Christmas traditions have lost their meanings

EmmaRae Hayes, Staff Writer

For some, Christmas means brightly shining lights on trees and railings, proud nutcrackers on guard, stockings waiting to be filled with treats and toys, mistletoe waiting to catch guests by surprise.

However, many who recognize these decorating traditions may not know the origins of these items. Straying from the original intent can be bad for those who truly wanted to keep the old traditions alive.

Let’s start with the Nutcrackers, a wooden figurine that takes the personas of kings, church leaders, policemen and soldiers, according to History’s official website. Before then, they were just wooden figures that the people in the village made to help bring in income. Although I don’t believe they should continue to be used as a way to bring income into a town or city, I do believe that we should come to appreciate those who came up with them in the first place. The villagers had worked hard to make those decorative pieces, and Germany as a whole took pride in those nutcracker dolls that many now love today. A country’s pride should be respected because it makes them feel happy and accomplished, to know that they were able to make something so small so significant without having the intention to do so. 

Mistletoe was introduced to British culture in the 18th century, believing it to have “life-giving” abilities and helping women to marry in the next year as long as they accept a kiss under the mistletoe, also according to History’s official website. Today people see it more a prank with friends or to embarrass someone who has a crush, rather than the original symbol of love and hope. People should try to stick to the original meaning since not many Christmas decorations are dedicated to love, especially marriage. Presents and making cookies for loved can be a way to show love, but not much else is really dedicated directly to love like the mistletoe was, and to make a joke out a symbol of love seems disrespectful to me.

More well-known and widely used is the Christmas stocking. One origin story says a generous nobleman named Nicholas wanted to help a needy merchant during the holidays so he dropped three pouches of gold coin the chimney according to DoItYourself’s official website. The gift accidentally landed in the stockings of the merchant’s daughters, left to dry on the hearth. As the story spread the “magical” aspect grew, and today we hang up stockings in hopes of getting sweets and trinkets ourselves. Generosity and kindness is what the holiday as a whole is based off of, and to take lightly of something that helps to represent that is honestly sad, because this decoration had a meaningful story behind it, yet we didn’t come to appreciate it. These two attributes are two of the many things people need and want in a healthy friendship or relationship, so to be able to express that in any way possible really can make a person feel appreciated and loved.

Traditions in of itself is a part of many cultures of the world, and many hold those dear and close to their hearts. That’s why it is important to understand the origin of traditions, whether it be for Christmas or not. Because through understanding we can try our best to preserve and keep alive traditions that many could forget in the years to come.