As we revel in the excitement of the Christmas season, it is easy to overlook many of the timeless superstitions that we work into our holiday routines.
Most of these legends are celebrated traditions offering simple tricks to gain good luck for the coming year or a gift from Santa that isn't a dull lump of coal. And, in honor of a Friday the 13th placed smack in the middle of the holidays, we've gathered 13 of the most well-known holiday superstitions below.
1. Those Born On Christmas Day Are Protected From Death
It is believed that people born on Dec. 25 will never encounter a ghost or ever be approached by spirits. And, an added bonus for all you Christmas babies, legend says you are also protected from death by drowning or hanging, says Snopes.
2. Hanging Stockings Will Bring Good Luck
The tradition of hanging stockings is in honor of St. Nicholas. It's told that he was so compassionate toward three struggling sisters that he tossed three coins down their chimney. The coins landed into stocking that were drying on the home's hearth. So, we hang stockings in hope that similar luck will come upon us -- or at least a winning lotto card will magically appear in one of them.
3. Swing Your Door Open On Christmas Eve To Free Evil Spirits
You might want to add this to the list of things to do before bed this Dec. 24. At midnight on Christmas Eve, people once opened their doors to let out any evil spirits that may be trapped in the house.
4. Keep Things Green For A Chance At Good Fortune
Want good luck in the coming year? Just max out on the greenery with your holiday decorations. Evergreens are a symbol of both new and long-lasting life and we decorate our homes in a testament to our belief in this statement. They represent a fresh start for the New Year and hope of good fortune.
5. Mistletoe Is One Tough Plant
Mistletoe has been attributed to a host of powerful fixes, including fighting witches and lightning. It has even been said to cure poison, epilepsy, barrenness and whooping cough. For this reason, it is said that you should actually leave it hanging year-round from one festive season to the next. And, who said it was only good for a perfectly-timed kiss?
6. Santa Won't Come If You Don't Go To Sleep
Any child knows very well how this superstition works. Don't go to sleep and Santa won't be making a stop at your house as he delivers his gifts on Christmas Eve. And, though normally there are no repercussions for sneaky little ones that refuse to go to bed, this remains a time-honored secret weapon for parents worldwide.
7. Bad Behavior Means A Gift Of Coal
Another classic superstition that successfully strikes fear into the hearts of the less agreeable little ones. It is usually said the coal will appear hidden in a wrapped gift or in the offenders' Christmas stocking. Although used year-round by parents, this threat is most often utilized during the holiday season.
8. Steal Successfully On Christmas And You're Safe To Steal All Year
It isn't recommended to try this legend out. But it is said that if you steal on Christmas or New Year's Day and don't get caught, you can steal the rest of the year without having to worry about getting caught.
9. Keep Those Christmas Candles Burning
One ancient superstition says that to bring good luck in the coming year, Christmas candles should be left burning until Christmas morning. They were normally left in the window all night and weren't to be touched from the time they were lit until they were put out.
10. Show Carolers A Little Love
Christmas carolers may be one of the more annoying aspects of the season for some. But it's recommended that you think twice before shooing them away from your door. It is supposed to be extremely unlucky to send carolers away empty-handed no matter how terrible they sing. It is recommended that you at least offer money, food or drink since the singers could actually be a king, or angel, or maybe even Beyonce in disguise.
11. Black Eyed Peas Equal Good Luck On New Year's Day
This is one very well-known superstition that many families follow strictly on New Year's Day.
12. A Glass Of Champagne Brings Good Fortune Your Way
Drinking champagne is also said to bring good luck in the new year. So, make sure to fit that champagne toast into your New Year's festivities.
13. Clean Your House Before New Year’s Day
Ahead of New Year's Day, it is said you should clean your house thoroughly and ditch all of your old cleaning equipment when you finish. That means, mopping, dusting, sweeping and vacuuming all before the clock strikes midnight. This is said to sweep away all the final remnants of the old year out.
Treye Green is a reporter for The International Business Times and a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Green has shot, edited and...