Old Fashioned Christmas Traditions
Christmas has to be one our favourite times of year, with the sparkling decorations, delicious food and drink and everyone around us in high spirits. And it`s a time where friends and family come together to take part in a whole host of traditional Christmas activities that have been around for many years.
Though these days, the advent calendar is often an excuse for kids to eat a piece of chocolate everyday, the hanging of an advent calendar used to be part of the religious traditions that surround this time of year. Dating back to the end of the 1800`s, the calendar would often depict images taken from the Bible and was proudly displayed on the first of December to count down the days to Christmas Eve.
Decorations have also been popular for many years, although originally the festive decorating would be done as part of a celebration on Christmas Eve and never before. Bringing decorations into the house before this day was thought to be bad luck. Likewise the decorations would stay up until the 2nd of February, also known as Candlemas Day to celebrate the 40 days since the birth of Jesus. During the reign of Queen Victoria this changed and it was thought best to remove all decorations by the 12th day of Christmas, the 5th of January.
Christmas trees date back thousands of years, originally used to celebrate mid-winter festivals. Back then though it was the trees outside that were decorated, as a way of inviting the tree spirits to help the trees grow for another year. The idea of trimming the tree and bringing it indoors became popular in England in 1841 by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria who brought back a tree from Germany and decorated it with candles.
Tales of Father Christmas have been around for hundreds of years and it is thought he was originally a symbol figure for the old English mid-winter festival. These days he is depicted as a jolly old ma who spends Christmas Eve travelling the globe delivering toys and gifts to only the good boys and girls. Originally dressed in green, his red coat became popular following a Christmas advert for Coca Cola in the 1930`s.
The tradition of sending Christmas cards began back in 1843 when a rich businessman asked his friend to design and print a card he could send out to all his friends and colleagues to wish them a merry Christmas. His friend obliged and printed 1000 of these Christmas cards which he then sold for a shilling each. They were instantly loved and over the following years more cards were printed each Christmas.
Old Fashioned Christmas toys
There are so many children`s toys to choose from it can make finding great presents difficult. Searching for the perfect Christmas gift is hard and often the new toy will be played with for a little while then put aside and forgotten. There are lots of great electronic toys with flashing lights and noise as well as video games, but do they really fire a child`s imagination?
Some of the best children`s toys are the ones that have stood the test of time, think back to your favourite toys when you were little. They gave a basis for creative play which is not possible through a video game or pressing buttons to make lights flash. With some modern electronic toys it can seem as if the child is a spectator, watching the toy rather than participating in a game.
Toddlers love old fashioned toys. Wooden building blocks on a trolley are great for stacking and knocking down again. The trolley is perfect for helping to balance when learning to walk and later for moving toys around during play. A Jack in Box provides hours of `peek a boo` fun for babies and toddlers, who can develop their motor skills winding the handle. Spinning tops are also loved by babies who enjoy watching the pictures spin round. Small children love wooden pull along toys, they also encourage walking. Push along cars and other vehicles are great fun for children, the wide variety available means they are suitable for lots of imaginative play.
Toy farms or zoos where they can play with the animals are great for creative play and speech development as they learn the animal`s names and make the noises.
Children love craft activities such as painting and making models with clay. Activities such as sewing and bead threading are great for creativity and helps fine motor skills develop. For slightly older children there are old fashioned knitting dolls where they can create their own designs.
Jigsaw puzzles and board games such as solitaire, chequers or draughts help problem solving skills and are perfect for a child to do alone or practise taking turns with someone else. Other great board games include snakes and ladders and ludo.
Dolls are enduringly popular, from toy babies in prams to dolls which can be dressed up in different clothes. Doll`s houses are great fun to play with. Styling a dolls hair and makeup can be endless fun as there are so many possibilities, these make a great gift for girls boys top Christmas presents include building and construction toys where they can create machines or buildings.