Under the Christmas tree at Wallsee, newspaper illustration, 1916

Christkind, St Nicholas & Christmas trees

Christmas customs in the Habsburg family

24.12.1741–24.12.1913

Nowadays Christmas is regarded as the epitome of the family celebration. The customs and rituals associated with it are often seen as unchanging, time-hallowed traditions. But like many other things, Christmas is also subject to changes in fashion. Once a church solemnity celebrated in merry conviviality, today, notwithstanding the consumer frenzy now associated with it, Christmas is still seen in Austria as a time of tranquillity and is above all as a celebration for children. The Christmas tree, the now ubiquitous seasonal symbol, first appeared in Austria during the Biedermeier era – not least thanks to the Habsburgs.

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