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Christmas Day

Christmas Day

Every year on December 25, we celebrate Christmas, a day for spending time with family, observing an important Christian holiday, partaking in lighthearted traditions, or just spreading some holiday cheer! Christmas has evolved over several millennia into a worldwide celebration that’s both religious and secular and chock full of fun-filled, family activities.

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS
Traditionally, Christians claim Christmas as the day on which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born. And although many of our Christmas Day rituals and traditions evolved from that singular moment, that’s not the whole story. Although there are myths and truths about Christmas, let’s unpack what we do know.

The fact is that no one knows the exact time and place of Jesus’ birth. In the Bible’s New Testament, apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John share similar stories but they never actually name the date of Jesus’ birth. December 25 is largely attributed to the first Christian historian, Sextus Julius Africanus, around 221 A.D.

In one view of why December 25 was chosen as the official date for Christmas, historians believe the early church wanted to link the Son of God’s birth with the “rebirth of the sun,” which arrives after the winter equinox. A second view bases the date around Jesus’ date of conception on March 25, at the spring equinox. December 25 would then be the date of Jesus’ birth exactly nine months later.

At one point, the Church designated January 6 as Jesus’ baptismal date and the correct date for Christmas. But by the 9th century, Christmas was observed only as a minor holy day.

By the Middle Ages, Europeans created some of the Christmas customs we recognize today. In Strasbourg, apple-decorated fir trees appeared in homes. During the 17th and 18th centuries, people started to give gifts as symbolic of the Magi arriving in Bethlehem with offerings for the newborn baby Jesus. By the 19th century, fir wreaths laden with 24 candles representing the 24 days before Christmas were later reduced to a much safer four candles. Eventually, Christmas Day traditions spread beyond Europe to Latin and North America and other places around the world.

CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES
1.Make your own Advent calendar
Spread the holiday excitement by making a calendar filled with sweet surprises for the month. Create your own Advent calendar by using paper bags, a muffin tin, envelopes, or other accessible items around the house, and include cute and quirky little presents to celebrate each day. These make perfect holiday gifts or a great way to #treatyourself every day in December.

2.Spread cheer
The holidays are the perfect excuse to spread cheer to those around you and, in doing so, help you enjoy the holiday more, too. Whistle along to your favorite Christmas tune, smile at others, and wish everyone a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. Your joyful holiday spirit will be contagious.

3.Organize a Christmas potluck
Organize a special potluck dinner with your friends and family. One of the most important traditions of the Christmas season is to gather with those you care about and make winter a little warmer by sharing the warmth of compassion with them. Your friends and family will leave with stomachs full of food and hearts filled with happiness!

WHY WE LOVE CHRISTMAS
A. It has deeper meaning
The Christmas holiday focuses on honoring the sacred birth of Christ in the Christian religion. The Christmas traditions we know today stemmed from this story — the Three Wise Men came to see the newborn Jesus bearing gifts and they embody the seasonal spirit of giving gifts to others. It helps us remember the gestures of love, kindness, and forgiveness.

B. It’s joyful, merry, and bright
Christmas is one of the most joyful holidays! Some celebrate it just to partake in its holiday fun or to spend time with family. Houses are decked out in colorful lights and beautifully decorated pine trees, the delicious smell of hot cocoa and spices fill the air — there’s nothing that quite tops the beautiful Christmas spirit.

C. It’s sweater season
Christmas is the one time of year where collections of finely knit, red-and-green light-up sweaters adorned with bows, glitter, and knick-knacks emerge after being stowed away in cardboard boxes all year. These glorious garments (some of which might twinkle with lights or sing a Christmas song) make their debut only during this special season.

References:

“Christmas Day” │ https://nationaltoday.com/christmas/

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