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The Fillmore Central Falconer

The History of Christmas

Christmas is a time of joy and celebration across the world. But where did this famous holiday begin? People often believe that Christmas originated solely because of Jesus Christ, but the history of celebration in December can be traced back way before this. Winter had been established as a time of joy and festivities over many eras and places around the world. 

The winter solstice was a cause for many people to celebrate. They looked forward to extended hours of sunlight, celebrated the harvest, and hoped that the worst of winter was behind them. Romans and Europeans would often have festivals, feasts, and celebrations around this time in December. Over time, many places would start to develop stories and traditions that went along with the celebrations. In the beginning years of Christianity, Easter was the main, celebrated holiday. Later, church officials decided to make Jesus’s birth an official holiday. Since the Bible did not put the exact date of Jesus’s birth, it is said that Pope Julius I chose December 25, so that it could absorb the traditions of other celebrations during that time. Due to this, Christmas would be popularly embraced by people and even replace a few religions. It would spread across the nation and become popularly known and celebrated. There are of course still several different holidays that are celebrated around this time like Hanukkah and Yule. No matter the religion, this wintery time came to be recognized as a time of joy and happiness. 

During the 19th century, Americans started to embrace Christmas more. One of the factors that helped this was Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” His story and message helped inspire people across the States and influenced them to celebrate Christmas. People started to treat Christmas as the classic family holiday. We started gaining many new and fun traditions. One of these traditions of course being the classic Santa Claus. Santa Claus is said to have originated from a monk named St. Nicholas who was said to have given away his wealth and helped the poor and sick. The legend of Santa Claus is known in many places around the world and has many names including Kris Kringle, Saint Nicholas, and Father Christmas. It then came to American culture when Dutch families honored the anniversary of the death of “Sint Nikolaas,” which is where Santa Claus draws his name from. Then Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem popularly known as “Twas The Night Before Christmas,” which depicted Santa Claus and helped him become drawn and immortalized as the way we commonly know him today. 

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I think it is super important for people to know the history of the holiday they are celebrating, even if they aren’t celebrating it for the same reasons it originated. Everybody has their own views of the holiday and has their own unique and special traditions. I just think it is interesting to see where it all came from. Although I didn’t put the specific beginnings of all the traditions, I would recommend looking into it because there are some cool backstories to them. Even looking into the traditions from places far around the world can be very enlightening and fun. Christmas is a special time, and it has so many things associated with it. It’s kind of crazy to think about all the things we do this time of year and how far this holiday has come since starting so long ago. 

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About the Contributor
Jillian Tieskotter
Jillian Tieskotter is a junior at Fillmore Central High School. She has one older sister and one younger brother. She enjoys reading, watching movies, and listening to music. She lives on a farm and spends a lot of time outdoors. She loves to spend time with her family and friends. 
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