Cultures and religions from around the world and across time, have long held feasts and celebrated holidays around the shortest day of the year, which falls on 21st December in the UK. And with the school Christmas holidays fast approaching I have been taking a wander down memory lane and back to the Christmases of my childhood.

Like most families, we had our own traditions, one of which was that each of us awoke on Christmas morning to find a stocking hanging on the end of the bed heralding the start of our Christmas day. The contents of the stocking were small and inexpensive and included things like a plastic kazoo, a small set of Jacks, or perhaps a skipping rope (kazoos and Jacks can still be found online and in some shops).

Right at the bottom of the stocking, there was always a tangerine, a coin and a nut. As a child, I didn’t understand why our stockings contained these three items, especially as none of us really liked tangerines or nuts; although the penny was always very welcome. Now, of course I understand the history and symbolism behind the stocking and the final three ‘odd’ presents.

Hanging stockings up came from the Dutch tradition of putting out shoes packed with food for St. Nicholas’ donkey’s. In return St. Nicholas would leave a small gift for the owner of each set of shoes. Placing tangerines in stockings was a tribute to the 12th century French nuns who left socks full of nuts and fruit, including tangerines at the houses of the poor, while the coin in the stocking evoked the story of St Nicholas visiting the home of three poor sisters and dropping coins down the chimney which landed in the sisters’ stocking as they hung out to dry near the fire.

Whatever the Christmas Holidays mean to you and your family, it is important for students to have down-time, relax, meet up with friends and enjoy their break from school. But it is also important for them to maintain their learning over the school break and Good2Learn is perfect for keeping the learning momentum going with instant feedback and without any pressure.

From all of the team at Good2Learn, we hope you have a wonderful holiday and a happy and healthy New Year.

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