Although we are not Christians and we do not celebrate Christmas the same way as they do, we all enjoy the spirit of Christmas. It is a spirit of giving, sharing, forgiveness, family reunion, caring for others, a spirit of being thankful for what we have and above all a spirit of being kind and helping those who are less fortunate than we are.
Christmas, as you no doubt know, is to commemorate the birth of Jesus. Although it is not clear in history or from the bible when Jesus was born, legend has it that Christian church adopted to celebrate Christmas at the end of winter as they wanted it to replace the already popular winter festival which dated back to roman times.
I thought you might enjoy having your very own miniature Christmas in a box. I have chosen the following few items for you to symbolise Christmas, I will pack them and give it to your Mum to bring for you.
Although unclear when it became a tradition to decorate a tree for Christmas, that too dates back to the winter festival. In roman times traditionally an evergreen fir tree was decorated outside the houses and branches of it was used to decorate homes during the winter festival.
Some believe use of evergreen plants or trees was to symbolise the everlasting life with god. History has it that Romans were using branches of Fir Tree to decorate their temples during their Saturnalia festival.
As to taking the tree indoor and decorating it, again it is unclear when exactly it was adopted as a Christmas tradition and why. There are many different legends about when an why a tree was first brought to the house as well as why and how it was decorated.
"The first person to bring a Christmas Tree into a house, in the way we know it today, may have been the 16th century German preacher Martin Luther. A story is told that, one night before Christmas, he was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the tree branches. It was so beautiful, that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas".
Christmas Tree Decorations
The first Christmas Trees were decorated with edible things, such as gingerbread, gold covered apples, sweets & wafers. Later glass makers made special small ornaments similar to some of the decorations used today to decorate the trees and children started using colour paper, gold foil, tinsels, candles, etc to decorate their tree. It is believed that originally people used to put a figure of the Baby Jesus on the top of their tree. This in time has changed to an angel, a fairy or a star. Today that simple Christmas decoration has grown to a commercially profitable business that is hard to miss in any town.
Christmas crackers are favourite in the UK. They were first made in about 1850 by a London sweet maker called Tom Smith. He one night, while he was sitting in front of his log fire, became very interested by the sparks and cracks coming from the fire. Suddenly, he thought what a fun idea it would be, if his sweets and toys could be opened with a crack when their fancy wrappers were pulled in half. I hope you will enjoy opening miniature crackers I am sending you.
The use of candle for decoration also dates back to the ancient winter celebrations. No one knows when candles first became connected with Christmas, but let's not forget that candles were the main source of light after dark and their use in any winter festival (short days) was hardly surprising.
Originally candles were used to decorate Christmas Trees but as they were responsible for starting many fires now days they are replaced by the safer electric lights.
It is nice to lit a scented candle in a cold winter evening. It provides a gentle, soft light and gives a feeling of warmth.
I included a small box of sweets in your package as usually during Christmas people treat themselves to some chocolate. Olden days an ordinary familie couldn't afford to have good food, including chocolate, on a daily basis and Christmas was one of the rare and special occasions when parents were treating their children to the chocolate. It was very special and children were looking forward to it the whole year. Nowadays it doesn't have the same meaning as we can afford chocolate during the year, but Christmas is a good excuse to have something sweet.
I hope you like my Christmas card this year. I thought the Fairy is a nice idea as you can use it as a decoration on your tree.
The custom of sending Christmas cards was started in the UK in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. He was a civil servant (Government worker) who was very interested in the new 'Public Post Office' and wondered how it could be used more by ordinary people.Sir Henry had the idea of Christmas Cards with his friend John Horsley, who was an artist. They designed the first card and sold them for 1 shilling each. (That is only 5p or 8 cents today(!), but in those days it was worth much much more.) The card had three panels. The outer two panels showed people caring for the poor and in the centre panel was a family having a large Christmas dinner! Some people didn't like the card because it showed a child being given a glass of wine!
- Frankincense was a perfume used in Jewish worship and, as a gift, it showed that people would worship Jesus.
- Gold was associated with Kings and Christians believe that Jesus is the King of Kings.
- Myrrh was a perfume that was put on dead bodies to make them smell nice and, as a gift, it showed that Jesus would suffer and die.
But still all over the world, families and friends give presents to each other. It is an occasion to treat your loved ones. I bought you couple of present as well and I hope you will like them.