From Christmas trees to eggnog: How some holiday traditions started

Home for the Holidays

(WTWO/WAWV) Every year, many of us follow certain Christmas traditions like putting up a tree or drinking eggnog. Do you ever wonder where these traditions came from?

According to history.com, Christmas trees date back to the symbolic use of evergreens in ancient Egypt and Rome. In Germany in the 1600s, devout Christians put candlelit trees in their homes. Germans brought the idea of a Christmas tree to America in the 1800s.

You can thank the Brits for eggnog. Southern Living Magazine says in medieval Britain, people drank spiced milk containing ale or wine.

It eventually became a drink for the wealthy with added whipped eggs and sherry.

When it made it’s way to the U.S. colonies in the 1700s, families swapped out the sherry for much cheaper and more readily available whiskey or rum. Of course today, you can also buy the non-alcohol versions.

Multiple reports say George Washington even served an eggnog like drink to guests at his home.

When it comes to Christmas cards, Good Housekeeping says a very busy man came up with the idea.

It was customary to send Christmas letters to friends and acquaintances, but in 1843 Henry Cole simply did not have time. So, he commissioned an artist to create a card that said, “A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.”

By the 1860s, Christmas cards became popular.

Another popular Christmas tradition is the poinsettia. Multiple sources, including Teleflora, say poinsettias’ association with Christmas come from a Mexican legend.

A girl going to a Christmas Eve service needed a gift to lay at the altar. She gathered weeds from the side of the road. The congregation then watched what they called a miracle when the weeds turned into red and green flowers.

Poinsettias are named after Joel Roberts Poinsett. He was first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. He brought the flower to the United States.

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