Will You Be Burning a Yule Log This Year?

If a fireplace graces your home, why not revive a classic tradition and burn a Yule log?

Once upon a time, a Yule log burned in the hearths of most Western homes come Christmas Eve — if only because most homes had fireplaces back then. There weren’t many options for keeping warm in the winter before the wonders of modern technology, after all.

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Tired of Turkey? Try a Christmas Goose Instead

Once upon a time, the Christmas goose was the standard holiday entrée. Why not try it again?

Back in the olden days (or so the stories tell us), the Christmas goose was a common Yuletide dining tradition. Remember that song that goes, “Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat”? Now you know why that mattered. That song was new back when hardly anyone in Europe had ever tasted turkey.

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Where Are the Uniquely American Christmas Traditions?

Christmas traditions are wonderful… but the thing about being a relatively young country is that we don’t have many of our own.

Christmas is two thousand years old, but America is only one-tenth that. No wonder we don’t have many of our own unique Christmas traditions.

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Why the Christmas Turkey?

Nowadays, the Christmas turkey seems the inevitable holiday meal — but that hasn’t always been true.

Ever given any thought as to why such a humble thing as the Christmas turkey has become a nearly universal tradition? And no, I’m not talking about the musical album of the same name by the Arrogant Worms, which is hilarious and has its place, but alas, dates only from 1997.

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All the Christmas Holidays

Many of us think of the Christmas holidays as consisting of only one, or at most two holidays…but there are plenty more than that.

If pressed, folklorists will admit that the Christmas holidays we enjoy today are just the latest in a string of winter solstice celebrations stretching back to the beginnings of Western history. And as special as they are, that’s actually true.

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Traditional Christmas Songs Everyone Loves

Christmas carols are one thing, but how about those other Christmas songs we all sing along with on the radio?

One of the things I love most about December is singing traditional Christmas songs, although I do have to admit that I get a tad sick of hearing the same ten repeated over and over in the stores, one right after the other. Especially that crybaby version of “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.”

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Mele Kalikimaka! Extraordinary Hawaiian Christmas Traditions

Hawaii may be part of the United States, but Hawaiian Christmas traditions deviate delightfully from the standard

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Hawaii during Yuletide, you’ve experienced the unique joy of Hawaiian Christmas traditions. Of course, when you live in a natural paradise, it’s easy to have fun — but Hawaiians make a truly serious effort come the holiday season.

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Weird and Wonderful Traditions of Christmas

If you’re bored with the same old traditions of Christmas you’ve been practicing for decades, consider adding some of these to your Yule celebrations.

When it comes to the traditions of Christmas, it’s easy to assume that just because you celebrate things a certain way, other people do, too. That’s not necessarily true even within your own culture, much less out in the wider world.

In fact, one of the traditions of Christmas that most Americans take for granted is that the day itself falls on December 25. Not necessarily so. The Eastern Orthodox, even here in the States, often celebrate Christmas on January 6. Some people even celebrate on January 7.

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Christmas Traditions in Italy

While the Italian celebration would be familiar to Americans in most respects, Christmas traditions in Italy offer a few surprises.

Like most things Italian, Christmas traditions in Italy tend to be both passionate and food-oriented. It’s hard to find fault with that, especially since Christmas in Italy hasn’t yet descended into that relentless commercialism that plagues the American holiday.

The traditions of Christmas in Italy aren’t terribly different from our own, with many features we’d find quite familiar. For example, many Italians have taken to erecting and decorating a Christmas tree every year. But there are some notable differences to Italian Christmas tradition, so let’s take an instructive look.

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The Christmas Pudding Tradition

Another Yuletide tradition we can thank the British for is the Christmas pudding. If you haven’t tried it, why not cook one up this year?

Ever dug into a fine, plummy Christmas pudding? Well… unless you’re British, probably not. As much as we Americans owe the Brits for our general holiday traditions, Christmas puddings just didn’t seem to transplant to these shores.

But if you’re looking for an interesting culinary experience to add an Old World accent to your Christmas holiday, it’s worth giving this fine old tradition a new try.

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