Many of us have our own family traditions that get passed down through generations, such as being able to open one present early on Christmas Eve or wearing a festive jumper on the big day – but have you ever thought about why we give cards and presents? And what’s a decorated tree in the hallway all about?!

Well we’ve been doing some research and here are a few of the most common Christmas traditions, alongside the reasons behind them…

Advent calendars

The countdown to Christmas really begins with the advent calendar—peeling back the windows to reveal a festive scene or message, and more importantly a chocolatey treat! But advent calendars aren’t just about the chocolate – the tradition began in Germany in the mid-19th century, where people made chalk marks on doors or lit candles to count the days leading up to Christmas.

The advent calendar is one of our favourite traditions; every time you open a window you know Christmas is getting just that bit closer!

Christmas cardsChristmas cards hung on fireplace

Sending and receiving Christmas cards is a tradition that dates back to 1843, when the first ever Christmas card was produced and sent in the UK. Traditionally, Christmas cards featured nativity or family scenes but today, of course, Christmas cards come in all colours, shapes and sizes!

Sending a Christmas card is one of the most simple and personal Christmas traditions. And especially this year, when things have by no means been normal – popping a Christmas card in the post can be a great way to send a little Christmas magic to those loved ones you’re not able to see in person.

Don’t forget to check the Royal Mail last posting dates, especially if you have friends and family who live abroad.

 

Mistletoe

Mistletoe will fill many homes over Christmas and a few kisses might even be shared standing underneath! There are several myths and traditions surrounding mistletoe; in ancient times the Druids believed that mistletoe would bring good luck and health, and it was also thought that mistletoe represented love and friendship – which is where the tradition of kissing underneath the mistletoe comes from.

So don’t forget to hang up your mistletoe this year and share some festive kisses!

Christmas trees

The tradition of the Christmas tree dates back to Germany during the 16th Century, and even today the humble Christmas tree is at the heart of our Christmas festivities in the home. Not only does a Christmas tree help you create a welcoming home for the festive season, but many special moments such as unwrapping presents will no doubt be shared underneath.

So whether you’re having a real or artificial tree this year, the main thing is getting together around it and admiring all your beautiful decorations.

Presents

Whether you’re an organised early Christmas shopper or prefer the last-minute panic, we all love to give (and also receive!) gifts at Christmas.

The gift giving tradition has its roots in the Wise Men’s gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh…however frankincense and myrrh seem to be less popular options these days! Christmas morning is traditionally the time for most of us to empty our Christmas stockings and unwrap the presents from under the tree in the UK, but this varies all over the world. Did you know in Germany, Sweden and Portugal it’s actually more popular to open all the presents on Christmas Eve?

Whether your kids have already been busy scribbling their lists for Santa or they’ve still to write them, check out our letter to Santa set, perfect for writing a little note to Santa before posting it in Santa’s special letterbox Christmas Eve!

And if you haven’t finished your shopping already, our online Christmas gift shop has something for everyone who’s made it onto your ‘nice’ list – or, of course, you could always pop to your local wilko if you’ve left things really late this year!

We’d love to hear about your Christmas traditions. Let us know what’s on the list that you and your family always get up to every year on our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram page.

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