Christmas is said to be the most highly anticipated and marketed holiday in the Western world. The name means ‘Christ’s mass’ and is derived from Middle English (Christemasse) and Old English (Cristes moesse). And as many of you know, it commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ.
Everyone around the world celebrates Christmas differently. The most popular traditions are those we practice in America involving gift giving and the figure of Santa Claus. Christmas Day takes place on December 25th and Christmas Eve precedes it (December 24th).
Most of the traditions with decorating for Christmas include Nativity scenes, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, wreaths, mistletoes, angles, candy canes, stockings and bells. The Nativity scene refers to Jesus Christ’s birth to the Virgin Mary in the city of Bethlehem. Children usually reenact the story in plays at church or school and traditionally include the Three Wise Men. The popular image of Santa Claus (also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Pere Noel) that we recognize today was created by the German-American cartoonist Thomas Nast.
And as many of you are probably aware; Christmas is a huge economic stimulus for many nations. Sales increase dramatically because of gifts, decorations and supplies being purchased. In the US, the Christmas season typically starts on Black Friday (Day after Thanksgiving), though it’s not unusual to see retail stores selling Christmas items as early as October!
Though the monetary gifts are what everyone portrays Christmas is about, to me, Christmas is more than just a commercial holiday. It’s about family and traditions. It’s about the promotion of goodwill and peace towards men. Being with the ones you love to celebrate another year. That’s what the spirit of Christmas means. I could forgo the electrical appliance, name brand clothing or costume jewelry. Being with my friends and family and sharing the magic of Christmas with them is what it’s all about!