Christmas Traditions, page 5!
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The Christmas season is celebrated in different ways around the world,
varying by country and region.

Christmas Stamps: "Many nations of the world issue Christmas stamps, postage stamps with a Christmas theme and intended for use on seasonal mail such as Christmas cards. These stamps are regular postage stamps, unlike Christmas seals, and are valid for postage year-round. They usually go on sale some time between early October and early December, and are printed in considerable quantities.

Singing Procession: "The Star boys' singing procession has children and young people walking about with a movable star on a rod. The singing procession and the folk drama had its roots in an old medieval ecclesiastical play, centred on the Three Magi of the Christmas story in Matthew's (Mt 2,1-28), appropriate to Epiphany (from Greek επιφανεια, epiphaneia).  The liturgical drama developed from the 16th Century on, as it was performed by cathedral schoolboys, to become a more secular mystery drama, containing also some ordinary Christmas songs and carols. 
The singing procession and play was usually observed each year during the period between 27. December and 6. January (the feast of the Epiphany)."

Christmas Stocking: "A Christmas stocking is an empty sock or sock-shaped bag that children hang on Christmas Eve so that Santa Claus can fill it with small toys, candy, fruit, coins, or other small gifts when he arrives. These small items are often referred to as stocking stuffers or stocking fillers. In some Christmas stories, the contents of the Christmas stocking are the only toys the child receives at Christmas from Santa Claus. Other presents are wrapped up in wrapping paper and placed under the Christmas tree. Tradition in Western culture dictates that a child who behaves badly during the year will receive only a piece of coal."

Tinsel : "Tinsel was originally a metallic garland for Christmas decoration. Nowadays it is typically made of plastic, and used particularly to decorate Christmas trees. In addition it can be hung from walls or ceilings and is normally flexible enough to be wrapped around almost anything e.g. statues or lampposts. Tinsel in its modern form was invented in Higham Ferrers, England in 1843, and was originally made of shredded silver."

Vertep: "Vertep (Ukrainian and Russian: Вертеп) was a kind of portable puppet theatre and the corresponding type of drama in the culture of East Slavs (Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians) which presented the nativity scene, other mystery plays, and later secular plots as well. The original meaning of the word is "secret place", "cave", "den", referring to the cave where Christ was born, i.e., the Bethlehem Cave "Вифлеемский вертеп" in the liturgy of the Russian Orthodox Church. It originated in 17th century, coming from the Western Europe via Poland, where it was known as szopka, to Ukraine, and finally to Russia."

"A typical vertep was a wooden box, one or two storeyed. The floors had slots through which the puppeteers controlled wooden puppets. The upper floor of the two-storeyed box was used for the nativity scene, while the lower was for interludes and other mystery plays (most often featuring the Herod and Rachel plots) and secular plays, often of comedy character."

Christmas Village: "A Christmas village (or putz) is a decorative, miniature-scale village often set up during the Christmas season. These villages are rooted in the elaborate Christmas traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Mass-produced cardboard Christmas villages became popular in the United States during the early and mid-20th century, while porcelain versions (especially those created by the company Department 56) became popular in the later part of the century."

Origins: "The tradition of decorative Christmas villages is rooted in the holiday traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch. In early-colonial American Moravian homes, the construction of a nativity scene, or putz, at the base of a Christmas tree was a very common holiday activity."

Wassailing: "Wassailing as a practice falls into two distinct categories. The House-Visiting wassail, very much similar to caroling, is the practice of people going door-to-door singing Christmas carols. In modern times, it is most commonly known through reference in various traditional Christmas carols (e.g., "Here we come a-wassailing / among the leaves so green"). The Orchard-Visiting wassail refers to the practice of singing to trees in apple orchards in cider-producing regions of England to promote a good harvest for the coming year."

Wreath: "A wreath is a ring made of flowers, leaves and sometimes fruits that can be used as an ornament, hanging on a wall or door, or resting on a table. A small wreath can be also worn on the head as a form of headdress.

Symbolism:"Wreaths are usually made from leafs, evergreens as a symbol for the strength of life, with these plants overcoming even the harshest winters. Such wreaths often use Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) and can be categorized as laurel wreaths. Other components of a wreath can be pine, holly or yew, symbolizing immortality, and cedar, symbolizing strength and healing."

Yule Goat: "The Yule Goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian and Northern European Yule and Christmas symbols and traditions. Yule Goat originally denoted the goat that was slaughtered around Yule, but it may also indicate a goat figure made out of straw. It is also used about the custom of going door-to-door singing carols and getting food and drinks in return, often fruit, cakes and sweets. "Going Yule Goat" is similar to the British custom wassailing, both with heathen roots."

Yule Log: "A Yule log is a large wooden log which is burned in the hearth as a part of traditional Yule or Christmas celebrations in several European cultures. It can be a part of the Winter Solstice festival or the Twelve Days of Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or Twelfth Night."

"The expression "Yule log" has also come to refer to log-shaped Christmas cakes, also known as "chocolate logs" or "Bûche de Noël". The Yule log is related to other Christmas and Yuletide traditions such as the Ashen faggot."

Christmas Traditions  -  Page 2  -  Page 3  -  Page 4

Resources:  This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article christmastraditions / and other related pages. Top photo: wikipedia, little girl
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