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The History of Christmas

Christmas is a magical time of the year time of year that has been celebrated by many people for many, many years.  Where did our most familiar Christmas customs come from?  Scroll down to read more about it.  Or would you like to find some new ideas for celebrating Christmas?

You can find lots of Christmas craft ideas for decorations, tree ornaments and even some ideas for gifts made by kids.  Don't forget to check out these great kids gift ideas.

Celebrating Christmas

Christmas celebrations as we know them today are a combination of many faiths and cultures.  

Early Christians wanted to create a special day in December to balance a Roman holiday.  They choose December 25 as the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  The Christians would celebrate special days by holding a mass.  On December 25, they held the Christ Mass.  Over the years the word has become Christmas.

The custom of decorating a tree as part of Christmas celebrations comes from Germany.  Martin Luther is credited with the custom of putting candles on the evergreen tree.  Prince Albert (Queen Victoria's husband) brought the custom to England in a wonderful example of two families and cultures blending their traditions.  In the 1800s the Pennsylvanian Germans continued the German custom in the new world.

Poinsettias are a beautiful red flower from Mexico that blooms in December.  According to legend, a brother and sister had no gift to give the Church in honor of the birth of Jesus.  They brought green weeds and decorated around the nativity scene.  Miraculously the flower bloomed in red and green stars. 

During the 17th century, Franciscan priests used the flowers during nativity processions.  The first US ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel Poinsett brought the plant to the United States to be part of Christmas celebrations.

The story of Santa Claus has its origins in the life of St. Nicholas who was well known for his generosity and love of children.  The red costume is thought to come from red bishop's robes.  But many of the details of Santa Claus' Christmas Eve travels come from a poem composed by Dr. Clement Moore, called "The Night Before Christmas", in 1822.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer appeared in 1939.  He was part of a marketing idea for the Montgomery Ward department store in Chicago.  They were looking for something that Santa Claus could hand out to children.  The story, with illustrations, was printed as a booklet and given to children at Christmas time over the next 10 years.  The song was first recorded by Gene Autry in 1949 and went straight to the top of the Hit Parade.

Christmas is a celebration that blends the customs and stories of the both the old world and the new world.  Most importantly, like all the special celebrations held in December, it is a wonderful time for families to be together.

You can find lots of Christmas craft ideas for decorations, tree ornaments and even some gifts you can make.

Note for Parents:

Every parent must use their own judgment in choosing which activities are safe for their own children. While Creative Kids at Home makes every effort to provide activity ideas that are safe and fun for children it is your responsibility to choose the activities that are safe in your own home.