Christmas Traditions

22 December 2020
In observance of the upcoming Christmas holiday, we thought we would share the history of some popular Christmas traditions.

Santa Claus
Jolly old Saint Nick can be traced back to 280 A.D. He was a monk in what is now known as modern-day Turkey. Known for his piety and kindness, it is said he traveled the countryside helping children and the sick. Dutch settlers brought Saint Nicholas to America around 1773, Santa Claus was derived from the nickname the Dutch had placed on him, Sinter Klaas.

Christmas Tree
The Germans are credited with the tradition of the Christmas tree. Dedicated Christians brought the trees into their homes in the 16th century, and decorated them with candles. Christians believed the pyramid shape of the evergreen trees symbolized the Holy Trinity. Christmas trees were noted to come to the United States in the early 1830s. An interesting fact, in 1904, the Hotel Del Coronado made world history when the hotel unveiled the world’s first outdoor, electrified, living Christmas tree in the world! Before electric Christmas lights, trees were illuminated with candles. The Hotel Del Coronado is located on Coronado Island in San Diego, CA and is home to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training. Aspiring students can be seen running on the beach behind “The Del” daily.

Christmas Stockings
Saint Nicholas is credited with the stocking tradition as well. According to a website, “One of the legends regarding Christmas stockings takes us to a small village where the destiny of the once-wealthy merchant and his daughters changed overnight when they fell into poverty. The father was worried about the future of his children and afraid that he wouldn’t be able to provide dowries for their marriages in the future. At that time, this meant almost humiliation due to the impossibility of wedlock. While the now-famous St.Nicholas traveled, he passed through the village and heard the sad story about the merchant and his daughter, learning from the locals that he would not accept any gifts of charity. One night, while he was riding his gorgeous white horse, he stopped at the merchant’s home and threw three bags filled with gold coins down the house’s chimney. The bags fell down right into the girls’ stockings which were hung by the fireplace mantle to dry. The next morning, the daughters and their father discovered the coins and jumped for joy. The young women married happily and prosperously, so, obviously, their story had a happily ever after. The details of their story spread among the villagers, whose children began hanging their stockings by the fireplace, hoping to receive presents from St. Nicholas.”

Enjoy your families this holiday season, remember those that can’t be with their families because of their commitments to protecting us, and stay safe this Holiday Season. And remember, the world needs HITTERS!
Quote of the Day “Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now take what’s left and live it properly.” – Marcus Aurelius
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