A Brief History of Christmas

This holiday season, I’d like to focus on the facts of Christmas that many don’t know and don’t bother to take the time to look up. For example, why do we celebrate Christmas? How was it actually established? What is the significance of the symbols we associate with Christmas like Christmas trees, the star at the top of that tree and other ornaments, or even Christmas tree lights?

Many popular customs associated with Christmas developed independently of the commemoration of Jesus’ birth, with certain elements having origins in pre-Christian festivals that were celebrated around the winter solstice by PAGAN populations who were later converted to Christianity.

Check out the following list of symbols and their meanings:

  1. Christmas Trees: Pagans used branches to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as an early thought of the spring to come. The Romans used Fir Trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia. Christians used it as a sign of everlasting life with God.
  2. Star tree topper/ornaments: At first, a figure of the Baby Jesus was put on the top of the tree. Over time it changed to an angel/fairy that told the shepherds about Jesus, or a star like the Wise Men saw. In Germany, the first Christmas Trees were decorated with edible things, such as gingerbread and gold covered apples. Then, glass makers created special ornaments similar to the ones we use today.
  3. Christmas Tree Lights: In 1880, Thomas Edison put new electric light bulbs around his office. In 1882 Edward Johnson, who was a colleague of Edison, hand-strung 80 red, white and blue bulbs together and put them on his tree in his New York apartment along with two additional strings of 28 lights mounted from the ceiling! Electric tree lights first because widely known in the USA in 1895 when President Cleveland had the tree in the White House decorated with lights for his daughters.

I hope you enjoyed this brief post about the history of Christmas. Happy Holidays and Have a Happy New Year!

For more information, visit: https://www.whychristmas.com/