Christmas is a shortened form of Christ’s mass.It is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which is from Old English Crīstesmæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038 followed by the word Cristes-messe in 1131.
in the 15th century it was the custom at Christmas
for every house and all the parish churches to be decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green.
According to eighth-century biographer Æddi Stephanus, Saint Boniface (634–709), who was a missionary in Germany, took an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Thor and pointed out a fir tree. Popular holiday plants include holly, mistletoe, red amaryllis, and Christmas
According to tradition, on Christmas
Eve children leave their shoes by the fireplace filled with carrots
and treats for Père Noël’s donkey, Gui (“Mistletoe”) before they go to bed.
The tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts, or other foods. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the advent of electrification.
The earliest extant specifically Christmas hymns appear in 4th-century Rome. Latin hymns such as “Veni redemptor gentium”, written by Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, were austere statements of the theological doctrine of the Incarnation in opposition to Arianism. “Corde natus ex Parentis” (“Of the Father’s love begotten”) by the Spanish poet Prudentius (d. 413) is still sung in some churches today.
Rolls of brightly colored paper with secular or religious Christmas motifs are manufactured for the purpose of wrapping gifts. In some countries, Christmas decorations are traditionally taken down on Twelfth Night, the evening of January 5.
In the United Kingdom and countries influenced by its traditions, a standard Christmas meal includes turkey, goose or other large bird, gravy, potatoes, vegetables
, sometimes bread
and cider. Special desserts are also prepared, such as Christmas pudding, mince pies, fruit cake
and Yule log cake.
Eggnog is a sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture). Spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon are often added. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
Slovaks prepare the traditional Christmas bread
potica, bûche de Noël in France, panettone in Italy
, and elaborate tarts and cakes. The eating of sweets and chocolates has become popular worldwide, and sweeter Christmas delicacies include the German stollen, marzipan cake or candy
, and Jamaican rum fruit cake