Estonian Christmas traditions are similar to other Baltic Christmas celebrations. Like many other Eastern European Christian holidays, Estonian Christmas traditions have their roots in pagan rituals.
What is now the Christmas celebration directly corresponds with the pagan winter solstice celebration. Interestingly, Estonia still retains its pagan word for these wintertime festivities – joulud, from the word jul (Yule).
Similar to Lithuanian Christmas Eve traditions, Estonians marked Christmas Eve with an abundance of food, preparatory cleanliness (Estonians would go to the sauna or bath house), and prognostications. In addition, while Lithuanians relegated straw to the table on which they ate their Christmas Eve meal, Estonians brought more straw into the house and covered the floors.
Apparently, even though their neighbors, the Latvians, are credited with the first Christmas tree, Estonians adopted the presentation of a decorated evergreen from their local German population, who had already been decorating trees for some time in their native country. This tree was most often a fir tree.
Christmas celebrations in Estonia begin the 21st of December and end on January 6. During this period, Estonians work less, visit friends and family, and receive the declaration of Christmas peace from the Estonian president.