Christmas stories and myths your child will love
The festive season is not all about gift-giving and receiving. Tell your little ones all about the stories and myths that make Christmas so special.
Christmas falls on the 25th of December every year, and is recognized as an official holiday in Singapore. Even in countries like Japan or Thailand, where Christmas is not recognized as an official public holiday, it is still celebrated with pomp and elaborate decorations lighting up the streets.
Christmas is a great festival for kids. They are on the receiving end of many gifts and there are many activities lined up, from "snow" in Singapore to carolling and more.
To help your child understand more about the fuss that happens when 25th of December rolls around, these are some of the myths and legends behind the festival that your child should know about.
Regardless of your religious inclinations, most children love a good story, and Christmas stories are some of the best.
Birth of Jesus Christ
Christmas started off primarily as a Christian festival, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Christians and Catholics would be thoroughly familiar with this story, but non-Christian children will need to be told about this.
The nativity scenes with a baby doll surrounded by animals and in the midst of a stack of hay is a simulation of what could have happened during Jesus' birth.
This scene is often recreated in malls as part of the Christmas decorations. Do explain to your child what it represents when you spot it and the significance of how such an important man could be born in such humble circumstances. (Find out more here).
What other stories are related to Christmas? Read on to find out.
Christmas motifs related to Jesus
Owing to the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, a lot of Christmas motifs are to do with him.
- Holly - This is a wreath of leaves and red berries that is often hung on the front door. The wreath of leaves represent the Crown of Thorns that Jesus had worn during his crucifixion and the red berries the blood he shed from the thorns.
- Red, green and gold - The traditional reds, greens and golds of the Christmas traditions symbolize different key aspects. Red reminds people of the blood that Jesus had shed during his crucifixion, green is about the eternal life Jesus had promised and also his resurrection. Gold represents royalty as Jesus was seen as a King.
- Christmas carols - Discounting the more modern adaptations, if you listen closely to Christmas classics like Silent Night or Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, they are really about the birth of Jesus.
- Stars - Atop most Christmas tree sits a shining star. Also, star motifs are consistent throughout many Christmas themes. The reason for this is because according to the nativity story, three wise men had followed a star which prophesied the birth of a holy man. The three wise men found Jesus in his manger and presented him with gifts.
Every kid recognizes the kindly old man with the long white beard as Santa Claus, the guy who gives out presents to one and all.
Santa Claus has its origins in Saint Nicholas -- a devout 4th century Greek bishop born in the Roman Empire. He famously saved three girls born to a poor father from prostitution by throwing over bags of money under the cover of night.
As the impoverished father could not afford a dowry for them, they would most likely have remained unmarried and been seen as prostitutes, if not for the generous gift of money.
There are countless other miracles attributed to him, even a few accounts where he resurrects dead people by praying over them.
Then there is the antithesis of St. Nick -- the infamous Scrooge. Created by Charles Dickens as the protagonist in A Christmas Carol, Scrooge has entered our modern day vocabulary as being synonymous with a miserly person who is a killjoy, especially during the festive period.
The book has since been made into many films and television series. Either read the book together with your child to help him understand the deeper meaning of Christmas, divorced from religious connotations or you can also watch the movie with him.
Dr Seuss' Grinch (which has also been made into a movie) is also loosely based on this character in How the Grinch stole Christmas. If your child is younger, this would be a good alternative.
Christmas is more than just about presents, shopping and dressing up. It is a season of goodwill and these are the myths behind the season that would definitely intrigue your child.
Know of any other Christmas stories we might have missed out? Let us know in the comments below!