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Christmas Traditions.

ken wain

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Christmas Traditions.

We all carry out these traditions every year,but what do we know about them?

Most of us put up a Christmas tree but I dare say that a lot of us don't know its origins; The first Christmas tree came to Britain with Queen Victoria's German husband Prince Albert when he came home with it from Germany in 1841. He set it up at Windsor castle and it soon became a popular yearly event and spread throughout the world. The trees were originally decorated by hanging small toys and bags of sweets on the branches .

Glass Baubles also originated from Germany as early as the 17th century; they were invented in the German glass blowing town of Lauscha . By 1880 Woolworth's were importing these from Germany making the company a fortune.

Boxing Day is nothing to do with boxing! It started in the UK about 800 years ago and was the day when the collection BOXES in Churches were opened and distributed amongst poor people in the local community, but now it is classed as a public holiday when

"Christmas Box Money" can be spent in the sales and traditional Horse Races and Football Matches take place .

Well, That's my starter for three;-------------Just for fun, lets see how many more posts we can get with your traditions and originations before Christmas day, ---------------Something with which to amaze the children?

I hope every one has a wonderful Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Here's the first description of a Christmas Tree I could find in the Sheffield Independent, just missing the boat for Christmas 1848. "On each tier or branch are arranged a dozen wax tapers" - who needed street lighting when you could find your way home laden with your Christmas feast ingredients, by the light of burning cottages?

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" Kindle the Christmas Brand, and then

Till sunset let it burn :

Which quench, then lay it up again

Till Christmas next return.

Part must be kept wherewith to teend (Light)

The Christmas log next year ;

And there 'tis safely kept, the fiend

Can do no mischief there."

Aberdeen Weekly Journal (Aberdeen, Scotland), Saturday, December 29, 1888;

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We visited my parents yesterday, and the conversation turned to Christmas past. My dad insisted on dictating an old song to my 16 year old son, who less than impressed, wrote it down – it’s transcribed below:

New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day

I saw the old homestead,

And faces I loved,

I saw England’s valleys and dales,

I listened with joy as I did when a boy,

To the sound of the old village bells.

The moon was shining brightly,

It was a night which could banish all sin,

The bells were ringing the old year out,

And the New Year in.

I wish you health,

I wish you wealth,

I wish you gold in store,

I wish you heaven after death,

What could I wish you more?

This was a song local to the Wincobank and Ecclesfield areas in the late 1930’s, other localities had others. It was a moneyspinner, and guaranteed a good return when invited in to sing for a party, or even on the doorstep.

He recalled one instance, where the carol singing group he was with visited the big house on the corner of Monckton Road and Shiregreen Lane, the one with a large garden, big iron gates and lots of garden ornaments. Anticipating a good reward, the lads sang their hearts out. Finally the occupants opened the letter box and poured a pile of pennies out – but on picking them up the lads found that they’d been kept in the fire and were red hot – burnt fingers all round. Christmas spirit departed, and one of the lads’ dads took retribution. Christmas morning at the big house found the gates off the hinges in the middle of a wrecked garden, ornaments broken and scattered…

Mother recalled being in assembly at school (Jericho street area) when the pupils were asked to put up their hands if their father was out of work. She did that and made sure her little brother Bill (unwillingly) did the same. The next day there were taken into town and lined up in a huge queue to go into the Cutlers Hall. On arriving at the front of the queue they were asked to choose a present. My mum’s turned out to be a doll, with a full set of knitted clothes. She lost the doll, along with everything else except a pair of brass candlesticks, when they were bombed out in the Blitz.

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We all enjoy eating a mince pie ,and the kids like to leave one for Santa on Christmas Eve along side the carrot for Rudolph.

The origins of the mince pie are traceable from the 13th century when the crusaders brought back recipes from the middle east.

Early English pies were much larger oblong shaped pies and made from shredded meats,suet,fruit and spices,whereas the modern versions

are now much smaller and sweeter,the only meat derivative being a small amount of suet.

GREGGS sold 7.5 million mince pies in 2011!


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Prior to the 16th century it was custom in England to eat Goose or a Hogs head for the Christmas dinner;

The Turkey bird was introduced in the early 16th century and Henry the V111 was reputed to be the first

English monarch to enjoy Turkey as part of his Christmas dinner,but it was made fashionable by Edward the V11.

Now it is enjoyed by roughly 75% of all British households on Christmas day,around 10 million consumed in 2012!.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas dinner and a wonderful day!!!!!



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The late 1930's in Jericho street. The slum clearance programme had allowed Mum's family to move to a slightly better house in time for Christmas. Great Grandfather hadn't wanted to leave the area for a brand new house on the Parsons Cross, but had taken the opportunity to move into a better class of slum.

The family settled down for Christmas Eve, happy in the knowledge that the front door was locked so that no-one who wasn't dark haired could enter at Christmas and bring bad luck down on them. Suddenly - panic! "OH! Oh! Oh!" Great Grandma jumped up and bolted to the kitchen. Forgotten - that now they had TWO doors to be locked on Christmas Eve!

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A favourite pastime in the district, to while away the monotony of being unemployed,
was pigeon flying. Every Christmas Day, the Daisy Walk Fanciers used to hold what
they called the Christmas Fly.The pigeons would be kept in boxes,
too small to be regarded as pigeon cotes and they were expected by their owners,
in a race, to hit the box first time, or else they were called some very nasty names and some even
had their necks pulled.

They used to put all the pigeons in baskets and send them to places like Didcot,
Basingstoke and Bournemouth and it was quite a sight to see the pigeons,
all locked in battle in the air, struggling to get safely into the boxes first time.
To win a race like this, or even to be placed in the first three,
meant a large money prize for the owners but after the Christmas holidays were over,
it was back to the tab-ends and the Labour Exchange for most of them.

The Walls Of Jericho, slum life between the wars.

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