The fact is, that a traditional Christmas can mean different things to different people. Traditions have to start somewhere and a family often find themselves repeating things year after year, just because it is something they have always done. For the younger generations, this might be a tradition that was started many years ago by grandparents and has been kept alive by their parents.
Deck the halls with boughs of Holly
There are however, certain traditions associated with Christmas that have meaning for all of us. For instance, do you think of Mistletoe with anything other than Christmas kisses in mind?!
The tradition of mistletoe goes back centuries and was associated with protection for the inhabitants of the homes it adorned. The Christmas kiss under the mistletoe has derived from the times when it was hung over doorways, allowing any passing woman to be kissed – the intention being to avoid spinsterhood for too long! The ancient Norse associated mistletoe with their goddess of love and the odds are that this is how it came to be symbolic of a kiss.
Decorating the house with Christmas greenery stems from the Romans, who introduced their pagan traditions to Britain and today we still adorn our homes with foliage, such as holly wreaths. Ancient pagan and Christian symbols have become intertwined over the centuries and to Christians, the red berries of the holly are symbolic of Christ’s blood, whilst the leaves represent his crown of thorns.
Why 'Boxing' Day?
And what of Boxing Day? It does seem quite a bizarre name for the day after Christmas and it doesn’t have anything to do with boxing. The name originates from the time when churches would open their Alms Boxes, to distribute the money to the poor of the parish, hence Boxing Day is the day when boxes were opened.