Where do Christmas traditions come from?

No matter the holiday tradition, we all have them

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Do you have a holiday tradition you’re looking forward to?

Maybe you’ve chopped the tree, hung the stockings and are waiting on a visit from the man in the red suit.

“We hunt almost every day. We hunt Christmas evening,” Chelsey Ensley says. “Then we fry a turkey and enjoy ourselves with all our family.”

No matter the tradition, whether one that’s unique to your family or one that’s known around the world, we all have them.

“For us, the most important thing is celebrating Christ’s birth,” Elisha Ruhlen says.

But where did they come from and why did they start in the first place?

“America is a nation of immigrants,” Historian Michael Hudson with the Old City Cemetery says. “It stands to reason a nation of immigrants should have so many cultures, so many different traditions pouring into this melting pot that we call American culture.”

Hudson says Christmas traditions first came to America with the Germans in the 1840s and the 1850s, including decorating the tree and Santa Claus.

“These traditions were celebrated with loved ones who’ve gone on before us,” Hudson says. “I think it’s a way to unify us both with our past, as well as our present.”

He adds tradition brings comfort and never underestimate the power of nostalgia.

About the Author:

Kortney joined the 10 News team as a Lynchburg Bureau Reporter in May 2021.