Christmas is a very popular holiday. It is a happy and fun time of the year. Christmas gives us the opportunity of taking time off from our work and busy life to spend some wonderful and lovely moments with our family, friends and loved ones. Christmas spreads joy and wonders for everyone.
The tradition of Christmas is surrounded with holidays, gifts, decorating trees, family dinners and Santa. Santa has different variations in different cultures.
Christmas is celebrated as a holiday by everyone. But it has a religious value for the Christians. They celebrate Christmas to honor and commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. They celebrate Christmas to highlight the blessings God has sent on earth to help us free ourselves from our own sins.
Christmas is celebrated in 160 countries now. It is celebrated on December 25th every year. But there are actually three days of this celebration. On December 24th we celebrate Christmas Eve. December 25th is Christmas Day, and December 26th is known as Boxing day.
Boxing day originated in the United Kingdom. It has nothing to do with the sport, boxing. The origin of this name is uncertain. Some think that this day is called boxing because employers boxes presents for their employees. Because of its popularity, it is now celebrated throughout the world as an extra holiday.
In the US, Christmas is part of the holiday season. This season has five holidays. Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
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How We Celebrate Christmas
How Americans Celebrate Christmas?
In the Christmas season, Americans greet each other by saying “Merry Christmas”. People of all classes decorate their houses with bright and colorful lights. They put a Christmas tree in their living room and decorate it with colorful lights, Christmas ornaments etc. At the bottom of the Christmas tree, presents are wrapped around and placed. These presents are opened on Christmas morning.
Meanwhile on the day before Christmas, Christmas Eve, parents finish all decorations of the house with the help of their children. This helps to deepen the bond between them. The traditional Christmas dinner dish in the US is roasted turkey, which is prepared on the night of Christmas Eve and served on Christmas. In some cases, families leave milk and cookies for Santa Claus. Children leave a note for Santa with it. Children are told if they behave well throughout the year, they might get a note back from Santa saying that their wish will be granted. Families also leave out carrots for the trusted reindeer of Santa.
Christmas is truly a magical festival in the eyes of children. They believe that Santa comes on the night of Christmas Eve. Santa uses the chimney of their houses to sneak in and leave presents for them. And on his way out, he has milk and cookies.
On Christmas Day, the morning starts with family members greeting each other saying “Merry Christmas”. Then the presents are allowed to open. Children are very excited at this time to see what is in the presents because those boxes have been under the tree for such a long period of time. Their presents could be books, toys, clothes etc. Most of the time, the adults get handmade Christmas themed sweaters, made by their granny. It is truly a wonderful time of the day.
Throughout the day, families spent quality time with each other. Sometimes, they invite friends to come over. The day is spent with fun activities. In some towns, parades are held regarding Christmas. At night, every family member sits together at the table to have dinner. Before eating, they hold hands together to pray. After that, they have dinner. The traditional Christmas dinner is roasted turkey. The turkey is stuffed. There are also mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy and some vegetables like carrots, parsnips and turnip. Sometimes poultry, ham and roasted beef are also served. Christmas also has some special desserts for the family. Christmas pudding, apple pie, pumpkin pie, fruit cake and raisin pudding. The night is made more special with cookie games, treasure hunts etc. Sometimes parents hire a person in a Santa costume to make their children happy. The children sit on the Santas lap and ask for stories or gifts. That is how Christmas night is spent in America.
The next day, December 26th is called boxing day. Sometimes it is celebrated on the first workday after Christmas. This day is celebrated with shopping, feasting and enjoying sports. The day is filled with joy and entertainment. Employers gave presents to their employees. Families go out shopping and visit restaurants for a feast with friends and others.
The joy of Christmas does not end on December 26th. It goes on, and after New Year’s Eve, it ends with the holiday season. People go back to their normal busy life with joyful memories of Christmas and the holiday season in their mind.
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Christmas in Other Cultures
Christmas is a universal festival. But it has different versions in different cultures.
For example, in India, locals decorate mango trees because fir trees are not much available there. In Japan, they decorate fir trees. But their tradition of dinner is different. Instead of having a roasted turkey, they have Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) for dinner.
The iconic Santa Claus of Christmas also has different versions. The traditional Santa is a happy old man wearing red clothing and beanie with white hair and beard. But in Italy, there is no Santa Claus. Instead, they have La Befana, an old happy witch.
The tradition of placing wrapped presents under the Christmas trees are also different. In Brazil, children put out their shoes in front of their houses. Papa Noel, Brazilian Santa, places presents in them on the night of Christmas Eve.
These are some of the difference of Christmas around the world.
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Christmas is a happy and beautiful time around the year. It spreads joy and wonders while bringing us close to our loved ones. It is celebrated differently around the world. However, we should not forget the true meaning of Christmas, which is to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.