Genealogy Tip: Christmas Traditions of Our Ancestors

St Nicholas

Ever wonder why we bring a tree into our homes or why we adorn it with lights and tinsel? Why do we hang a stocking? How did egg nog become a beverage associated with the festive season? When did a white haired man in a red suit begin to deliver gifts to children? Why do we eat turkey and stuffing? Why do we buy gifts for each other?

There are countless traditions and customs practised throughout the world at this time of year. Most of these rituals have been passed down to us from our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. We do these things each year without thinking. Our ancestors brought their traditions with them to the new world and their annual rites of the Christmas season became entrenched in North American culture.

What about our ancestors who did not leave their homelands, but remained in their countries of origin? How are their traditions different than the ones who came to the new world? Below, are some links to Christmas traditions throughout the world. Click on the links to discover where these customs originated and how they are still practised today in your ancestral homelands and in your own home today:

I invite you to comment on the origins of your family’s Christmas traditions and share your ancestral customs with our readers. (To share your traditions – click on ‘comment’ at the end of this article) Merry Christmas!










Arlene Stafford-Wilson, Genealogist, Historian, Author –

I invite you to comment on your family’s Christmas traditions below and share with our readers:

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