Most people have holiday traditions they repeat year after year. They pass them on to their children and involve friends and extended family members. They visit the same Christmas light park, follow decorating rituals, use the same recipes at holiday meals etc.

Some traditions from the past have been forgotten. We've made a list so you can decide which ones deserve a comeback and which ones are best forgotten.


You may have sung the Christmas carol with the line, "Here we go a-wassailing among the leaves so green." The song itself is fading from memory, and a lot of people can only hum the line that comes right after. No one goes a-wassailing anymore.

Wassailing means to toast to someone's good health. Around the holidays in the 1600s, Englishmen would make huge bowls of steamy mulled mead or cider. They poured a piping-hot go-cup and walked from door to door sharing it or asking for a neighborly refill.

While we don't recommend walking around the neighborhood sharing your Yeti with the neighbors, giving and togetherness are integral to the season. Here's a traditional wassail recipe if you want to offer it at your next holiday gathering.

Burning the Yule Log

This tradition goes back before Medieval times. Originally the Yule Log was a whole tree the family selected and often treated to improve the way it burned. One family member with very clean hands would light it using the remains of the previous year's log. Everyone would sit up all night while the log burned, telling stories and playing games.

Redding the House

You might have Auld Lang Syne cued to play on the stroke of midnight at your New Year's Eve celebration, but how much do you know about it? It was originally a scots-language poem part of Hogmanay, the Scotish New Year's Eve.

Hogmanay starts with "redding" or cleaning the house before midnight on December 31. The most important part of redding was emptying the fireplace. Individuals would read the ashes almost like looking at tea leaves to predict what they could expect of the year ahead. Once the house was clean, festivities commenced with a light heart and clean conscience.

Giving Presents With Poems

Romans gave gifts with bits of paper that had a seasonal poem. Handwritten, personal rhymes can be funny or sentimental, and they make the gift more heartfelt. Instead of the sticky tag that tells who the gift is to and from slip a poem behind the bow.

Taking the Day Off Laundry

During the 19th century, women dreaded "Blue Monday" for more than just the commute. The first day of the week was for laundry, and it was an all-day affair. On New Year's Day, it was considered bad luck to do laundry. Superstition held that cleaning clothes on the first day of the year could result in the family being "washed out." This is one holiday tradition it wouldn't hurt to revive in 2019.

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