Archaeologists may have just discovered their first clue of how our Neanderthal ancestors celebrated Christmas. Excavations in Central Europe have found a near complete set of preserved objects with distinct Christmas significance.
Not surprisingly, our ancestors all had Christmas trees. Christmas trees were in natural abundance in the late seral forests, and Neanderthal men had easy access to cutting them and carrying them to their caves.
They decorated their trees with fruits, nuts and ornaments made of wood, natural materials for making Christmas tree ornaments. They didn’t have any electricity, but they carefully attached little wicks to the branches, so that they could light them up if they wanted their Christmas trees to sparkle. Of course, the wicks didn’t last long, and they sometimes set the trees on fire, but things in Neanderthal times were in general not very functional and our ancestors put up with it all.
Even though their artistic skills paled in comparison to modern toy-making technology, our ancestors used small sticks and mud to put together figurines re-enacting nativity scenes with baby Jesus, because it was the thought that counted, not the quality of the figurines.
Finally, Santa wore a red painted hide, and didn’t have to have a fake beard, because our ancestors were all plenty hairy to start with.
Overall, ancient Christmas celebrations were not all that dissimilar from modern ones, which is a great comfort to all who believe in and celebrate this wonderful holiday.
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