Yesterday, we looked at the practice of kissing under the mistletoe and hanging up Christmas stockings and examined their origins.
MerryStockings.com takes a look at more Christmas traditions and how they came to be.
Deck the halls with boughs of holly...
Everybody knows this Christmas song, and almost everybody has sung it at at least one point in their lives. But do you know why people use holly during the Christmas season? It is not only because of the green leaves and red berries they have, which is coincidentally the most popular Christmas colors, but also because of a legend.
In olden times, people believed that ghosts and evil spirits roamed during winter and Christmas time. Europeans believed that holly held magical powers because like the mistletoe, it remains green even during the bleak winter months. So people hanged boughs of holly over their doors to keep the evil spirits away.
It served a more practical purpose too. In the time before canned air fresheners became available, these boughs of holly also purified the air inside the home.
Holly is also used as a religious symbol around Christian homes. It is believed that holly came up from the ground on which Jesus Christ walked. The spiky leaves represent his crown of thorns while the red berries represent the blood that he shed.
The practice of sending out Christmas cards had humbler roots. It began in the United Kingdom where young boys sent Christmas greetings to their parents in order to practice their writing.
Officially, however, the first real Christmas cards were the brainchild of Sir Henry Cole who was too busy to send his friends individualized Christmas greetings. What he did was to ask John Calcott Harvey to draw an illustration, which he then mass printed on a card. The illustration with a simple greeting for the holidays became the first Christmas cards.
Get into the Christmas spirit by sending your loved ones beautiful and personalized Christmas cards. MerryStockings.com allows you to have the flexibility of choosing any format from the various designs we have and then letting you add a personal touch by incorporating your own photographs on these.