Winter Holiday Series: Christmas
Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated as part of the Christian religion and is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday. This holiday falls at the closing of the Advent season and begins the 12 Days of Christmas.
In the Eastern area of Christianity, Christmas was originally celebrated on January 6th of every year because it was connected to Epiphany. In Armenia and many other parts of the world Christmas is still celebrated every January 6th and is considered to be a public holiday. There are two different calendars used across the world that call for celebrating Christmas on both December 25th and January 6th, the Julian Calendar and the Gregorian calendar. Most celebrate Christmas on December 25.
There are various customs associated with the celebration of this holiday. Some of the most popular customs used to celebrate are caroling, listening to Christmas music and giving gifts to loved ones. Christmas cards are exchanged between family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. Either on the eve of the holiday or the morning of, Christians attend a special Christmas service at their church.
Christmas decorations are a huge part of the holiday season and are enjoyed all over the world by people of all ages. Most families put up and decorate a Christmas tree in their house and adorn their house with items such as mistletoe, garlands, holly and wreathes. Nativity scenes depicting the birth of Jesus Christ are often used to mark the holiday. Both indoor and outdoor displays are set up by many families that celebrate.
In most families, Christmas dinner is a yearly tradition they mark the holiday with. Some people choose to have their special Christmas dinner on the eve of the holiday and some chose to have it on the holiday itself. A Christmas dinner traditionally consists of ham or turkey and side dishes such as cranberry sauce, green beans, casseroles, sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots and more. Popular desserts include Christmas candy, cookies, and perhaps most famously, candy canes. Many people choose to decorate with candy canes by hanging them on their Christmas tree or taping a small one to a wrapped gift.
Every year in New York City’s Rockefeller Center, a Christmas tree is set up and decorated by city workers and volunteers. There is then an official lighting of the tree in early December that is televised to audiences all over the world and draws a huge crowd to watch the event live at Rockefeller Center. This has been a staple of the Christmas holiday for many years.
Perhaps the best part of Christmas to children throughout the world is the appearance of Santa Claus. The story goes that Santa Claus lives on the North Pole along with Mrs. Claus and a team of elves and reindeers. He keeps a running list of children who are naughty and children who are nice throughout the year. The children on the nice list are promised to receive wrapped treasures under their tree when they wake up on Christmas morning. Santa’s elves spend all year long making toys and gifts for boys and girls all over the world and the reindeers propel Santa’s sleigh to allow him to travel to every child in the world in one night.
Children and their parents often flock to malls during the Christmas season to sit on Santa’s lap, tell him what gifts they want and have their picture taken with him.