Tuesday 5 December 2017

Christmas Traditions - How Far Back Do You Go? by Joan Lennon

Every family who celebrates Christmas will have their own traditions.  Some of them are quite recent - with us, it's hiding presents and writing poems (well, doggerel) to help/flummox the recipient.  Much confusion and hilarity ensues.  My father started that tradition when we were small.  I loved it then and I love it now, and I can't imagine a Christmas without poems.

But some traditions are much, much older, and since we are, indeed, History Girls, my question is this:

What's the most ancient Christmas tradition that is part of your celebrations?  

Answers in the comments below!

The first Christmas card was commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in London
 in 1843 and illustrated by John Callcott. 
Wiki commons

Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog


Susan Price said...

The celebrating of the Winter Solstice/Yule itself, I suppose which goes back a long, long way in these islands. The ancient tomb of Maeshowe in Orkney (as Joan will know very well) was constructed to let a beam of light shine down its passageway on the winter solstice -- you can see a live webcam here: http://www.maeshowe.co.uk/

This suggests that the people who built Maeshowe celebrated the solstice in some way. Maeshowe is 5000 years old.

Ruan Peat said...

My children are now adults and my parents passed on but we have some traditions still in place, and yes love the Maeshowe show on the internet, and occasionally go to Orkney for the show as its just off the coast here. For us winter is dawn about 10ish and dusk by 3pm! only 4 or so hours of light makes the whole winter a different world to celebrate!

Penny Dolan said...

Thanks for the festive post.

Our family has a tradition of writing unrhymed "riddle" labels for presents,which adds to the mystery of the gift-giving, at least for the grown-ups.

We end up, slightly hazy and exhausted after the dinner,thinking "What on earth was on my list that fits this description?" as the giver-outer/"Christmas Fairy" reads out the description.

Joan Lennon said...

Thanks for comments - Maeshowe and winter solstice are so evocative of time passing and its depth, aren't they. And I love that your family also does riddling at Christmas, Penny!