Christmas Holiday: Resources for Celebrating
When the red and green lights and wreaths appear and the sounds of familiar carols echo in the streets,it’s time to celebrate the Christmas holiday again. This Christmas Holiday Web Guide presents the history of Christmas, illuminates how and why we celebrate certain customs, and reveals the best places to look for Christmas recipes, decorations and gift ideas. Whether you have a religious view of the holiday or simply enjoy the Christmas spirit, the resources below can help you make merry with your friends and family all through the season.
The history of Christmas predates the birth of Christ. In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21 through January to honor the winter solstice. In Rome, Saturnalia honored Saturn, the god of agriculture, during the month of December. These holidays coincided with the winter solstice as a means of bringing light and joy into people’s lives during the darkest months of the year—as Christmas does today. Did you know that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25? Find out why the date was chosen and how Christmas customs developed using the sites below.
- Although the sites listed here have valuable cultural information, be mindful that sites maintained by religious groups may have missionary content.
For an overview …
The History Channel
Web site presents “Christmas,” the story of the tradition and its origins, dating back to Norse and Roman traditions of Yule and Saturnalia, respectively. Learn how Christmas was celebrated in Europe, and how customs evolved in the New World.
BBC covers the stages of Christmas in its online exhibit, “Ten Ages of Christmas.” Although the site focuses on British history, many of the traditions that were established in Britain were influential in shaping how the holiday developed in the New World. Learn about the origins of the Christmas tree, Father Christmas, gift giving and more.
For a Christian perspective …
offers this article within its Catholic Encyclopedia. This exhaustive overview of Christmas has links to many historical figures, dates, places and events. Read about the ancient celebration of Christmas around the world, the origins of the date and word, as well as the liturgy and customs of Christmas.
promises “biblical and theological resources for growing Christians.” The site describes the history of Christmas, and its role today, with plenty of detail and a distinctly Christian perspective.
As the celebration evolved, many unique Christmas traditions came into practice. ... read more »
Nothing brings the family together like a busy kitchen. The smell of simmering spices and a hot ... read more »
Another great way to get into the holiday spirit is by decorating your home with Christmas ... read more »
Although some people love holiday and Christmas shopping, others bristle at the thought of long ... read more »
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