Where America Gets Christmas Traditions

Like all countries, America has a unique tradition of Christmas. We celebrate Christmas on December 25th because that date appeared on a Roman calendar from 336 A.D. as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Here, we begin the Christmas season on Black Friday, celebrate with greetings of “Merry Christmas,” drink eggnog, and await a visit from jolly old Saint Nick. While Christmas around the world draws its origins from a similar source, there are lots of variations on when and how it is celebrated. But did you know many of our traditions came from abroad?

Sweden – ‘God Jul!’, Finland – ‘Hyvää Joulua!’, Norway – ‘Gledelig Jul!’

These Scandinavian countries begin the Christmas season on December 13th, which is known as St. Lucia Day. They celebrate by brightly illuminating their houses, which is where we get Christmas lights. They also leave their shoes on the fireplace hoping for a gift from St. Nick, which is where we get the tradition of hanging stockings. From Norway comes the tradition of the Yule Log. “Yule” is derived from the norse word hweol, meaning wheel, and the burning of a round log is a celebration of the sun, which they believed to be a great wheel of fire that rolled across the sky.

Germany – ‘Froehliche Weihnachten!’

Germany gives us the tradition of the Christmas Tree. The first decorated tree making its holiday appearance was found in Strasbourg at the beginning of the 17th century and became a national tradition by the beginning of the 18th century.

Great Britain – ‘Merry Christmas!’

From England comes the tradition of sending Christmas cards. The first was sent in the 1830’s, and the tradition was quickly adopted by Americans in the 1850’s thanks to newly efficient post offices that could deliver the cards in just a few days. Caroling also comes from England, where musicians used to sing during the holiday hoping for a hot meal or money. Ireland gives us the tradition of mistletoe, where Celtic people began hanging it in their homes to bring themselves good luck and to ward off evil kisses. It is said to contain the ability to heal wounds and increase fertility, which is where the kissing comes into play.


It’s amazing to think that so many of our beloved traditions come from overseas. But while their origins come from elsewhere, we have managed to make them uniquely American. Do you know what didn’t come from overseas? Insurance! According to the Ohio Historical society, in 1897 the first person to buy an automotive liability insurance policy was Gilbert J. Loomis. The policy was issued in Dayton, Ohio, and protected Loomis if his car damaged property or injured or killed another individual. Now we need it for our cars, and since most states require car insurance, Good2Go Auto Insurance can help drivers get the coverage they may need with minimum limits coverage. Visit www.Good2Go.com or call 1-855-646-4661 today for a free, no-obligations quote on minimum coverage car insurance!

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