We celebrate Mitten Tree Day on December 6 as a fun holiday that encourages using and giving mittens. Mittens are the perfect solution to keep our hands warm when playing in the snow and building snowmen. But mittens are also the perfect gift for those who do not have a heater or fireplace to keep them warm. So, purchase (or knit) some creative and colorful mittens that you would love to sport when you step out of the house — plus a few extra for someone less fortunate than you.
History of Mitten Tree Day
We don’t know the details of the history of Mitten Tree Day, but there is a belief that school teachers formed it during Christmas time. The idea of Mitten Tree Day is said to have emerged as a fun class activity, which they named after a book called “The Mitten Tree.” The book’s author, Candace Christiansen, focused the storyline on a woman who missed her grown-up children.
In the book, the lady walks through the cold winter weather and spots a few children waiting at the school bus stop. The lady notices that the children want to play in the snow but can’t because they don’t have any mittens to protect their hands. Feeling sorry for the kids, she knits a basket full of mittens and hangs them on a tree near the bus stop. The woman continues to knit mittens for the kids of her town and no longer drowns in the memories of her children.
According to sources, the name ‘mittens’ comes from the Old French word ‘mitaine.’ It was an old pet name for a cat, and at that time, mittens were made of animal fur. The earliest mittens found are said to date back to 1000 A.D. Mittens were also very common in medieval Europe. However, since they were hard to make, they were often worn as a fashion statement by the wealthy. Today, we make mittens from different materials like wool, leather, fur, or polyester. They also tend to be warmer than gloves because our fingers generate more heat when they are together.
Mitten Tree Day timeline
People make mittens from linen and tie them around their wrists.
A wool mitten with a poem pattern is created.
Marit Gulsethbrua Emstad makes black and white, eight-leafed patterned mittens.
Elizabeth II wears a snowy leather pair of mittens for her crowning.
Mitten Tree Day FAQs
What is the difference between a mitten and a glove?
Gloves have separate finger openings that cover each finger independently, while mittens only have a separate thumb opening.
Which mittens are the warmest?
Leather mittens are amongst the warmest.
Is there a National Mitten Day?
In Canada, National Red Mitten Day falls on November 21 to celebrate Canadian Olympic pride. Canadians are encouraged to wear red mittens to show support for Canadian Olympic athletes.
How to Celebrate Mitten Tree Day
Go mitten shopping
Now is the time to shop for mittens for yourself, your loved ones, and those in need. Experiment with colors and patterns and search for sales on the day.
Showcase your mittens
Have a pair of mittens you want to show off? Start taking pictures and posting them on social media for the world to see!
Decorate a tree with mittens
Mittens are one of the most creative Christmas tree decorations and so useful too. Perhaps you can take a page from “The Mitten Tree” and leave mittens for children or the less fortunate to find.
5 Fun Facts About Mittens
Mittens in the 1800s
They were called ‘hailing hands’ by American colonists.
Women getting married are given a hope chest filled with mittens.
America’s first female entrepreneur
Abby Condonsold knitted mittens for soldiers during the American Civil War.
Some mittens have poetry verses woven into their designs.
The most popular mitten pattern
The star or rose pattern is the most loved mitten pattern.
Why We Love Mitten Tree Day
A chance to give back
The day reminds us that there are people less fortunate than us who would love to have mittens to keep their hands warm, and Mitten Tree Day is the perfect day to do something about it.
Celebrating mittens’ usefulness
Mittens are very important to protect you from the cold and are especially essential for kids who often play around in the snow and those without shelter.
Leads to fun shopping sprees
The day and its celebrations of mittens can lead to a shopping spree with friends or family. After all, it is crucial to match your mittens with the Christmas outfit!
Mitten Tree Day dates