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Your Compass MONTHLY
FROM THE DESK OF Ty Wilson
THE SECRET ORIGINS OF CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS How Stockings, Caroling, and Black Friday Came to Be
Well, 2017 is almost on the books. Again we come to the part of the year where we reflect on the months behind us and maybe spend some time with our families and friends during the holidays. As you may know from last month’s newsletter, I have turned another year older. I hear people complain all the time about getting another year older. This makes no sense to me! We’re either getting older or we’re no longer around. I think in our world we think too casually about the downsides of being another year older. However, it really is a celebration. We are not guaranteed a long life. We’ve been successful with modern medicine, and fewer wars shorten our life expectancy. As I tell my daughter, you can choose to be happy or choose to be sad. You do have a choice. With the holidays, December is a pretty short month for productivity. From the Wilsons, please have a safe and happy holiday season. We will see you next year!
If you celebrate Christmas, odds are your family observes a number of traditions that commemorate the holiday season. While some of these might be unique to your household, there’s no doubt many of them are part of the holiday’s long cultural history. Part of what makes the holiday season so festive is the sense of collective participation, from shopping and decorating to leaving out cookies for Santa. Many of these timeworn traditions have surprising origins that you may never have known. The more you investigate, the more you find that Christmas truly is a global holiday. Stockings Have you ever considered how strange stockings are? We all leave them above the fireplace, often without wondering why Santa is so interested in filling socks with gifts. The touching story of this centuries-old custom reminds us of the spirit of Christmas. According to legend, the tradition began with one poor man, recently widowed, and his three daughters. While the daughters were all beautiful and intelligent, the man had no money for marriage and worried about what would happen to his children after he died. St. Nicholas heard of his plight, and knowing that the family would not accept charity, he devised a way to provide for them. He snuck down their chimney one night and found the girls’ stockings hung by the fireplace to dry. He filled them with gold coins before disappearing into the night. Today, stocking stuffers are a treasured gift category all their own. If you’re dismayed by the prospect of filling massive stockings for your kids while you play Santa this year, take solace in the fact that at least you won’t need to stuff them with solid gold.
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