Christmas Origins

By: Thomas Horvath

When you think of Christmas, what do you think of? Presents, cookies, Santa, all sorts of things. But most of us never think about why we celebrate this holiday in the first place. In this article, I will go over how Christmas and its traditions came to be what they are now.

We began celebrating Christmas because of the birth of Jesus Christ, hence the name Christmas. The first Christmas ever recorded was in Rome on December 25, 336 A.D. The reason Christmas was established as a holiday was likely because of Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome. Christians celebrated by feasting and giving each other gifts, much like modern-day Christmas. 

While it seems like everyone loves Christmas, it was once a banned holiday. In the seventeenth century, a man named Oliver Cromwell seized power in England. He was a puritan, a protestant who believed that Christianity in England at the time was unscriptural and wrong. After taking control, he decided that Christmas was no longer a holiday and banned it from being celebrated. However, once King Charles II was brought back to power the holiday was restored.

The person that has most influenced the holiday, besides Jesus, would be St. Nicholas, the Patron-Saint of children. He was known for being kind and generous, which led to people all around the world telling legends about the man, such as delivering gifts the night before Christmas. This legend has evolved into Santa Claus. Santa Claus is now used as a character to market and celebrate Christmas, with children being told he comes on his sleigh at night and leaves gifts for children who were good under their Christmas tree. The Christmas tree comes from Germans in the middle ages decorating trees as forms of festivity. 

These traditions have made Christmas highly recognizable and celebrated, today even people who are not Christian celebrate Christmas. Christmas has grown from being a holiday created to celebrate the birth of Christ to the season of giving.  

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