Welcome to The Educating Parent Beverley Paine's archive of articles about homeschooling and unschooling written over a period of 30 plus years

HomeAboutAdvertiseArticles Curriculum Resource DirectoryShopKids PagesFacebook

Registration - State by State - Guides: VICNSWQLDSAWATASACTNT

Download our FREE The Educating Parent Resource Directories today!

Free download a quick guide to getting started with homeschooling and unschooling by Beverley Paine The Educating Parent in this excellent Resource Directory
Introduction to
Home Education

Free download Beverley's huge list of books about homeschooling and unschooling in her special edition of The Educating Parent Resource Directory
BIG List of Books
about Home Ed

Download for FREE this huge collection of links to online Australian homeschool and unschool support groups in this special The Educating Parent Resource Directory by Beverley Paine
National and State
Support Groups

Help support fellow home educating families earn a living or add your business to this very popular The Educating Parent Resource Directory by Beverley Paine
Home Educating
Families in Business

Over 80 blogs by Australian homeschooling and unschooling families are listed in this FREE The Educating Parent Resource Directory by Beverley Paine, download and email to add your blog to the list today
Aussie Homeschool
and Unschool Blogs

Looking for support, reassurance and information?
Join Beverley's The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook or Yahoo online groups.


Christmas Traditions

© Beverley Paine

Christmas is a special time of year. For many it is merely a cultural holiday, the deeply religious significance overshadowed by centuries of tradition, now overlayed with an overwhelming commercial influence. It is hard to loose track of the real meaning of Christmas, and this often varies in definition from person to person. However people celebrate this time of year it is a fascinating one, rich in history, with many interesting facts, theories and stories to be told. Here are some I have dug up over the years - hope you find them interesting!

Santa Claus

In Asia Minor , in about 250-350 AD, lived Saint Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra. He was known for his great generosity, and his love of children. It is said that he often went in disguise to give presents to the poor. As stories of his good deeds spread, people began to think of St Nicholas as the donor of unexpected presents in general.

During the 11th century, the saint's remains were carried back to the Italian city of Bari , and became enshrined as a centre of pilgrimage. The stories about him were taken by pilgrims throughout Europe , and he became known as Sanct Nikolaas or Kriss Kringle in Germany , and Saint Nicholaas or Sinterklaas in Holland . Dutch colonists carried his legend around the world, and in many places he became known as Santa Claus, or Father Christmas. He was thought of as a little rotund man, and his present day character was gradually developed by illustrators in the 19th century.

Santa Claus traditionally arrives, bearing gifts of toys and food or candy, on Christmas Eve, but in some countries arrives on December 6th, the feast day of Saint Nicholas. In Spain he is replaced by the Three Wise Men, who are said to pass through on their way to Bethlehem each year, and the children receive their gifts on Epiphany.


December 25th was an important holiday long before the rise of Christianity. The Romans knew it as natalis solis invicti - the day of the birth of the unconquered sun. On this day they gave thanks for the lengthening periods of daylight that seemed to mark the rebirth of the sun. This day fell during the great winter festival, the Saturnalia. It was also the most important feast day of the Mithraic religion, one of the chief rivals of early Christianity.

In northern Europe the Teutonic tribes also held a winter festival at the end of December. After the tribes converted to Christianity, many of the traditions and customs were incorporated into the Christmas celebrations.

In the early days of Christianity it became customary to honour saints, martyrs and other distinguished personages on the anniversary of their death rather than birth. Birthday celebrations were a pagan custom, and early Christian theologians were therefore strongly opposed to them. Despite this opposition, many Christians had begun to observe a festival for the birth of Christ by about 200 AD. In 350 Pope Julius I declared that December 25th was the true date of the Nativity. The leaders of the Church willingly accepted this day as the most probable date, and the long standing pagan traditions were integrated into a Christian festival without changing the form of worship.

The Legend Of The Christmas Candle

Many years ago a cobbler and his wife lived in a cottage at the edge of a village in Finland . They had few possessions, but whatever they owned they shared with others. Symbolic of their generous love of humankind was the lighted candle they placed in the window their cottage. Through the years, war, famine and destruction fell upon the village. Yet the cobbler and his wife suffered far less that the other villages.

"There is something special about them. They are often spared from our misfortunes," said the villagers. "Let us put candles in our windows and see if this is the mysterious charm."

Now it happened that the night the first candles were lit in every home, was Christmas Eve, and before the first rays of the morning sun appeared, a messenger rode into the village to bring the great news - Peace has come! That Christmas Day there was awe in the hears of the humble villagers.

The beautiful custom of placing a lighted candle in the window on Christmas Eve is being observed throughout Scandinavia until today, sending forth a message of Love, Hope and Cheer.

The Tradition of the Christingle

The tradition of the Christingle goes back 500 years. The name means Christ Light - the Christingle itself is an orange representing the world. The candle on top represents the Light of the World. Around the candle are nuts and fruits symbolic of the fruits of the earth. The red ribbon symbols blood.

Children love to make Christingles (eating the ingredients as they do). To do so, make a candle shape hole in the middle of an orange. Push the candle firmly into the orange, making sure it is kept upright. Use the toothpicks to hold dried fruit, jubes, jelly fruit. Almond slivers can be pushed into the orange. Tie a red ribbon with a bow, around the orange using a pin to secure it.

Admire them, decorate the Christmas table with them, have "Carols by Christingle", then eat them!

Russian Christmas

Easter Orthodox Christmas is celebrated in early January. In Russia the children talk at Christmas time of Mama Babouska and wonder what gift she will bring them. Russian children place their shoes beside the fireplace, hoping that Babouska will pile them high with toys and good things They tell a story about Babouska that shows why she loves to be kind to children.

The Christmas Tree

Trees have long been worshipped. It was a common practice to tie tributes of fruit and food shaped as animals tied to the boughs of sacred trees. Oaks were popular in Europe , and Christianity introduced the evergreen tree in the 8th century. The Druids thought that evergreens had magical powers, and considered the mistletoe sacred and effective against evil spirits and disease. The evergreen tree is a symbol of immortality and of the Christian spirit.

Christmas Cards

Christmas cards originated during the 1840's in England , when several men had cards made and sent to their friends. Louis Prang, a printer, introduced them in the USA in 1875. They have increased in popularity ever since!

Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you? Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating offering encouragement and reassurance to families wanting better outcomes for their children.

Thank you for your gift contribution!

Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

"You've been an inspiration to me, I love the way
you really listen to people."

"Whenever I read your writing I always come away
with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!"

"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others."

"Thank you once again for your prompt and friendly service.
I am convinced that your books are going to add
quality and peace of mind to my journey of teaching my kids
at home! Just from studying your website, until almost
2am in the morning, I 've been encouraged!"

"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
over many, many years. You probably don't know exactly how
valuable you are to the Australian Home Education community.
I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now.
And I'm very grateful."

Want to learn how to write your own education plans to suit
your unique children's individual learning needs?

Looking for quality curriculum and teaching tips ?

Over 1000 reassuring and informative articles to help
build your confidence as an Educating Parent

Welcome to the World of Home Education and
Learning without School!

We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine

The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.

To see the full range of Beverley Paine's books on homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning visit Always Learning Books

Tap into Beverley's experience through her books

"Your books, your blogs helped me beyond words...
they helped me to find comfort in knowing it is ok to choose
exactly what is best for my family." Nisha

"Your books and information are mind blowing and already
I am feeling good about this new experience." Diane

Connect with Beverley and ask questions
through her online The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook and Yahoo support groups.

purchase Beverley's practical and common sense books on homeschooling and unschooling
"Your guidance, understanding, support & words of wisdom changed our lives." Leslie

"I feel specially inspired by Beverley's words and, the more I read her comments, the more inspired I feel, since my need for support, respect for different parenting styles, and information are fully met." Marijo

Advertise with The Educating Parent

Teach Maths in the way that children learn with MathsUSee by MathsAustralia

30% discount for purchases from ReadyEd Publications when you use the code 'homeschool' at  the checkout

Help your child to learn how to play music with our app and children's books to them started - I Learning Music and Fun in the Music Room

Stocking all of Beverley Paine's, the educating parent's, books!

Click here for music lessons for students with autism and other needs Spectrum Music Studio

Click here for one month free trial Typing Tournament - learn to type the fun way

music lessons tailored to your home educating students needs in Joondalup Perth WA the only homeschool reading development which combines neurosciencebased exercises with voice recognition technology, platypus power reading program

click to go to the Sunshine Collective providing ‘Brilliant Boxes’ to families of pre-schoolers and primary school aged children, throughout Australia Click here to go to Learning Enrichment Studio Fostering Students Academic Potential

cover of Getting Started with Homeschooling by Beverley Paine DIY Getting Started with Home Schooling Pack
Beverley Paine's best selling comprehensive common sense manual detailing how to write your own curriculum tailored to your children's educational needs
PLUS 9 of Beverley's popular practical home educating series booklets!
Great value $60
Natural Learning
and Unschooling Pack

Each Pack contains a copy of the following:
Natural Learning
Natural Learning Answers
A5 or A4
Learning Naturally Diary
Learning Maths Naturally
A Sample Approved Natural Learning Program and Review

Only $29 or $33
Select A4 or A5 Diary

Home education is a legal alternative
to school education in Australia.
State and Territory governments are responsible
for regulating home education and have different
requirements, however home educating families
are able to develop curriculum and learning programs
to suit the individual needs of their children.

animated Australian flag

Without revenue from advertising
by educational suppliers and Google Ads
we could not continue to provide information
to home educators. Please support us by letting
our advertisers know that you found them on
The Educating Parent. Thanks!

Beverley's books are excellent for building confidence as a home educator says Tracey, homeschooling mum.

Support Centre
Contact Us | Join a Support Group | Beverley's Books | Resource Directory | Blog | Donate

About The Educating Parent
Beverley Paine | April Jermey and Always Learning Books | Advertise with us


What is Home Education Why Home Educate Getting Started & Registering Different Ways to Home Educate
Life as a Home Educator Resources & Support Teens and Beyond Curriculum and Teaching Tips
Unschooling & Natural Learning Travelling & Home Educating Other: just for fun, general, etc Children's Pages

animated smiling face Thank you for visiting!

Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
The opinions and articles included on this website are not necessarily those of Beverley and Robin Paine,
nor do they endorse or recommend products listed in contributed articles, pages, or advertisements.
This website uses browsing cookies and conducts other means to collect user information in order to display contextual ads.
Site Map. Text and images on this site © All Rights Reserved 1999-2018.