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A Bit of Holiday Tradition History

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The Christmas holiday is steeped in tradition. You may not know that Christmas became a federal holiday in the United States in 1870. The United States has an official Christmas Tree though it does not stand at the White House or on the Capitol Grounds. President Calvin Coolidge christened a giant sequoia in California’s Kings Canyon National Park “Americas Official Christmas Tree” in 1926. Many traditions date before the holiday was federally recognized in the United States. The Poinsettia flower is named for the American Minister who brought the plant to America from Mexico in 1828. The first Christmas Trees were erected in town squares in Estonia in 1441 and Latvia in 1510 where they were danced around and then set on fire! As time progressed, trees were decorated with fruit and nuts. By the mid 1800’s German glass makers were creating early ornaments in the same theme symbolically hoping for a bountiful spring after a long winter. Eggnog’s credit goes to medieval Britain but found its way to the early colonies in the 1700’s. By the 1880’s Thomas Edison was stringing Christmas lights together and in 1895 President Grover Cleveland added Christmas lights to the White House. How different our holidays would be without these traditions!

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