Occasions 365

Christmas

Enjoy your Christmas holidays

In the Western world, Christmas is the year's most anticipated and widely celebrated holiday. While it is held in commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and has deep significance to Christians, Christmas Day has largely become a secular event, celebrated by religious and non-religious people alike. In many countries, it is celebrated by gift-giving and family feasts, which typically begin on Christmas Eve and continue on Christmas Day.

The modern Christmas tradition of Santa Claus visiting homes around the world to leave gifts for children is rooted in the legend of Sinter Klaas, which was brought to the New World by Dutch settlers circa the 17th century. American author Washington Irving is largely responsible for shaping the iconic modern incarnation of Santa Claus from Dutch legends, which evolved into St. Nicholas or "St. A. Claus."

Christmas Ideas: Ways to Celebrate

The Christmas traditions of erecting ornamental trees, hanging wreaths of holly and red, green and silver decorations have become ingrained into Western culture. However, many people decry the commercialization of Christmas and seek alternative ways to celebrate the holiday. If you're looking for Christmas holiday ideas that break with these traditions, here are a few to consider:

  • Reach out to the needy. One of the most satisfying and charitable alternative Christmas ideas is to spend the day volunteering in a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter and volunteering your time to help less fortunate people in your community enjoy a merry Christmas.
  • Go green. With environmental awareness ever-increasing, more and more people are choosing to erect an artificial Christmas tree rather than cutting down a real one. Other ideas include giving eco-friendly gifts, using energy-saving lights to decorate your home and choosing recyclable or reusable decorations.
  • Celebrate before the actual event. For many people, the Christmas holiday has become more stressful than enjoyable. Instead of racing around from store to store, fighting with the crowds for the year's most popular gifts, try holding small celebrations with family and friends in the weeks and days leading up to Christmas itself. You can still honor the traditions of giving gifts, but focus on togetherness by cooking, eating and making crafts together instead.
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