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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > Christmas 2015 > Top 10: Christmas traditions

Top 10: Christmas traditions

Ever wondered why we make children dress up as biblical characters once a year? Or when exactly we started giving presents? Wonder no more…


We know that, by 1823, hanging stockings was common practice, as the act was mentioned in the poem A Visit From Saint Nicholas (which starts “’Twas the night before Christmas”), but exactly when and why it began remains a mystery. One story goes that Old St Nick, on hearing the plight of a poor family, popped a few gold coins into some socks that were drying by their fire – a miracle others hoped would be repeated.

The Smart family watches the first televised Queen’s Speech in their London home, 1957
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The Christmas 2015 issue of History Revealed