In the middle of no-man's-land the two sets of troops bonded as if they had not been firing and fighting each other for five months. The two sets of men exchanged Christmas presents and gifts from home, they swapped cigarettes and plum puddings, in some cases cut each other's hair and sang carols together in one of the most remarkable displays of Christmas spirit and camaraderie in warfare history. In some places across the Western Front, the now famous 1914 Christmas Truce football games happened. German Lieutenant Kurt Zehmisch mentioned the football games in his diary and wrote "a lively game ensued. How marvellously wonderful, yet how strange it was. The English officers felt the same way about it. This Christmas, the celebration of Love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as friends for a time." The soldiers who played in these games often were unable to get their hands on proper footballs so used anything they could get their hands as alternatives such as food tins, and often the war-scarred fields did not make for good football pitches, thus ruining any chance of a proper game. The organisation of these games has often been exaggerated, and they have more often been described as 'kickabouts' rather than actual games by several historians. There are some records of score lines, including one where a German Regiment defeated a British Regiment 3-2, however, the lack of German sources of games make it difficult to prove the accuracy of such records. The Christmas Truce was also similar to the unspoken 'Live and Let Live' system of truces where troops would not fire upon or attack Troops during mealtimes, when they were washing or when performing actives, such as collecting their dead and repairing trenches, which were usually unarmed and left them exposed. Troops from both sides also utilised this truce as an opportunity to properly respect the dead and to give them honourable burials, with both the German and British Troops working together to bury their dead. It was not only the British and the Germans who held ceasefires, many French and Belgian soldiers managed to arrange truces with their German opponents on Christmas day too. Furthermore, there are also records of Austro-Hungarian and Russian ceasefires on the Eastern Front, however, these ceasefires were not as widespread as the ones occurring on the Western Front.
These stories of ceasefires give us an important window into the human side of WWI and the lives and attitudes of the Soldiers taking part in this war. However, recent narratives and depictions, such as the now-famous 2014 Sainsbury Christmas advert, have led to many believing that the 1914 Christmas Truce was good-natured, widespread, and something that occurred not just across the entirety of the Western Front, but across the Eastern Front as well. Some Officers and Soldiers from both sides saw the truce as an opportunity to gain information on the enemies, their trenches, their best soldiers, and the positions of their weapons. One British officer shared a cigar with a German sniper who claimed to have killed over a 'dozen' British soldiers. However, this officer had used the truce to find his firing position and fully intended to kill him when fighting resumed. The truce did not happen everywhere on the Western Front, as it has been predicted only about 10,000 British soldiers took part in the truce out of around 150,000 men that the British had serving on the continent. Having roughly 6% of the British participating in such truces demonstrates that this truce was not widespread across the Western Front. Fighting did continue elsewhere with casualties occurring on Christmas day as gunfire echoed across the fields of the Western Front and artillery shells rained down upon both sets of trenches. British Commanders had also foreseen the potential for ceasefires and issued pre-emptive commands to prevent truces as Christmas so that the 'fighting spirit' of their men was not undermined by getting too friendly with their enemy, these commands were extended in the following years of the war. Often many officers on both sides would shoot at men, on both sides, to prevent them from attempting peace. The German high command even went as far as to declare fraternisation with enemy troops as high treason, which was punishable by death. The British press was supportive of the ceasefires that happened across the Western Front, whereas the German press criticised the German soldiers who took part in the ceasefire.