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3 Ways to Bring Back the Traditions of Christmas Past

Posted by Mark Godsell-Fletcher on

Christmas is nearly upon us and as we all dream of a season full of magic and sparkle, we also start to reminisce of times gone by. Christmas is a time of traditions, those thrust upon us and those traditions that every household creates that are unique to them. Some enjoy opening one present on Christmas Eve, in many households Children are not allowed downstairs until their parents are awake, and some hold immense constraint and delay opening presents until after Christmas dinner. Even with all this happiness, Christmas is also a time to think of others regardless of your religion. Our Christmas is in many ways similar to that of our ancestors.  Whether you are a Christian or practice another or no faith; winter festivals have always been popular throughout the centuries. Many Christmas Traditions have been lost over the years, but we would like to introduce you to 3 ways that you can celebrate and bring back the traditions of Christmas past. 1. Yule Log The first references to a Yule Log were back in the 17th Century, although it is thought that the custom could be much older. The Yule Log is a specially chosen log that is burned on the hearth around Christmas. It is thought the custom surfaced from Viking invaders who used to celebrate the festival of light with enormous bonfires. On Christmas Eve, during Medieval times, a large log would be chosen from the forest, decorated with ribbons, placed on the hearth and burned throughout the twelve days of Christmas. [caption id="attachment_6292" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Yule Log from Time Traveler’s Christmas via Time Slips Yule Log from Time Traveler’s Christmas via Time Slips[/caption] If you own a log burner or have an open fire, it would be easy to bring this tradition into your home. Get the whole family involved and choose a special log for your own Yule Log. Allow your children to decorate with ribbons and maybe crayons too, then on Christmas Eve place the log in your fire. If you don’t have a log burning fire, celebrate the modern way by indulging in the chocolate version, we know that will bring a smile. 2. Twelfth Night King and Queen The highlight of the Christmas social calendar for Georgian England was the Twelfth Night. The 6 January or the Twelfth Night was the grandest night of the year, fancy dress or masquerade balls were held in its honour with games such as ‘bob apple’ added to the evening of dancing, drinking and eating, you can just picture the scene straight from a Jane Austen novel. One of the evening’s traditions was the Twelfth Night cake, which would contain a dried bean or a dried pea. The entire household including the servants were served the cake, the man who found the dried bean in his slice was elected king, the dried pea a queen, everyone had to do what the king and queen said for the evening. [caption id="attachment_6291" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Twelfth Night cake from HistoricFood.com Twelfth Night cake from HistoricFood.com[/caption] The Twelfth Night cake evolved into what we now call a Christmas Cake. Add the Twelfth Night Cake to your Christmas and add a dried bean and dried pea to find your king and queen for the day, but the question is, will you do everything that they ask? 3. Handmade decorations OK, so in many ways this tradition is part of our Christmas already, there is been an explosion of homemade crafts and gifts and we can’t seem to get enough. Holly and evergreens were traditional decorations from poor to gentry alike. As a lover of natural materials, I personally love to see a home decorated with greenery. English Heritage have a great guide to making your own Christmas Tudor Bough. [caption id="attachment_6289" align="aligncenter" width="620"]hands (1) English Heritage Christmas Bough[/caption] During World War II, there was a feeling that people shouldn’t celebrate Christmas, but feelings thankfully changed and it was seen as an escape from the horrors and tragedy around them. Due to the rationing people made decorations such as paper chains to brighten their homes despite the threat of bombing. As we start to think about decorating our homes for the season, why not take a moment to make something handmade this year. Whether you make paper chains or a greenery centerpiece, your homemade decorations will celebrate what is good about this season. At Eat Sleep Live our passion for everything reclaimed allows us to bridge the gap between the past and the present daily.  Don't let the traditions of the past get lost in your Christmas future.


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