From Jesus to Santa


Hallie Lint, Staff Writer

     Christmas time is here! By now practically everyone has their trees up, and their homes full to the brim with decorations. Smells of pine and cinnamon fill the air as the temperature drops below freezing. When darkness falls, the streets are filled with the soft glow of lights that the neighbors put on their houses weeks ago. Every family member’s stocking is hung on the mantle with a warm, crackling fire below in the fireplace. Now it is time to watch Home Alone for the fifth time this year, and wrap up in blankets while eating popcorn with a large mug of hot cocoa. These traditions are what make Christmas time so special and nostalgic for so many people, but where did they come from anyway? How did we, as a society, adapt Christmas to be full of big extravagant celebrations from the humble birth of Jesus?

     Nativity plays are quite easily the most common Church productions around Christmas time. They focus on the birth of Jesus through different points of view and are designed to make the audience remember the true gift of Christmas. Granted, some plays are more elaborate and flashy than others, but the message is still there. Nativity scenes have a long history of almost 800 years, dating back to the first documented Nativity which was credited to St. Francis of Assisi in 1223. They are also commonly displayed in people’s yards around the holidays, taking people back to the simpler memories of Christmas. 

     Christmas trees have become a necessity in this day and age for holiday cheer. Apparently, there is nothing like dragging a dead tree into your home and putting lights on it. Fun, right? All joking aside, the Christmas tree serves as the centerpiece of the homes that have one all throughout December. They are decorated with colorful lights, shiny ribbon, and dazzling decorations that just make people feel at home during the Christmas season. We can thank 16th-century Germans for giving us this tradition! Christmas trees were popularized in the 1850s by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria after they displayed one at Windsor Castle. Since then, Christmas trees have become a staple in most decorative ensembles today. 

     To get in the festive spirit, a lot of people enjoy singing Christmas carols or listening to a favorite Spotify Christmas playlist. Almost every aspect of Christmas now has a song that goes with it. Christmas music has come a long way since the early carols. There are now thousands of classics, modern originals, carols, and remixes of every song out there to listen to. It is no wonder that there are so many; Christmas carols have been around since the fourth century! There are plenty of songs to choose from that make this season a little brighter each year. 

     Santa, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, and St. Nicholas are all names I am sure that you have heard before. A limitless number of names for one mythical man who brings all the kids of the Earth gifts on Christmas every year. And did I mention he sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake? It is a little creepy if you ask me, but little kids love the tradition. For some families, It would not be Christmas without Santa having some part in the celebration. How did an imaginary man become such a huge part of a worldwide holiday? Santa is based on a Greek bishop, St. Nicholas, who gave away his money to children and the poor during the 4th century. The Santa tradition was brought to America in the late 18th century. Since then a lot has changed. What once was people honoring the date of St. Nicholas’s death has become the creation of the jolly old man with a white beard and a red suit we all hear about around Christmas time.