A Look into the Past of a Wonderful History

The Birth of Jesus

Christmas is a holiday that celebrates the birth of the Son of God. It brought the religion of Christianity to full light and is now something people celebrate all over the world. Many people gather for church ceremonies on Christmas Eve and some even retell the story of Christ: how Mary and Joseph were denied room at the inn in Bethlehem and because of this Mary had to give birth to him in a stable, laid him in a manger, how the wise men came to give Jesus gifts, as well as others.

This belief is where the holiday of Christmas originates from. Without the birth of Christ, there would be no magical holiday to celebrate annually with family and friends.


Christmas Past

During ancient times, Christmas was celebrated with rowdy parties, much like Mardi Gras. In the 19th century, Americans reinvented Christmas, turning it from a carnival holiday, into a day of calm and family.

Religious reform swept the world in the 17th century. Puritan forces acquired English land in 1645, and took away the concept of self-indulgence, in turn ridding the world of Christmas Day. The Puritans who had come to the New World were even more Orthodox, and Christmas was not celebrated at all in early America. Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston from 1659-1681, and those who showed Christmas spirit were fined a large sum. Conversely, the Jamestown settlement declared Christmas to be openly celebrated and enjoyed by everyone.

December 25th wasn’t made a national holiday until 1870 after the American Revolution. Today it is celebrated by people all over the world in many different ways.


Santa Claus

In 280 A.D., a monk from Turkey named St. Nicholas invented “Santa”. This peacemaker gave away all of his wealth to the poor and sick. He became known as the protector of children and sailors.

In the late 18th century, Dutch-American families gathered in New York honoring the death of “Sint Nikolaas” (the Dutch name for Saint Nicholas), or “Sinter Klaas”. The name “Santa Claus” originated from this abbreviation.

In 1822, an Episcopal minister Clement Clarke Moore wrote “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas”. This Christmas poem is known today as “The Night Before Christmas”. Later in 1881, a political cartoonist named Thomas Nast drew on this poem, depicting the figure of Santa Claus with his bundle of toys that we know today.


Christmas Present

December 24th is known as Christmas Eve, and is the day that many celebrate by setting out milk and cookies for Santa or reading “The Night Before Christmas”. Families hang up stockings and wrap last minute presents before the big day.

Today people all over the world celebrate Christmas on December 25th. The weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with joy and excitement as families wrap gifts to put under their Christmas tree, as well as put up lights and decorations around the house. Christmas carolers go house to house brightening up the night with their lovely songs. These songs, such as Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls, Santa Baby, White Christmas, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, are played all over towns and in homes too. Families also love to host Christmas parties with friends and families, playing fun games and catching up.

On Christmas day many families open presents and stockings, and kids delight in the gifts they receive from Santa. Some might have Christmas service at church as well. Christmas meals are made with dishes such as turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, and stuffing. Families come together and celebrate, love and joy filling the air.


iUP Celebrations

Our iUP students have many ways that they celebrate Christmas. Maddox Rogers says, “We just go to the Christmas Eve service at my church, then open presents on Christmas morning then eat breakfast and just kinda hang out for the rest of the day.” This simple yet fun tradition is what makes Christmas so special. She also says, “I like going to Christmas parties and hanging out with friends and watching people open up the gifts I got them”. Seeing peoples’ faces light up with joy is a big part of what makes Christmas so special.

Another owl, Kendall Myers, says, “The day of Christmas my parents and I wake up earlier [and] get breakfast, which is usually French toast and hot chocolate… After breakfast we clean up before opening presents from Santa Claus! Once presents are done being opened, I play with my new gifts… For the rest of Christmas day we watch Christmas movies and have a big lunch/dinner.” She goes on to say, “My favorite part about Christmas is being able to gather as a family and have togetherness despite our busy lives from work, school etc.”.

Our owls have awesome traditions that they celebrate on this special holiday. Maybe you can take one of theirs and make it your own!


Christmas is such an amazing holiday filled with historical treasures and traditions that make it how it is today. This Christmas, take the time to remember the past, but also focus on the present and the joy of being together with family and loved ones.



  • Editors. (2009, October 27). History of Christmas. Retrieved December 17, 2021, from