TITIVATE the tinsel, dust off the decorations and prepare the pudding – Christmas is on its way.
No matter what age you are or how you decide to celebrate the festive season, there are bound to be certain traditions you follow.
Every year it seems people decorate their houses ready for Christmas earlier and earlier, but in days gone by decorations were only put up on Christmas Eve and not before. In fact it was deemed extremely unlucky to bring evergreens, the traditional item used as decorations, into the house before that date.
One item that definitely won’t go up until Christmas Eve is, of course, the stocking – ready for Father Christmas to fill with lots of goodies.
The tradition of the Christmas stocking is said to come from a story of a widowed noble man and his three daughters.
Despondent over the death of his wife, the man squandered his fortune, leaving nothing to use as dowries for his daughters when they were eligible to marry.
One evening, after washing their stockings, the daughters hung them near the fireplace to dry.
The generous St Nicholas heard of the family’s plight and threw three bags of gold coins down the chimney into the girls’ stockings.
The daughters were now able to marry and live happily ever after.
And today, children still often find gold coins in their stockings... although they are made of chocolate.
Of course everyone knows that Christmas lasts 12 days. Twelfth Night, January 5, is the time for partying to end and decorations to be taken down.
But did you know, that if you received all the presents in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas you would end up with 364 gifts – phew!