Christmas traditions: a wrapped Christmas present laid out on a table.

Celebrating Christmas: old and new Christmas traditions

For most people Christmas is the best time of the year. The pre-Christmas season starts at the beginning of December where people start to decorate their homes and gardens with colourful lights and Christmas ornaments. Each Sunday in Advent one of the candles on the Advent wreath is lit and during advent children and adults alike can enjoy opening their Advent calendar. Another popular activity to do in the run up to Christmas is to bake Christmas biscuits, which smell very festive and will get you into a Christmassy mood. We enjoy all these traditional and Christmassy things in the run up to Christmas, which we celebrate with family and friends. Where do Christmas traditions come from? Are there other ways you could celebrate Christmas this year?

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Old Christ­mas tra­di­tions - where do Christ­mas tra­di­tions come from?

Advent wreaths and Christmas trees are an important tradition at Christmas for many families. Another popular tradition at Christmas time is visiting the Christmas markets with your family. However, in many places the origin of these Christmas traditions has been forgotten. Below we will briefly explain how these traditions came about.

The fes­tive­ly dec­o­rat­ed Christ­mas tree

One of the highlights at Christmas is the Christmas tree, which is well recognised as one of the main symbols for Christmas. Commonly they are put up in people’s living rooms or in market squares. Supposedly this Christmas tradition originated from the church. When the biblical story of Adam and Eve was first re-enacted, a tree represented the “tree of paradise” with the apples. Over time, a green tree with red baubles has become a tradition.


Did you know that...

The Christmas tree keeps its beautiful, green needles all year round. This reflects the hope that nature will awaken in spring and the cold winter will come to an end.


The Ad­vent wreath

The Advent wreath has four candles and on each Sunday in the run up to Christmas a candle is lit to mark the four Sundays of Advent, which is seen by some as a countdown to Christmas. It is not long until Christmas when all four candles have been lit. This was also the original idea of the Advent wreath, which has not been forgotten. In 1839 a pastor from Hamburg invented the first Advent wreath, which he gave to the orphans so that they knew when Christmas would be celebrated. At the time they still used 24 candles, however today this has been reduced down to four candles to mark the four Sundays of Advent.

Vis­it­ing the Christ­mas mar­kets

Christmas markets are great festive fun as you can try warm mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and buy some regional Christmas decorations. One of the oldest Christmas markets is probably the Dresdner Striezelmarkt, which dates back to as early as 1434. This means that we have been enjoying this festive tradition for around 600 years. Back then, the people of Dresden were able to stock up before Christmas and buy meat for the festive roast. Even today you can buy regional products at the Christmas market and enjoy getting together with family and friends to enjoy the Christmassy atmosphere.

New Christ­mas tra­di­tions – al­ter­na­tive ways to cel­e­brate Christ­mas

Old Christmas traditions are indispensable, however, some new ideas at Christmas can help to spice up old traditions or help you to feel inspired to try something new. Below you will find some ideas on how to celebrate Christmas a little differently this year:

Christmas traditions: two children wearing Christmas jumpers.

Fancy a festive giggle – try an “Ugly Christmas jumper”

Why not start Christmas with a big grin on your face? An ugly Christmas jumper has become a modern-day tradition at Christmas. Ugly Christmas jumpers are always a good laugh, and they help people to get into the festive spirit. Get into the Christmas spirit and enjoy this wonderful time of year by adding a Christmas headband or some quirky Christmas glasses to your outfit.

Tip: Why not spice up Christmas this year by thinking of some fun games to play or you could write down some interesting or unusual conversation topics on little cards. These are a just a couple of examples on how you could try something new at Christmas this year.

En­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness at Christ­mas

This is all about trying to use environmentally friendly packaging or trying to minimise waste. When it comes to cooking make sure to try and buy only locally sourced produce. You can still enjoy Christmas to the fullest whilst protecting the environment. Many people have now started to cut down on purchasing lots of presents and instead they are only give a couple of presents. These types of presents have become more meaningful gifts, which the recipient can use. Have you been thinking about cooking something else for Christmas this year, then why not try a vegetarian feast? You can find more tips on this topic in the following article “Sustainability at Christmas”.

En­joy­ing Christ­mas with­out get­ting stressed

At Christmas time it is becoming more and more popular to focus on time spent with family and friends. Some people like to go on holiday with their families, whereas others prefer to spend a relaxed Christmas at home with their family. At Christmas time everyone should relax and just enjoy spending time with their family and friends. Christmas dinner is a tradition in almost every household, but the time spent preparing and cooking everything can be a bit stressful. However, if everyone decides to cook together or if everyone brings something for the Christmas dinner then this can make everything a bit easier. The main thing is to make time for family and friends and to enjoy this wonderful time of year together.

Exchanging gifts: a baby playing under the Christmas tree.

A new approach to Christmas presents

Christmas presents change each year depending the on new trends. However, a lot of families have decided to only give a couple of presents, but the presents are more meaningful and better quality. It is also important to remember to be environmentally friendly especially at Christmas time to avoid any unnecessary waste. Here are a few ideas on how to exchange presents for a unique and fun experience:

  • Secret Santa: this fun Christmas tradition is suited to large groups or families. The names of the family members are written on individual pieces of paper and folded up and put into a hat or a bowl. Everyone draws a name from the hat or bowl and then gets a present for that person. This makes Christmas shopping easier as each person only needs to get one present.

  • Focused gift-giving: everyone takes turns opening their presents. This helps to slow down opening presents, which means everyone takes their time and enjoys unwrapping them and seeing what they have got.

  • Group gifts: this is a more sustainable alternative, which is suited to larger groups. Get together as a group and give larger more useful presents, which helps to reduce waste and everyone gets a gift that they will cherish more.


Bear in mind that...

Make notes of presents you would like to buy your family and friends as this will help to avoid any stress in the lead up to Christmas. This will also help you to know what you need to buy when you go Christmas shopping.


Christmas crafts with children

Christmas crafts with children

Christmas is a great time for of year for decorating, baking biscuits or getting creative with your children. You can create small decorative works of art together that you will enjoy for many years to come. You can decorate your living room or give them as gifts and bring great joy to friends and relatives. In the following article you will find a lot of great craft ideas, such as our Christmas winter landscape or cute elves made from pinecones. There is also a step-by-step PDF that you can use to create a great looking snowman out of old flower pots in no time at all.

Christmas crafts for kids
Baking Christmas biscuits with children – children decorating Christmas biscuits.

Baking Christmas biscuits with children

One of the best Christmas traditions is baking biscuits together. Baking delicious little treats and then decorating them during Advent is a great way to spend time with your Children. We will show you what you should be mindful of when baking biscuits with children so that the biscuits are a success. In the following article you will find biscuit recipes that are easy to make.

Baking Christmas biscuits with children
Making your own Advent calendar – different handmade Advent calendars presented on a table.

Making a homemade Advent calendar

Advent calendars are great especially for children who enjoy counting down the days until Christmas. Homemade Advent calendars are becoming more and more popular because they are often reusable and you can choose what to put in them. In the following article we will show you three different ideas for homemade Advent calendars that you can make in no time at all.

Making your own Advent calendar
Making your own homemade Christmas cards – step-by-step instructions on how to make your own Christmas cards.

Make some homemade Christmas cards to send your Christmas wishes

If you are unable to visit family and friends this Christmas, it is a good idea to send them a Christmas card with your Christmas wishes. Homemade Christmas cards are very special in comparison to bought ones. In the following article you will find various DIY ideas for homemade Christmas cards with step-by-step instructions on how to make them including a lovingly designed “Winter Wonderland” card. We will also give you some tips on how to safely send Christmas presents in the post.

How to make homemade Christmas cards
Various upcycling ideas made out of old jumpers and scarfs.

Upcycling for Christmas

When sorting through your winter clothes, you will often find a jumper that is worn out or it doesn’t fit as well as it used to or you simply don’t like it as much as you used to. If you would like to make some space in your wardrobe with a clear conscience, then you can turn old knitted jumpers into great Christmas decorations! By doing so you can enjoy your old items of clothing for longer and be environmentally friendly at the same time. In the following article you will find some ideas on upcycling knitted jumpers and woollen scarves. Simply follow our step-by-step instruction on how to create some modern, little Christmas trees out of an old knitted jumper.

Upcycling-DIYs for Christmas
Make your own Christmas presents - homemade Christmas presents presented on a table.

Making homemade Christmas presents

Christmas presents don't necessarily need to be expensive to show that a lot of thought has gone into them. Homemade Christmas presents are thoughtful and special, which your family and friends will love. They are also a great way to help you save you money. In the following article we will show you several simple creative ideas on how to make some fantastic homemade Christmas presents, which you can make at home to give to your loved ones.

Making homemade Christmas presents
Different ways of wrapping up Christmas presents - creatively and sustainably.

How to wrap Christmas presents creatively

To make your Christmas presents really stand out under the Christmas tree, you will need the right gift wrapping. In this article, we will give you some tips on how to wrap presents. It doesn’t matter whether you have a round or even a shapeless gift or perhaps you would like to wrap up some clothes – here you will find tips and step-by-step instructions on how to wrap every type of gift. We will also show you some ideas on how you can creatively decorate your gifts. If you would like to wrap gifts in an environmentally friendly way, you will find information on sustainable materials and alternatives such as Furoshiki wrapping.

How to wrap presents nicely
Having a sustainable Christmas - homemade Christmas presents are sustainable and also very special at the same time.

How to celebrate a sustainable Christmas

Even at Christmas time it is still important to be environmentally friendly. By following a few tips and tricks, you can help to minimise producing any unnecessary waste. It is also a good idea to use only locally sourced produce where possible when preparing your Christmas dinner. Buying wisely will help you to produce less waste and be more environmentally friendly. This is also important when buying “sustainable gifts”, which is particularly important at Christmas as the gift should be something that the recipient needs. In the following article, you will find useful tips and ideas on all of these aspects and also on how you can make your Christmas more environmentally friendly.

How to celebrate a sustainable christmas



(accessed on 05.10.2022)

(accessed on 05.10.2022)

(accessed on 05.10.2022)

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