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Christmas History and Customs

Christmas, Yuletide, Winter Solstice

Dining scene with table linen and glassware in Celtic Christmas design

The festival and customs of Christmas has its origins in many different cultures and religions. The festival of Saturnalia, which was the Roman celebration of the winter solstice, took place in mid December and lasted for one month. It was to celebrate the re-emergence of the Sun after the shortest day of the year. There was much feasting, gifts were exchanged and homes were decorated.

In the Christian religion Christmas the Christ Mass is part of the religious festival to celebrate the birth of the Messiah Jesus Christ. As Rome became more Christianised the two festivals of Saturnalia and Christmas merged. The exact birth date of Christ was unknown, therefore, it was decided in AD350 by the then Bishop of Rome Julius I to have the 25th December as the birth date of Christ. In western Europe Christmas was celebrated on the 25th December, but in eastern Europe it was celebrated on the 6th January.

The Celtic Christmas design featured above is available on placemats and table runners.

Goblet in Celtic Christmas design

Celtic Britain

During the Dark Ages in Britain Christmas festivities also centred around the Winter Solstice.

Traditions of this time are still celebrated today as part of our modern Christmas.

Table runner in Celtic Christmas design
Our Large Celtic Christmas table runner is perfect for gracing your festive table

12 Days of Christmas

The 12 days of the Christmas festival traditionally start on the 24th December, Christmas Eve. For the Celts divination, looking into the future was practised on this day. January 6th is the 12th day and also Christmas Day in Eastern Europe. Again divination was practised on this day, games and festivities took place.

The Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe

Homes were decorated with Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe. The Holly and the Ivy represented the male and the female hence wreaths were made with both entwining as a symbol of family harmony in the home. Mistletoe was of great significance to the Celts as they believed it had magical qualities of fertility. From this belief the kissing under the Mistletoe tradition formed. At the end of the 12 days of Christmas all decorations were removed.

The Yule Log

Placemat in Celtic Christmas design
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The Yule log originates from the old Norse festival of Yule which once again started at the Winter Solstice, 21st December. Evergreens were used to symbolise eternal life and fires were lit in homage to Thor the Norse God.

The fire, the Yule Log, was kept alight throughout the festival to welcome the return of the sun. Yule cakes were eaten and much cider consumed. The remnants of the log were retained for the following Yuletide to symbolise the continued circle of life. The tradition of the Yule Log is still remembered today when chocolate Yule Logs are eaten at Christmas.

St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle

The character known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle and many other pseudonyms has its origins in Saint Nicholas who was the Bishop of Myra in Turkey. He was renowned for his great kindness and came to be associated with children. Saint Nicholas died in AD340.

Children are encouraged by their parents to be good all year in anticipation of Father Christmas with the help of his Reindeers visiting every child in the world on Christmas Eve to deliver much wanted presents.

Gift Selection

All items can be gift wrapped and sent with a personal message at no extra cost.

Introducing the Yuletide Favourites embroidered gift bags, in addition to our popular embroidered Magical Christmas bags. Featuring our popular Cats, Penguin, Unicorn and Westie designs. Great as Holiday gift bags filled with chocs or sweets!

Magical Christmas gift bags
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Best Sellers Yuletide Favourites gift bags
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This Christmas dress your table with the red and green Argyll design which is derived from Scottish Tartan and is available in bread basket, placemats, table napkins, table runners and table cloths. The range is ideal for those special celebrations and occasions.

Bread Basket in Argyll design Pair of Table Napkins in Argyll design Pair of Place Mats in Argyll design Large Table Runner in Argyll design

The Mackintosh Rose and Lattice design is available in table runners, doilies, jewellery roll, jewellery purse, specs case and pocket tissue holder. This design has been produced to celebrate 150 years since the birth of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, architect, designer and artist, who was one of Scotland's most influential creative figures. High quality products at affordable prices make these items a very popular choice with our customers.

Small Red Runner in Mackintosh Rose and Lattice design
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Pair of Small Red Doilies in Mackintosh Rose and Lattice design
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Large Red Doily in Mackintosh Rose and Lattice design
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Mauve Jewellery Purse in Mackintosh Rose and Lattice design Mauve Jewellery Roll in Mackintosh Rose and Lattice design Mauve Spectacles Case in Mackintosh Rose and Lattice design
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Mauve Pocket Tissue Cover in Mackintosh Rose and Lattice design

Introducing the Glencoe Thistle design in purple. Available in doilies, table runner, napkins, jewellery purse, jewellery roll, pill box purse, spectacles case and pocket tissue holder. This range can also be matched with the Hem Stitch table cloth.

Pair of small doilies in Glencoe Thistle design Large doily in Glencoe Thistle design Pair of napkins in Glencoe Thistle design Table runner in Glencoe Thistle design

Our embroidered giftware items are extremely popular with our customers. Gifts of high quality yet at a reasonable price. Just a small selection shown below. We have many designs available in cosmetic bag, jewellery purse, jewellery roll, pill box purse, pocket tissue holder and specs case.

Pill Box Purse in Poppies design Jewellery Roll in Glencoe Thistle design Pocket Tissue Cover in Forget-me-not design Spectacles Case in Lavender Hidcote design
Jewellery Purse in Highland Glen design Spectacles Case in Highland Glen design Pocket Tissue Cover in Highland Glen design Pill Box Purse in Highland Glen design
Glowing Glass in Farm in Wintertime design This Christmas choose from our Kerzenfarm products which are all hand crafted in Germany by highly skilled craftsmen and women. The glowing glasses and lamps make superb festive gifts. Glowing Glass Table Lamp in Scottish Farm design

We have some gorgeous Cat design gifts for your Cat loving friends and family!

Hanging Heart Plaque in Cat Sayings Design
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Pill Box in Cats on Moon design Paperweight in Kitten and Geraniums design Static Window Cling in Black and White Cat design

In the UK the Robin is a traditional symbol associated with Christmas and is featured on numerous Christmas cards and decorations. Our Robin Red Breast design is available on a range of rrunners and doilies, perfect for the Christmas dining table. The tea towel, paperweight and window roundel also make great gifts for friends and family.

Pair of Small Round Doilies in Robin design
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Large Doily in Robin design
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Pair of small square doilies in Robin design
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Robbie Robin Fused Glass Paperweight in Fat Robin design Window Roundel in Fat Robin design
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Porcelain Mug in Robin design
Coaster in RObin design Tea Towel in Robin design Pill box purse in Robin design Double spectacles case in Robin design

This Christmas we have a number of our top selling quality table runners, table cloths, doilies and place mats on Special Offer. All beautifully embroidered and make a perfect Christmas gift.

Runner in Swiss Pine design
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Runner in Christmas Topiary Trees design
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The Friendship Mini Globe Tea Lights make a thoughtful Christmas gift. The innovative design enables the Mini Globe to be used in 2 ways - with the tea light inside the globe or with the tea light placed on top of the globe as shown. Available in amethyst, blue, green and white as shown.

Friendship Mini Globe Tea Light in Amethyst Friendship Mini Globe Tea Light in Blue
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Friendship Mini Globe Tea Light in Green
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Friendship Mini Globe Tea Light in White
Friendship Green Glass Globe Scent Diffuser

An ideal gift for Christmas is the Friendship Glass Globe Scent Diffuser. Each mouth-blown glass globe is individually made by an artisan glassblower which makes it unique.

Available in a range of colours, and including a 200ml bottle of English-blended fragrance oil. Each globe colour has its very own fragrance oil, and scent refills are available to purchase separately.

Tastefully packaged in a gift presentation box, they make the perfect stylish gift for Christmas.

Friendship White Glass Globe Scent Diffuser
Citrus and Passion Fruit scent refill Fresh Linen scent refill Box for the Friendship Glass Globe Scent Diffuser Lavender Garden scent refill Lily and Jasmine scent refill
Green Friendship Oil Lamps For that special gift choose from our beautiful range of Friendship glassware items from D & J Glassware. Their Friendship gifts for the home and garden include Friendship Oil Lamps, Tree of Life Glass Friendship Balls, Friendship Wishing Drops and Celebration Bubbles. The quality is outstanding and the vibrant iridescent colours reflect the light and create more colour in the garden. These make perfect gifts for all garden lovers.
Fused Glass Winter Tree Winter Tree of Life Small Glass Friendship Ball New Beginnings Tree of Life Glass Friendship Ball
Amethyst Wishing Drop
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This Christmas give a Wishing Drop to wish your loved ones health, wealth, happiness and good luck. Supplied with a white satin ribbon and Wishing label. Each item is boxed.
Slimline Mirror in Rose and Lattice Design in pink

Decorative Stained Glass Mirrors in Mackintosh Rose designs. Celtic Glass Designs presents Winged Heart's stunning Slimline Gift Mirrors. These significant and expressive gifts are ideal for that special Christmas gift.

Christmas wouldn't be the same without Angels! Winged Heart are the leading company in the UK producing handpainted stained glass gifts. Their Angel designs can be purchased in roundels, window clings and paperweights.

Slimline Mirror in Rose and Leaf Design in mauve
Paperweight in Madonna design Static Window Cling in Angel Gabriel design Paperweight in Praising Angels design Window Roundel in Praying Angel design

Winged Heart roundels make superb gifts at Christmas time. Choose from a wide range of designs. All designed and hand painted in the UK. Personal message and gift wrap included free of charge with all orders.

Window Roundel in Kitten and Geraniums design Window Roundel in Doves of Peace design Window Roundel in Robin and Snowdrops design Window Roundel in Wren and Bluebells design

Sea Gems and St Justin pens are very popular with our customers at Christmastime. Visit our range of ladies and gents pens.

Lavender Rose and Leaf Bookmark and Pen Set in Sea Gems Mackintosh Rose Design Pen in Sea Gems Mackintosh Rose design Etched Fountain Pen in Celtic Spear Design

Our other giftware section includes stunning personal pewter, nickel plated and enamel giftware, jewellery, embroidered bags and stained glass items. Choose from compact mirrors, flasks, paper knives and pens all designed in Cornwall, England.

Compact Mirror in Cats on Moon design Brooch in Lugh's Knot Design
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Purple Compact Mirror in Sea Gems Mackintosh Two Roses design
Purple Pill box in Arabesque design Large Pill Box in Scottish Thistle design Large Pill Box in Sea Gems Cats on Moon design Blue Pill Box in Triskeles Design

If you have any special orders or requests please e-mail Beverley@celticglassdesigns.co.uk and we will endeavour to meet your requirements. Please ensure that you order early for Christmas. The last date for placing orders for overseas delivery is 9th December (14th December for delivery within Europe) and 21st December for deliveries within the UK.

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Celtic Glass Designs offer a range of stunning hand painted glassware and matching embroidered table linen for all occasions - Birthdays, Corporate and Special Events, Anniversaries, Weddings, Burns Night, Valentine's Day, St Davids Day, St Patricks Day, Mother's Day, Easter Sunday, May Day, Father's Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, St. Andrew's Day, Christmas and Hogmanay.

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