As a storyteller, I often tell stories in the period leading up to Christmas. I found these inspirational Christmas legends in my research. I love to share them with you!
I have made a separate post about Christmas fairy tales; here, I have tried to include only family-friendly Christmas legends.
Legends are ‘unverified stories handed down from earlier times, especially those popularly believed to be historical.’ (source)
1. The Legend of the Christmas Rose
The Christmas Rose shows itself amidst the snow in the coldest time of the year. It reminds us that winter is not the end: Spring is coming.
The Legend of the Christmas Rose explains why this rose shows itself amid winter.
When Jesus was born, angels told everybody about it. A little girl called Madelon heard the good news. She saw three wise men on their way to visit the baby. Even shepherds followed the trail to the stable.
She followed them. However, when she arrived at the stable, she realized she had nothing to give. She looked around for flowers, but no flowers were growing through the snow.
Tears rolled from her eyes into the snow. Finally, an angel saw her crying and turned her tears into beautiful flowers. Madelon took the roses inside, and since then, they have been blessed to survive the cold.
Read more about this legend at worldofchristmas.net
2. The Christmas Legend of the Robin
It was so cold the night Jesus was born. The fire in the stable was slowly dying. Who could keep them warm?
The ox, the donkey, the horse, the sheep, all of them were asleep and could not tend to the fire.
Suddenly Mother Mary heard the flapping of wings. The robin flew in, giving the fire oxygen by flapping his wings and energy by bringing dry sticks and straws. He saved them and brought back the warmth.
However, when the fire flamed up again, his breast was scorched. And so it is, until this day, to remind everybody of its good deed.
Read more about this legend at indobase.com
3. The Legend of the Christmas Spiders / Tinsel
The children of a widowed woman take a tree into their home. However, there is no money to buy decorations for the tree. So sadly, the children went to bed.
Spiders, however, had seen the sadness of the family, and during the night, they decorated the whole Christmas tree with their webs. When the Christ child saw it, he changed the webs into strands of silver and gold.
The following day all family was happy, and they realized that even when they were poor, God would take care of them.
The next time when you decorate the Christmas tree with tinsel, you know the legend behind it.
Read the entire story at godupdates.com
4. The Christmas Legend of The Little Drummer Boy
Zach was asleep when voices outside his house suddenly awakened him. A parade passed in the middle of the night.
Immediately he saw his chance. He took his coat, got his drum, and stepped outside. However, the people outside looked strange. Three rich men were sitting on camels, guided by servants.
Zack followed them, caught up with the parade, and started to play his drum. Excitingly he played as loud as he could.
The whole city of Jerusalem was waking up. Soon people started to yell, scream and even throw things at him from their windows.
The parade left the city, and happily, Zack accompanied them to a stable, where he saw a baby was born. Everybody presented their gifts to the baby. However, he had nothing to give.
He did not know what to do and started to play his drum. Baby Jesus turned his head to the sound and smiled at the young drummer boy. He had not smiled at the gold, the frankincense, or the myrrh, but he did smile at the sound and heart of the drummer boy.
A more extended rewrite of this story you can find at sermoncentral.com
💡 This story tells the nativity story through the eyes of the drummer boy. Looking for more creative ways to tell the Christmas story?
5. The Christmas Legend of Babushka
An old woman called Babushka (the Russian word for old woman/grandmother) lived in a tiny village.
One winter evening, the Three Wise Men knocked on her door. She invited them in, and soon they all sat around the fire. The wise men showed their gifts and told her they were going to where the king of kings was born. Babushka served them some warm soup for the journey.
Babushka shared with them that she would love to come along but first needed to clean the house and prepare herself.
After cleaning, scrubbing, and washing, she gathered her coat and some small gifts. However, the star the wise men had followed was nowhere to be seen. So she wandered off searching for the star, and people say she is wandering still, leaving gifts for children everywhere.
Many Russian parents tell their children not about Santa leaving gifts but about Babushka.
Read a more extended version of this story at gosanangelo.com
6. The Legend of Saint Nicholas and the Three Boys
Santa Claus is based on the figure of St. Nicholas, a Greek bishop. Many legends are being told about this bishop. This one connects him to the excellent work he did for children.
❗ Warning: this is the one legend on this page that is not very family-friendly.
One day, three boys were playing outside. They lost their way and asked a butcher for a place to stay the night. However, instead of taking care of them, the butcher murdered them en kept their bodies in a barrel.
Seven years later, St. Nicholas knocked on his door, demanded to see the barrel, and commanded the boys to rise from the dead. They did, and they lived happily ever after.
Read more legends about St. Nicholas at stnicholascenter.org
The Legend of Christmas Stockings
In my country (The Netherlands), we celebrate the day of St. Nicholas. Children put their shoes at the chimney, with hay and a carrot for the horse of St. Nicholas. At night he will come with his helpers and fill the shoes.
This tradition was carried over into the US, where children and grownups now leave their Christmas stockings, which Santa fills with gifts.
The stockings grew larger and larger and became more and more festive. And the food for the reindeer? That was slowly forgotten.
Now you know where the tradition of Christmas stockings came from. I’m proud that it came from my country. So if you are ever in the Netherlands, make sure to join a Sinterklaas celebration before or on the 5th of December (his birthday).
More Christmas Legends?
In gathering these legends, I got some help from the Reddit Fairy Tale community.
If you enjoyed these inspirational Christmas legends, you might also enjoy my collections of very short Christmas stories with morals, funny true Christmas stories, and heartwarming Christmas stories for adults.