Christmas Facts from Travels with Harley


The tradition of Christmas began with honoring Christ’s birth, however, it evolved from Saturnalia, the Roman tradition of honoring Saturn, the God of Agriculture during the winter solstice.

Because of the celebration, it was natural to celebrate Christ’s birth on the same date. This means that nobody knows exactly when Jesus was born. Some theologians believe that Christ was actually born during the spring.


Gift Giving

The tradition of gift giving began with the Three Wise Men who gave gifts to the newborn King. Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh were presented to Jesus to thank him for coming into the world as the new savior. However, as with many Christian holidays, the true origin of giving presents came from the Pagans.

During Saturnalia, children would often receive wax dolls to represent the Roman human sacrifices that were given to Saturn in the past for good harvests. Tree boughs and plants were also quite common gifts during Saturnalia to represent good harvests.



Some people that X-Mas was created to keep Christ out of C-H-R-S-T-M-A-S, but that couldn’t be further from the tree. The true origin of X-Mas is based in Christianity with the X standing for the Greek letter Chi, the first letter for the Greek word for Christ.
Since the 16th century, people have been using the term X-Mas with it becoming more prominent in the 19th and 19th centuries.


Christmas Carols

Christmas carols were developed around the 4th century in Rome, grew from the first hymns of the time, and were sung in Latin. The first true Christmas Carols came out of Italy, Germany, and France in the 13th century. The carols were sung at community festivals and events.


The songs would eventually become associated with Christmas while carols in the protestant churches were numerous as the protestant community encouraged music and the arts.

Caroling door to door comes from the word carula, carole, or carol which literally means a circular dance. The practice of caroling door to door may also have developed out of the public festivals and ceremonies that were responsible for the first Christmas carols.

Merry Christmas from Travels with Harley!