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Why Prep?
Christmas   4Kids
Pease note: This is for people 10 years and younger.

But parents may have to help with the reading.

And, parents are actually encouraged to participate.

Table of Contents

Santa Claus
Around the World!


Yuletide Traditions


Christmas Traditions




4 Kids




What does the word "Christmas" mean?

*  The word "Christmas" is a compound word.  That means it is made of two smaller words.  They are:  Christ + mass.

*  Christmas happens on Jesus Christ's birthday (December 25th).

*  Mass means a holy Catholic church service.

*  Christmas has evolved into a whole season that lasts a whole month from around November 25th to December 25th.

What is Yuletide?

The word "Yule" was originally a Scandinavian word (in Finnish it is spelled: "Joul", but pronounced the same way).  Scholars say that Yule probably means 'feast', and "tide" means time (as in a period of time).  Therefore, "Yuletide" is the feasting time.

It was originally a Scandinavian winter solstice tradition, but now is part of the Christmas traditions.

Who knows exactly how long the full Yuletide lasted?  But, the most important time was from December 22nd to December 25th.  Solstice means Sol (sun) stands still for three days:  22nd, 23rd, and 24th.

On December 22nd--the winter solstice--when the sun was lowest in the sky (for the Northern Hemisphere), it was thought that the sun was close to death.  It was the tradition to keep a yule log (or yule logs) lit for three days to re-ignite the sun.  On December 25th, when the sun started to appear higher in the sky, it was thought to be the "Birthday of the SUN".  In modern times, for those who actually have fire places, it is a tradition to light the Yule Log on Christmas Eve.






Santa Claus
Around the World

NOTE:  I don't go all the way around the world, 'cause I'm not Santa Claus and that would take too long for me.

Here are some of the countries and how Santa dresses in their countries.

You might be asking:  "Why does Santa have to dress differently?"

Well, Santa wants to respect the customs of the local people.  That's why.

Country / Picture Name / Description


All Finns know that Santa Claus was born in Finland.  Then, he met the gnomes/elves who made toys.  Then, they all moved to the North Pole.

All Scandinavians call Santa Claus "Joulupukki" which literally means "Yule Buck", because his sleigh is pulled by reindeer bucks.


Ded Moroz
(and the Snegurochka)

In Russia, Santa is called "Ded Moroz," which means "Grandad Frost".

And he is helped by the Snow maiden to deliver the presents.

Of course, the elves make the presents, but the Snow maiden helps deliver the presents.


Uvliin Uvgun

The Mongolians call Santa Claus Uvliin Uvgun, which means Grandad Winter.

He delivers presents to the children on New Years day.



"Saint Nikolaus"

In Europe, they call Santa Claus, "Saint Nikolaus" or "Saint Klaus" for short.  He was always good to children.  In fact, he is the patron saint of children.

In English, we call him, "Saint Nick".


Krist Kindl

In Germany, Santa Claus is called "Krist Kindl".  

In English, we call him "Kriss Kringle."






Yule Traditions
that are
adopted into Christmas Traditions

by Leon

Did you know that most of our Christmas traditions come from the winter solstice traditions of the Northern Hemisphere?  In this article, we shall explore the various winter solstice traditions that have been adopted as Christmas traditions.

What is Winter Solstice?

Winter begins with the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.  That day happens on the 22nd day of December in the Northern hemisphere.  It is the day when the sun is lowest in the sky and daylight is shortest.  The word “solstice” is a compound word from Latin: sol (sun) + stice (stands still).

That means that the sun stays low in the sky for 3 days.   Our ancestors said that the sun was dead (or almost dead) for 3 days.  Then, miraculously it was born again on December 25th and it started to rise higher and higher in the sky.  It keeps rising higher and higher in the sky until June 21st or 22nd.  That's called the Summer solstice.

The Scandinavians had many winter solstice traditions that are called "Yuletide".




The Christmas-Yule Tree's Origin

The Scandinavians are people who live in the Northern countries of Europe, like Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Holland.  During winter solstice time they decorated a Yule tree with trinkets of their gods.

Language scientists (called Linguists) say that the Scandinavians probably moved northward from Germany a long, long time ago, because their languages are all related.

And, guess what!  Germany had Yule trees as well.  They just decorated them differently.  The Germans decorated their trees with apples--both red apples and golden apples.

By some accounts, this tradition of putting up a tree and decorating it during Yuletide stemmed from the time when all the people of the Europe and the middle East were one people under the rule of a king named Nimrod.  Nimrod was a great king and when he died, his mother became the ruling queen.  She insisted that everyone remember her son by putting up a tree and decorating it with silver and gold on her deceased son's birthday, which was December 25th.  I don't know if this story is true or not (because it's not in the Bible).  But, it could be true.  The Bible does say not to decorate trees with silver and gold, like the heathen do.

But, if you want to decorate your tree with angels or apples or homemade ornaments or lights, I don't see anything wrong with that.  It's not the tree that is bad, it is the purpose of the tree.  If you have a tree to celebrate Nimrod, that's bad.  If you have a tree to celebrate Jesus, or Santa Claus, that's good.  I decorate my tree with Santa Clauses and stockings; And, I put an angel on the top.


Mongolian Winter Solstice Tree

According to an article by Jade Wah’oo Grigori, entitled:  “A Time of the Shaman’s Gift Bringing;” the traditional Mongol winter solstice is a very, very, meaningful and important time for all Mongols who still follow the old ways (and not many still follow the old ways).  It is written that the Mongol village shaman was very central and important to the winter solstice ritual.  In the past, Villagers would gather at the shaman’s ger, which is a circular tent.  In English, we call it a "yurt" and we get that word from the Turkish language, because the Turks also lived in circular tents.

Mongolian ger

A ger has a central pole which represents the ‘mother tree’, called “Ej mod, (pronounced 'Edge Mud').  It is called other things too, like the “Tree of Life” and the “Pole of Ascension.”  The ger’s ceiling is supported by 81 ribs, representing the 9-times-9 pillars which hold the heavens apart from the earth.  The ‘mother tree’ points to the North Star, figuratively of course.  So, at the top of the ‘Tree of Life’ sits the ‘Star’.

Is that the origin of our "Christmas Tree" tradition or does it go back even further in time to King Nimrod?  You decide.


More Yule Traditions

Yule Log

Scandinavian tribes had amongst their Yuletide traditions, they had the Yule Log tradition.  They had to keep a fire going all night long on the night of December 24th, and the fuel for the fire was called "The Yule Log".

Why must one keep the Yule log burning all night on the 24th of December?  The answer is to re-ignite the Sun.  The fear was that if one did not keep the Yule log burning all night long, the Sun would not be reborn on the 25th of December.  As a result, the world would plunge into eternal darkness.  My question:  If we keep the Yule log burning all night long, how does Santa get down the chimney?  Answer:  In Scandinavia, Santa doesn't come down the chimney.  He knocks on the door, and asks, "Are there any good children here?"


The Mistletoe Tradition

Why do we hang mistletoe at Christmas time?  It is because of the Scandinavian myth about Balder and Loki.  Balder was the god of truth and light.  He represented the sun at winter solstice time.  Loki was the god of mischief and undoing.  He always tried to undo what the other gods had done.


Balder, Loki & Mistletoe

The myth goes like this: Balder’s mother, Frigga (which means "Love") had asked all the plants, animals and minerals of earth never to harm her son, Balder.  However, there was one plant that she overlooked; it was mistletoe.  Frigga said she overlooked it because it was so soft and wouldn't hurt anything.

Over time, Loki became jealous of Balder’s popularity and he was annoyed by the noise devoted to Balder’s praise.  So, he secretly disguised himself as an old hag and visited Balder’s mother and asked her many questions about Balder.  Eventually, he found out that there was one living thing on Earth that she had not made promise never to harm her son.  Loki then made an arrow out of mistletoe; and one day when the gods were hurling various things at Balder, just to see how nothing could hurt Balder.  Loki, disguised as an old hag, gave the mistletoe arrow to Hod (a blind god) to hurl at Balder, and it killed Balder.

Everyone, except Loki, were shocked and greatly saddened by Balder's death.  But, perhaps no one was more saddened than Frigga.

Three days later, Balder’s mother sent Balder's brother, Hermod, to go into the Underworld to rescue Balder, and he was resurrected by Frigga.  Finally, Frigga made mistletoe promise to never harm another living thing.  This is why mistletoe is used as decoration at winter solstice time.  It is the symbol of peace and love and tranquility.


A Christmas wish from Leon...

Finally, as we approach the coming winter solstice, may our hearts and souls be purified by the light of the Great Spirit; may Sun be reborn again to give its life-giving light unto the world for another year; and may we all experience eternal love, peace, and tranquility.



Modern X-mas Traditions


Decorating the Houses with Lights:


Every year, right after Thanksgiving (generally during Thanksgiving weekend, but sometimes before), Americans decorate the exterior of their homes with lights, which stay up until after Christmas day (sometimes until New Year's Day).  This probably originated with the festival of lights, which occurred in December of each year.  

It seems to be the general consensus that this tradition came from the Roman winter solstice tradition called Saturnalia, but many cultures have had (as some still do) a festival of lights.  Hanukah is a festival of lights.  Diwali is a festival of lights.

Source:  Wikipedia


Christmas Caroling
(Anciently:  Wassailing)


The tradition of Christmas caroling for food/drink (as in the traditional carol: "We wish you a merry Christmas") comes from the Celtic tradition of Wassailing.  Wassailing apparently was the practice of singing to wish fellow farmers well in the upcoming planting season, for which they were rewarded by a cup of wassail (an alcoholic drink).


For the lyrics of some modern Christmas carols/songs, click here.





X-mas FAQs

Q1.  Why is Christmas sometimes written "X-mas"?
A1.  Because "Christ" in Greek is written:  "Xpist";  So, Christ-mas became X-mas.


Q2 Why are green and  red  the colors of Christmas?
A2.  Good question!  I don't think anybody really knows anymore.  But, if I had to guess, I'd say, that green represents the evergreen Christmas tree, which represents eternal life.  Red usually represents blood.  It might represent the blood that Christ gave so that all might have eternal life.  But, I'm just guessing.


Q3.  Why does Santa come down chimneys?

A3.  Coming down the chimney probably started because doors are usually locked at night, and Santa doesn't want to wake everyone up by knocking on the door.  But don't worry about the Yule Log, Santa won't get burned, because he has magical powers.


Q4.  What if somebody lives in an apartment with NO chimney?
A4:  Parents have to stay awake until Santa comes and let him in the door.


Q5.  What is the best Christmas present (to give)?
A5:  Put yourself in the shoes of the person for whom you want to give a present, and think about what he/she would like to receive for Christmas.  That is the best Christmas present.


Q6.  Why does Santa put Christmas presents in stockings?
A6:  This tradition comes from the countries that call Santa "Saint Nikolaus" or "Saint Klaus".  Children leave either shoes or stockings by the fireplace for Saint Klaus; or if they don't have a fireplace, they leave them in front of the door of the house.  And Santa fills their shoes or stockings with treats.  And, guess what!  Santa Claus means Saint Klaus.


Q7 Why do elves make toys?

A7:  Well, first off, not all elves make toys, just some elves.  But, there is one thing that is common amongst all elves; elves like to help the good humans.  That's just what they do.  But, to bad humans they play tricks on them.  Santa Claus was a very good human and they decided to help him make children all around the world very happy by sharing their toys.

Learn more about the little people all around the world on my "Little People Page".



Q8.  What about family traditions associated with Christmas?
A8:  Yes, each family has its own traditions for Christmas.  Each member of my family was allowed to open one gift on Christmas eve.  Also, we had a big feast on both Christmas eve AND Christmas day.


Q9.  What are some traditional foods associated with Christmas?

A9:  There are only a few food that are particularly associated with Christmas.  They are:

          - fruit cake (which I could live without)

          - sugar cookies (which are cut into shapes of X-mas symbols; very delicious!)

          - figgy pudding {...according to the ol' X-mas carol; I've never tried it.  Now, one must understand (if one is from North America) that in the old days (and still in the UK and most of its "commonwealth") pudding was/is a kind of muffin.  Thus, figgy pudding would have been a muffin with fig-treats in it.}

          - goose or turkey (Like Thanksgiving, the main course tends to be a big bird; traditionally a goose or turkey, but duck, or chicken can be substituted;  In our family, turkey was eaten instead of goose.)




Q10.  How do reindeer fly?
A10:  First of all, let's understand that not all reindeer fly.  Only Santa's reindeer can fly, and they can fly because of Santa's magic.



 A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!

See also, Leon's webpage about...

Winter Solstice Traditions Around the World







Parents of



Winter Solstice


New Years

Chinese Lunar
New Year



All About
Dr. Seuss

Roald Dahl



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