Christmas Peace

Part of a series on the traditions of Christmas One remarkable tale of Christmas is the day peace broke out in 1914. By Christmas of that year fighting on the Western Front in World War One had claimed one million casualties. Those still alive were living in rat-infested trenches. On Christmas …

The Man who stole Christmas

Part of a series on the traditions of Christmas The man who stole Christmas was Oliver Cromwell. Well to be honest it had to more to do with the Puritans who supported Cromwell. In the 1640’s most people loved Christmas as much as we do today. But the English Puritans and …

Father Christmas

Part of a series on the traditions of Christmas Now here’s a long and complicated story and one which I will tell carefully. St Nicholas was a bishop in Turkey as long ago as 300 AD. By all accounts he was a generous man. One story told about him is that …

Cards and Crackers

Part of a series on the traditions of Christmas Many Christmas customs have their origins lost in history or legend. But one which we can be sure about is the invention of the Christmas card. The modern Christmas card was invented in Britain in 1843. People have always sent Christmas greetings …

Carols and Music

Part of a series on the traditions of Christmas Music has always been an important part of celebrating Christmas, whether it’s Silent Night or Slade. In the previous centuries music came courtesy of the town waits: groups of singers who would go round the town entertaining people with the songs of …

Christmas Food

Part of a series on the traditions of Christmas So much of our Christmas tradition is linked to food. What we eat and when we eat it defines the way we celebrate the Christmas everyone is ready to share the best food, like cutting the Christmas turkey with the best knives, …

Presents

Part of a series on the traditions of Christmas Christmas has always been a time to give and receive presents. It all goes back to the gifts of gold, incense and myrrh given to Jesus by the Wise Men. A few centuries ago it was the custom for the rich to …

The Twelve Days

Part of a series on the traditions of Christmas Why twelve days of Christmas? These days Christmas starts around about September and finishes when the sales begin on Dec 26th. But that’s not how it used to be. The twelve days of Christmas begin on Christmas day and end on January …

Midwinter Festivals

Part of a series on the traditions of Christmas So why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th, if it isn’t the actual birthday of Jesus? The answer is that the celebration goes back much further than that. Midwinter has always been a time to hold rituals. When it’s dark and …

The Wise Men

Part of a series on the traditions of Christmas The carol We Three Kings gets it badly wrong. The Bible doesn’t say they were Kings at all. It calls them magi, people who made their living from forecasting the future based on the positions of the stars. We would call them …