Silent Night: The Christmas Truce of World War 1

On Christmas Eve 1914, roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in a Christmas Truce during World War 1. This is just one of the events on our new World War 1 Timeline.

Candles were placed on trenches and Christmas trees, carols were sung and Christmas greetings were exchanged. Some ventured across No Man’s Land, where gifts such as tobacco and alcohol were exchanged.  A few men played football. Artillery fell silent.

“I wouldn’t have missed that unique and weird Christmas Day for anything. … I spotted a German officer, some sort of lieutenant I should think, and being a bit of a collector, I intimated to him that I had taken a fancy to some of his buttons. … I brought out my wire clippers and, with a few deft snips, removed a couple of his buttons and put them in my pocket. I then gave him two of mine in exchange. … The last I saw was one of my machine gunners, who was a bit of an amateur hairdresser in civil life, cutting the unnaturally long hair of a docile Boche, who was patiently kneeling on the ground whilst the automatic clippers crept up the back of his neck” 

From Bullets & Billets by Bruce Bainsfather

Add the events of World War 1 onto your own family history timeline.

  • Click the In View button at the top of your Twile timeline
  • Move the World War 1 slider on the right hand side of the window
  • Click Done

We would love to hear if your ancestors took part in the Christmas Truce. Comment below if you have a story to tell.

How to Twile your Christmas

We have just added a new Christmas milestone to help you Twile your memories over the festive season.

We encourage you to add this year’s Christmas to your timeline, but also try to add some of your past Christmas memories.  Is there a particular Christmas memory that is close to your heart?  Are there traditions you remember from your childhood – do you still keep those traditions?

As your family comes together to enjoy a Christmas dinner, unwrap presents, take lots of photos and make new memories, firstly take a few moments to think about Christmas in years gone by.

Here is how to Twile your Christmas by adding a Christmas milestone to your Twile timeline…

Create a Christmas Milestone

  1. Click Add at the top of your Twile timeline
  2. Click Add milestone
  3. Select Christmas from the new Holidays section
  4. Enter the date
  5. Click Choose photos to add photos from the special day
  6. Click Add

Add your Christmas photos
Once you have your Christmas milestone, open it to add your photos, creating a visual Christmas story on your timeline.  You’ll then have a mini photo album of these memories.

Tag family members
Add people to your new Christmas story so you’ll always know who was there. This also means that the story will show up on each person’s individual timeline of their life. You can tag anyone in your story, as long as they are on your family tree. For more information on how to do this, read our article on adding family members.

Add some comments
Photos are great to look through, but they don’t tell the full story. Was it a child’s first Christmas or the first Christmas in a new home?  What was special about the day, what memories would you like to pass forward?  Add words to your Christmas story to fill in the details.

Add the location
Where were you this year?  Were you at the family home or enjoying Christmas with friends?  Were you abroad?  Add the location to your story so you’ll always be able to look back and know where you were.

Invite family members
A timeline means so much more when its shared with your family, especially those you shared Christmas with.  And because they can all add up to 10 photos every month for free, they can contribute to your story with their own pictures and comments. Click here to watch our video on how to invite your family members and find out more about our free service here.

From everyone at Twile, we wish you and your whole family a very Merry Christmas… don’t forget to Twile it!

Related article: What does Christmas mean to you? 

What does Christmas mean to you?

Christmas means different things to different people.  We asked some of our customers, family and friends what means the most to them at this time of year.

The video also features some of the residents of Silver Birches Care Home in Mytholmroyd, who told us of their Christmas memories. It was great to hear their stories, most of which centred around family.

We spoke to Marion who remembered Christmas mornings as a child, when her father would get the car out and take the family to church – when they came out of church there were always presents on the seat.

It was interesting to hear Ian share memories of his older brother, who was in the navy and came home at Christmas time. They would play football together and enjoy games in the snow. If it hadn’t snowed, they didn’t think it was Christmas.

And we spoke to Joseph, who said Christmas is all about the children and how we want to see them happy and enjoying it. His memories of Christmas were very different from those children might enjoy today – he remembered (very fondly) getting an apple and an orange “polished up”.

When asked what Christmas meant to them, many of the people mentioned toys and presents, some thought of the church.  And almost everybody mentioned family.

We hope you enjoy making special memories with your family this year.  And don’t forget to add your photos and memories to your Twile timeline.