The True Stories Behind Popular, but Weird, Christmas Traditions

The True Stories Behind Popular, but Weird, Christmas Traditions

Why do trees, stockings, and St. Nick = Christmas?
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Those of us who celebrate Christmas have many traditions that we partake in without even thinking twice about the fact that are actually pretty weird, and any other time of year they would not be socially acceptable. Here's why some of the most common Christmas traditions (that are actually a little strange) were even created in the first place.

1. Santa Claus


When you really think about the legend of Santa Claus, it is actually a very unusual tradition. Why is it that only at Christmastime, we teach our children that it is completely normal for an old man in a red suit to break into our houses and bring us gifts? Don't we also teach children "stranger danger?" I'm very confused by who came up with this tradition.

The strange tradition of Santa Claus was created from the legend of a monk named St. Nicholas who traveled his country sharing his wealth with the poor (source). Which brings us to our next weird tradition...

2. Stockings

Why is it socially acceptable to hang oversized socks by our fireplaces? Not only is this unusual, but it is also a little dangerous to hang fabric that close to a burning fire. And who wants to eat candy that has been inside of a sock?

However, there's a famous legend behind the creation of this tradition. There was once a family with several daughters living in poverty. St. Nick came to their town and heard about the family's situation. He came down their chimney, saw their stockings hanging over the fire to dry, and filled them with gold coins. The family was overjoyed when they woke up to find the wonderful gift (source).Thus, the tradition of hanging stockings by the fireplace was born.

3. Tacky Christmas Lights

Drive through any neighborhood in America during the month of December, and you're likely to see at least a few houses with elaborate displays of lights outside their houses. While displaying bright, and sometimes multicolored, lights doesn't seem to have any connection to the Christmas holiday, it has become an iconic symbol of the season.

The first Christmas light display was created by Thomas Edison. He showed it for the first time next to a set of train tracks for all of the passengers on board to see. Later, Edward Johnson created the first string lights to be sold in stores around the country (source). Hence, the tradition of creating beautiful lights displays became a lasting tradition.

4. Christmas Trees

Again, it is only at Christmastime that it is normal to use a live tree as a piece of beautiful home decor, and to decorate that tree with lights and decorations. Any other time of the year, this would not be socially acceptable.

It is believed that Germany was the first country in which Christmas trees were brought inside homes, and Martin Luther was the first to decorate a tree with candles as a symbol of the holiday. This was viewed as a strange practice by Americans until Queen Victoria began following this tradition, which led America to practice this tradition as well. Ever since, strings of popcorn have been traded in for strings of colored lights, and ornaments have evolved from being homemade, to being widely produced and sold. Who knew the tradition of Christmas trees simply began as a fashion statement by the queen (source).

Regardless of how odd all of these traditions may be, I am so thankful for Christmas festivities such as these that makes this time of year so merry and bright.

Merry Christmas!

Cover Image Credit: Dakotah Smith

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13 Summer Struggles Only Thick Girls Understand

Chafing. So much chafing.

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Summer is a lovely time. A time of cookouts, swimming, and sunny weather. But if you're a " thick girl," summer sometimes brings more unpleasantries than it does for slimmer women. No matter how beautiful and confident you are in your body, it can bring some struggles.

1. The living hell that is shorts-shopping

Step 1: Find the biggest size the store has.

Step 2: (If you can even get those on): Realize your stomach is being squeezed into the top, your butt is falling out of the back and your thighs are having the life squished out of them.

Step 3: Realize why winter isn't so bad.

2. And dealing with them even after finding a pair that "fits"

Nothing like taking a pair of shorts home you remember fitting you okay in the store and then walking for 45 seconds and pulling them out of your butt or crotch 17 times. Truly a magical experience.

3. And every bathing suit you try on shows more skin than you'd planned

Even the most conservative bathing suit turns into cleavage-city and a non-cheeky set of bottoms turns into a thong. I promise, older people glaring at me in my sexual bathing suit, I didn't mean for this to happen!

4. Chafing. So much chafing.

No better feeling than four minutes into wearing short shorts realizing that your inner thighs are literally tearing themselves apart. Body Glide and baby powder are a thick girl's No. 1 necessity.

5. Loving rompers. Rompers not loving you.

Rompers are made with short and skinny girls in mind. Heaven forbid you're not short, and heaven forbid you're not skinny. Rompers are like a mystical article of clothing that, no matter what, always just barely doesn't fit.

6. Imagining wearing a sundress with a strapless bra and just laughing

Of course, not all thick girls are well-endowed in the boob department, but if you are, you understand how hilarious the thought of you wearing a strapless bra truly is.

7. And bralettes are a thing of fantasy

Once again, bralettes are designed for a very specific body type. One that I do not fall into.

8. Feeling like you need to constantly defend yourself for dressing like you want to

There are so many posts and tweets and just general ideals that people have that certain sized women can't wear certain clothing. You shouldn't feel the need to defend yourself for wearing a cute crop top or a bikini, but you will.

9. And always feeling looked at when you're rocking your swimsuit

Yes, I see your judging eyes, and yes, they are making me feel like shit. It doesn't matter how confident you are in your body, people looking at you like you just killed somebody just because you're wearing something typically made for smaller women doesn't make you feel good.

10. Did I mention chafing?

I just felt like something so horrible couldn't just be mentioned once.

11. Online shopping for cute summer outfits and then none of them fitting you correctly

There's always the dreaded "one-size-fits-all" for plus-size women. As if there's just one way to be plus-size. No matter how much they promise online that it'll fit well, it won't.

12. Seeing tiny girls complaining about losing their "summer bodies"

So many tweets talking about choosing food over a summer body. So many profile pictures of traditionally skinny women. I'm not saying that thick girls are the only ones who can complain about their summer bodies, and thick girls do not have a monopoly one not feeling confident in their bodies. But it is hard to see those posts knowing that those women would be glorified in their swimwear while you'd be gawked at.

13. The "you go girl!" comments on your oh-so-brave bikini photos

Compliments are nice, and positive comments while wearing a bikini go a long way. But the dreaded "you go girl" comment just seems so condescending. Just treat me like anyone else you'd see wearing a bikini. I promise, I'd like to feel like that.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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Christmas Of Remembrance Series: My Last Letter

Christmas time is not about the gifts... It is about something far, far more special.

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Dear Reader,

Thank you for your time.

This is a series that I have dedicated to those I have loved and lost. It was merely a thought, then an idea, and now a realized creation. Christmas time… all winter really is a hard time for me. It holds this duality in my life of being both my favorite and also my least favorite and difficult time of year. It has been that way for years now.

In a way, this series aids my closure and healing further, and it allows me to tell my story in a way that, to me, is less scary (one of the many great facets of this platform). It was never my intention to write this in order to reach people, or encourage people, or serve as an inspiration to anyone. This was for me and only me. No one else. But, if these pieces of writing do impact someone, somewhere, or make them feel encouraged or inspired in some way or another, or just simply make them feel, then I hope you have enjoyed them. If I can make someone feel, then I guess I have done my job.

The life of an artist is often an uncertain one. The life of a human is a trying one. But life is a journey, and all journeys have their trials. Their tests. Their triumphs and rewards. And they all have their losses. What matters most is what you make of all of it. What lessons you learn. What changes you make. What life you create for yourself. What art you create because of it all. It can be very, very hard. But it can all be glorious at the same time.

At the heart of this series, my words, there is this deep and valuable belief of mine: Christmas (or the Winter Holiday that you may celebrate) is so much more about presents and cooking and shopping and all that other bullshit… it is about family.

The family that is related by blood. The family that surrounds your heart. Your Mom. Your brother. Your dearest friends. The bonds that make life valuable. Worth living. These bonds are soulful bonds, ones that are far more special than any mere trivial object. So… be with them. Forgive. Forget. Heal. Mend what is broken. Reassemble what has been shattered. And stop worrying so much. Laugh together. Cry together. Heal on another. Heal together. And may your new days be better, brighter, and full of love.

Happy Holidays.

Ty


A song for you...

"Sense of Home" — Harrison Storm / YouTube

If you liked this series, I invite you to check out my previous article below…

To My Fellow 孤, The Sons Without Fathers On Father’s Day

As well as this article by a fellow creator…

What You Learn Losing A Parent So Young

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