Tradition

  • History of the Christmas Wreath

    traditional wreathI made my very first Christmas wreath one year without really even a plan or a thought. What I mean to say is that it was more of an afterthought than something I planned out. You see, we brought home the biggest and best Christmas tree on the farm lot we could find, and just like my husband said before we forked over the cash, it was way too tall for our living room. You can probably guess the rest.....we found ourselves with several inches of tree trunk as well as the accompanying branches laying on the back porch. The tree now fit in the house, but what to do with all this darned mess.

    light bulb moment

    The men (the huz and the 3 littles) were in the house working on getting the tree to stand up tall and straight, so I headed outside to clean up the mess. There were some really great looking branches, and I realized I could use those to decorate the rest of the house.....the mantle, the table, and the door! Thus, my first handmade wreath was born.

    The Christmas wreath is one of the most popular decorations at Christmas. You'll find them, of course, on people's front doors as a sign of welcome, but also quite often used as a part of  an Advent celebration or even hanging from the lamp posts in the city.

    But, the truth is there is quite a long history for the ol' wreath. Pagan cultures would have a gathering of wreaths at winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, a day that represented death and rebirth to them. They celebrated the end of the ever-shortening days and welcomed the promise of spring, all with celebrations and wreaths. Some would even add candles, symbolic of the sun.

    laurel wreathIn ancient times, wreaths were a symbol of success and importance, and were worn as headbands. Olympic athletes wore them as well as military leaders, signifying victory. In the Christian world, the circle shape with no beginning and no end are thought to mean everlasting life or eternal rebirth.  Even the accouterments added to the wreath have meaning. The holly berries represent immortality and the cedar strength. I don't know about you, but I find all of this fascinating!

    Of course, the common Christmas wreath in our modern day carries much more simplicity for us. Hung on the front door or in the window, it's like saying "Come in, you are welcome here!" And, that is a beautiful thing.

    Tomorrow we'll go over some basic steps in creating your own wreath, and offer some tips on maintaining it.

    Until then,

    Cheryl

    Photo courtesies:  wreath, light bulb, athlete

  • Christmas Traditions Explained

    In the United States, we observe several Christmas traditions that has been passed to us by our parents who observed these too in their youth. This is the power of Christmas traditions that it is able to transcend time and can really make the Christmas season more lively and fun.

    But have you ever wondered where they originated?

    MerryStockings.com explains how some of our Christmas traditions got their start.

    The Mistletoe

    A lot of teeners and other lovesick adults wait for their crushes to walk under a mistletoe usually taking the chance to ask for a kiss. But why do people kiss under the mistletoe?

    The mistletoe has been a revered plant from the earliest times. Druid priests were said to use mistletoe in their rituals while ancient Celtics thought that the mistletoe had healing powers against infertility, poison and evil spirits. The fact that the mistletoe remains green even when in winter and without roots adds more to the mysticism surrounding the mistletoe.

    In later times, Romans came to view it as a symbol of peace. For them, if enemies come under the mistletoe, they should drop their weapons and embrace. This practice later evolved when Scandinavians began associating the mistletoe with the goddess of love, Frigga. From these two practices came the Christmas practice of kissing under mistletoes.

    By the way, did you know that as a result of kissing under the mistletoe, you are guaranteed a full year of good tidings and happiness?

    Christmas Stockings

    Children around the country hang up Christmas stockings hoping to find small toys, candies and other treats inside it come Christmas morning. But do you know that the Christmas stocking is first and foremost a symbol of generosity?

    Legend has it that a kind and rich man became depressed after the death of his wife. Soon his riches were gone, even the money for the dowries of his three daughters. The daughters then faced a life of spinsterhood. It is said that when St. Nicholas heard about their story, he went to their house and threw pouches of gold coins into the chimney.

    These bags of gold were caught inside the stockings that the daughters have left by the fireplace to dry.

    We at MerryStockings.com know how important Christmas traditions are. Give personalized Christmas stockings to your friends and family in order for them to observe this tradition in style!

  • Your Baby's First Christmas Stockings

    Children have always been the best reason to celebrate Christmas. In every household, it is the children who are the most excited for the coming holiday season. Some even say that Christmas is the time for kids, with TV stations putting out kid-friendly programs for their holiday programming, stores selling their best wares for kids, Schools close for the Christmas vacation, seriously lengthy play time and basically the whole world feeling like a child again.

    Children around the world have treasured the Christmas season, which is the time that they get rewarded for being nice. They get gifts from their parents, friends and other family members. At no other time of the year, except for their birthdays, do they get so many toys, money, and other gifts.

    Spending your Christmas with your children is one of the best gifts you can ever give and receive. You want to make it extra special for them, because it is in their eyes that you see the magic of Christmas.

    This is especially true if it is their first Christmas. How exactly do you celebrate Christmas with the latest addition to your family: your baby? Well, by setting up a tradition, of course!

    Christmas traditions are great ways to keep Christmas in your family unique and exciting. You could host a Christmas lunch or dinner and invite close friends and family over. You could introduce your baby to them during this.

    You could put up Christmas decorations that depicts the whole family. Personalized Christmas ornaments for your tree featuring the whole family, or each member in different ornaments.

    Or you could give everybody in the family their own personalized Christmas stocking. It would be great to have everybody's stockings line up on the chimney. Do not forget the littlest one though.

    MerryStockings.com has a new line of personalized Christmas stockings that is perfect for your baby's first Christmas. Make his or her first Christmas memorable with these beautiful white velvet with gingham trims stocking that may be embroidered with your baby's name. This would be a great keepsake for the momentous moment in his or her life!

  • Decorating with Christmas Stockings and Santa Claus

    Everybody knows who Santa Claus is.  Every kid has left their Christmas stockings near the fireplace to find treats left in it by Santa on Christmas morning.  A lot of them have written letters to the North Pole detailing their wish lists and arguing that they have been nice.  Some even stayed up late to spy on Santa Claus as he goes through the house eating cookies and leaving gifts.

    Santa Claus is arguably the most well-known and prominent Christmas symbol.  So this Christmas, MerryStockings.com urges you to decorate your house with a Santa Claus motif.  At MerryStockings.com, we give you personalized Christmas decorations that have a variety of Santa Claus designs that is perfect for your home!  Check out some of our designs inspired by the Jolly Ol' Man!

    • The Bucilla Felt Applique Christmas Stocking Kit: Patchwork Santa brings together Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, toys, gifts and snowflakes in one whimsical and fun design.  This would be perfect to create with your kids and would mean a lot of bonding time with them.  The finished product is a beautiful sight to look at and would certainly be a welcome addition to your Christmas decorations!

    This stocking kit is an elegant and crafty way to decorate your homes this Christmas.

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  • The Origins of Santa Claus

    All too often, the image of Santa Claus has been closely associated with the commercialization of Christmas.  Many people lament that the Christmas season has been much too focused with gifts and gift-giving that people, especially children, think of nothing else but the gifts they are to receive during the season.

    But Santa Claus have been a very prominent feature of American Christmases since the 17th century, and because he symbolizes generosity and sharing that Christmas is also known for, it made sense that Santa Claus should be so.

    America's Santa Claus was based on a real person: Saint Nicholas who was the Bishop of Myra in the 4th century.  Myra is a place within present-day Turkey.  The Bishop of Myra was well-respected and renowned for his generosity and his love for children.  And it is this kindness that led to claims that he could perform miracles centuries after his death.

    His remains were reportedly stolen from its burial grounds in the 11th century and were brought to Europe.  Soon after, devotions to the Saint grew across Europe.  In Russia, he became the country's patron saint.  In Greece, he became the patron of seafarers and sailors.  In France, he was the patron saint of lawyers.  In Belgium, he was the patron of travelers and children. In addition to these, thousands of European churches were dedicated to St. Nicholas and December 6 became his feast day.  On his feast day, people would give gifts to each other, alms to beggars, food to the poor and even donate to charity.

    St. Nicholas' popularity dwindled after the Reformation, but his generosity remained alive.  Especially in Holland where people told and retold his story.  Saint Nicholas soon became Sinterklaas and Dutch children would leave their shoes by the fireplace to be rewarded with treats from the Saint.

    Sinterklaas was brought to American soil in the 17th century by the Dutch, and soon the name was Anglicized to Santa Claus.  Today,  American children hang Christmas stockings near the fireplace in the hopes that Santa Claus would find them good the whole year round and leave them gifts and treats!

  • Christmas movies that aren’t about Christmas

    When getting friends and family together around the Holidays, there is a lot of time to hang out between meals.  For a number of American families, that means movies!  Classics like A Christmas Story and A Christmas Carol are great traditions.  But how about adding some new options to the mix?  Here is a list of movies that take place on or around Christmas, that aren’t really about Christmas.Die Hard

    Family Man

    Ghost Busters 2

    The Ref

    Donnie Brasco

    The Godfather 2

  • When to Open Christmas Stockings

    SHOP NOW FOR PERSONALIZED CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS - www.MerryStockings.com   

    Christmas stockings are a standard part of Christmas celebrations for most families.   However, the time to open Christmas stockings is another story.  Some people get their stocking stuffers on Christmas Eve or the first thing on Christmas morning.  Some people get their stockings before opening presents, some after, and some people get Christmas stockings instead of presents.  So when do you get to find out what’s in your stocking?
    For me, it’s always on Christmas morning, after opening presents.  It’s great moment when you realize that even though you’ve opened all of your gifts, you still have some goodies to come.  Our Christmas stockings were always hung in a different room (above the fireplace of course) so we could leave all of our other loot and start fresh in the living room.  Our stockings usually contained a good measure of chocolate and candy, providing enough energy for an afternoon of figuring out our new toys.  Perfect!

    Shop for personalized christmas stockings now: www.MerryStockings.com

  • Personalized Christmas Decorations

    SHOP NOW FOR PERSONALIZED CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS - www.MerryStockings.com   

    When getting your home ready for a Christmas celebration, make sure to personalize the decorations to make them more meaningful.  Buying stock decorations and slapping them up in your house is boring.

    Think about ways to include pictures of your family.  You can read about a fun do it yourself photo Christmas ornament project here.  Or use some of your children's crafts to create unique ornaments or center pieces. 

    Personalizing Christmas decorations can be as simple as adding your own style to an existing piece.  Complement your store bought decorations with fabric and materials from Michaels or another craft store.  You may be surprised what you can do with a hot glue gun!

    Of course, personalized christmas stockings are another important part of decorating for Christmas.  Stay tuned for 2007 designs, available soon from MerryStockings.com.

    Shop now for personalized christmas stockings at www.MerryStockings.com

  • A Christmas Stocking Story

    SHOP NOW FOR PERSONALIZED CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS - www.MerryStockings.com

    What would happen if your Christmas stockings at home got mixed up in the wash and nobody got the right presents? Hilary Knight explores this scary scenario in her classic book A Christmas Stocking Story. Her book is a classic children's story and the illustrations really make the book fun.

    Children's books are a fun party of Christmas traditions. A Christmas Carol, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and of course, The Night Before Christmas are all perfect for the Holidays. What is your favorite Christmas book?

    Shop now for personalized christmas stockings at www.MerryStockings.com

  • Baby's First Christmas

    SHOP NOW FOR PERSONALIZED CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS - www.MerryStockings.com    

    One of the most exciting parts about bringing baby home is getting your home ready. You've got the nursery and baby-proofing the house but decorating is the fun part.
    A new Personalized Christmas Stocking is a fun personalized baby gift that can help get your family ready for baby's first Christmas. Merry Stockings has Christmas stocking designs to help make decorating for the Holidays fun.
    In addition, think about your baby's first Christmas outfit. A tiny dress or santa pjs can be a lot of fun for Christmas morning.
    Personalized Christmas ornaments are another way to commemorate your baby's first Christmas. You can find nice designs at places like the Deb & Co, or be like Martha and create your own!
    My first Christmas!
    Photo courtesy of The Hanner

    Shop now for Personalized Christmas Stocking at www.MerryStockings.com

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