With not so obvious stories.
Christmas is upon us and it the one time of the year when people really get nostalgic. If you are a parent of young then you are no doubt setting down the traditions of Christmas that take you back to your own childhood. EsmeLoves jewellery is all about traditions and Christmas is a perfect time to share stories from past. So what does Christmas look like for you? From trees to tinsel below we have a few Christmas favourites and how they came to be.
Whether your memories of mistletoe is avoiding that certain someone from the office hovering round the sprig during the Christmas party or sharing a romantic first kiss with the one you love, mistletoe is known for its powers to bring love to the festive period. However as a plant Mistletoe is known for its healing properties that dates back to the Ancient Greeks when it was believed mistletoe could heal and restore fertility. How it made the huge leap from ancient healing herb to festive drunken chat up line is up for debate but it is thought that in the early 18 century servants started the Christmas tradition of catching a kiss under it. It was even considered bad luck for you to refuse a kiss and this festive smooch soon branched out to the middle classes over the 18th century.
Do you hang mistletoe?
You either love them or hate them but mince pies have firmly routed themselves in the order of Christmas. With a glass of mulled wine and a wintery Christmas night, a mince pie has been baked yearly since the Crusaders returned from the middle east Crusade wars (between the years 1096 -1291.. a really really long time ago…much older than that box of mince pies you tucked to the back of the cupboard a few years ago) It is traditionally known that mince pies were made up of 13 ingredients representing Christ and his Apostles. Over the years the meat has been dropped from the list of ingredients but many people still use beef suet in their mince pies. Oh and mince pies used to be in an oval shape rather than round…..why? I hear you shout…well the oval shape represented the manger that Jesus was placed in after his birth. Who knew?
Looking for good quality crackers this year? Did you realise Fortnum and Mason do a box of Christmas crackers that cost £1000…yes.. feeling flush this year and fancy upping the Christmas table game? For the rest of us who just love a good pull on a cracker and enjoy the miniature pack of cards, teeny tiny screwdrivers (that are ridiculously useful all year round) and magnifying glass then you will be interested to know (or not) that crackers were invented by a London sweet maker Tom Smith in the 1840’s who was inspired by the french bon bon sweet wrapper. It was not until he developed his product to create a ‘bang’ when pulled did it take off in popularity and later through the years his sons added novelty hats and small toys.
It only takes an idea to take root to create a tradition that lasts hundreds of years. The concept of sending Christmas cards was created by Sir Henry Cole and the artist John Horsley who helped set up what is now known as the Post Office. In 1843 to encourage people to use the Post Office they created a Christmas card which people would send, using their services ergo making the post office a viable service. Will Christmas cards be defunct over the next century as everything moves more online?
5.The Christmas Tree
Do you have yours up yet? We put ours up earlier than ever this year and even then I felt we were late. Are you a real tree or a fake? Well whatever branch you swing from, the Christmas tree made its way into our lives around the 1830’s when Prince Albert put a tree up in Windsor castle. Since then it has become the star attraction of many homes around the world at this time of year.
So five Christmas traditions you know a bit more about now. Perhaps you might want to use some of your new found knowledge at the office Christmas party when stuck with someone you don’t have anything to say to…or to answer that tricky trivial pursuits question, there is always one about Christmas in there.
Enjoy these festive days.