Merry Christmas

Christmas Day takes place every year on 25th December and celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.  It is a widely observed holiday that has a number of celebratory customs in various countries and appears to be a mix of Christian, pre-Christian and secular themes and origins.

Today there are a number of popular customs that are associated with Christmas, including Christmas caroling and music, the giving of gifts, a special meal, the giving of Christmas cards, church celebrations, and displaying a number of different Christmas decorations such as Christmas lights, garland, holly, mistletoe, Christmas trees, nativity scenes and wreaths.  There are also a number of closely linked mythological figures associated with the act of bringing gifts to children at Christmas time: Father Christmas, Santa Claus, St Nicholas and Christ king.

Various factors associated with the Christmas festival – such as the giving of gifts – involve greater economic activity among a large proportion of the population, which has resulted in the holiday becoming a key sales period and significant event for businesses and retailers.  The economic impact has grown more and more in many areas of the world for the last couple of hundred years.

Winter festivals that centered on the Winter Solstice were common in the pre-Christian era.  Many of these traditions have become intermingled with Christmas, including merrymaking and giving gifts from the Roman Saturnalia; charity, lights and greenery from the Roman New Year; and various foods from Germanic feasts, including yule logs.