmas tree becomes more than just a festive centerpiece. You can catch us turning on our favorite holiday playlists while we decorate our Christmas Trees and turn our homes into a Christmas wonderland.
Need a Christmas playlist to turn on? Try our Spotify Playlist for The Nutcracker.
Christmas is a time of joy, togetherness, and
Whether it’s watching Santa’s journey, baking holiday cookies, decorating the Christmas tree, watching your favorite Holiday movie with your family, or being entranced by the Nutcracker ballet, these beloved traditions are a testament to the spirit of Christmas.
Embracing these customs allows us to revisit cherished memories and create new ones with our families and friends. Each year, as we pass down these traditions from one generation to the next, we add layers of meaning and depth, weaving new stories and experiences.
As the festive season approaches, we are excited to get together with our loved ones and complete some (or all!) of these Holiday and Christmas traditions. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the magic of the Holidays while looking forward with hope and excitement to the new memories we’ll create. Here’s to a holiday filled with love and laughter.