The Stories Behind Your Favorite Christmas Songs

Rain or snow in town with streetlight in North Carolina

There are so many things to love about this time of year! We all have unique holiday traditions, but Christmas music seems to be a universal staple of the holiday season. Whether you like to play it on October 1st or wait until after Thanksgiving, Christmas music can really put you in the holiday spirit.

Jingle Bells….O Holy Night… Silent Night – the list goes on and on!

You’ve probably sung the lyrics a million times, but have you ever thought about the origins of your favorite holiday tunes? Here’s a closer look at the stories behind some of our favorites.

“Silent Night”

This Christmas classic dates back to the 1800s! Written in 1818 by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr and Franz X. Gruber, the lyrics came together shortly after the Napoleonic wars had taken their toll. On Christmas Eve in 1818, the song first debuted as Stille Nacht Heilige Nacht.

The composition rapidly gained popularity and was translated into over 300 languages. Silent Night made its way to America in 1914 during World War I when, on December 24th, a cease-fire caused soldiers to put down their weapons and sing carols…the ultimate sign of heavenly peace.

“12 Days of Christmas”

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…”

Have you memorized the 12 gifts? It all starts with a partridge in a pear tree. This classic Christmas song was originally created as a memory game! In fact, a very popular version of this song debuted in a children’s book sometime in the 1780s.

“O Holy Night”

“…The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth…

This was another song enjoyed during a time of truce and peace during the Franco-Prussian War. Unfortunately, this classic song came with a lot of controversies and was actually banned in France for a period of time.

Christmas is a special time of year for Christians around the world. At the core of our practice at FFT is our Foundation and belief in Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who was born of a virgin and lived a sinless life. Most importantly, we believe died for our transgressions and was resurrected by the power of God.

The counselors at Foundations Family Therapy feel not only led, but called to our profession as therapists. In fact, it is an honor for us to be able to walk with you on a journey of healing. We believe that everyone was created by God and for God and that there is a purpose for your life. We want to help you find the purpose you were created for, and to move from barely surviving to thriving. Make an appointment

3 Ways To Be Present During The Holiday Season

As we approach the holiday season, let’s take a quick second and do a self-check.

How do you feel about the holidays? … Excited, stressed, anxious, frustrated?

The holidays emit SO many different feelings! Some based on family situations and others can be chalked up to current life stressors. Sometimes, the reality of the holidays doesn’t quite measure up to what we had envisioned. So, how can we be truly present amid the presents and turkey dinners?

Try these 3 ways this holiday season..

Prioritize and then Say “NO”

Reflect on past holiday seasons and think about what is important to you. It might be attending that one holiday party with your best friend. It could be having a conversation with your grandmother or attending a religious service. It could be reconnecting with a favorite sibling for drinks. Whatever it is, do those things and say no to other things.

It sounds simplistic, but it helps create calmness in this chaotic time of year where we feel that we must do ALL and be ALL which we don’t typically feel other times in the year. If there is an event that you feel that you need to make an appearance, but you aren’t thrilled about going, you can set boundaries. Think about how long you are going to stay. Who you will communicate with and who comes with you?

Slow down

This relates to all aspects of the holiday season. If our minds are racing about what we need to do while we are trying to engage in another activity, it will leave us feeling rushed and stressed. It’s helpful to use the five senses to really engage with whatever you are doing. It’s about being mindful.

For example, if you are baking cookies: how does the dough feel in your hands? What do you smell and see around you? If someone is helping you, what are they saying to you? What does their face look like?

Focusing on the five senses is especially helpful when related to food and the holidays. Many times, we overeat and then feel regretful afterwards. Take a small bite of what you are eating and really savor the flavors. This will help you acknowledge are you eating just to eat or eating because you are hungry.

Listen to your body

Pay attention to what your body is telling you during the holidays. Sometimes we forget to do basic self-care such as making sure we are drinking enough water, getting enough rest, and exercising. If are traveling for the holidays, make sure you take time to get out of the car and stretch. When you are visiting with family, take a walk with them to enjoy the holiday decorations. Try to maintain as similar of a routine as you can such as when you go to sleep and when you wake up to help when you return to daily life post- holiday season.

Interested in learning more ways to be present this holiday season? Let’s talk more! 

Renee Pugh, LCSW