Christmas Day

Christmas Day

Christmas Day

The Christmas season and all its activities are geared to the big day,
Dec. 25, which is Christmas Day. The word Christmas is derived from Middle English ‘Christemasse’ and Old English ‘Cristes maesse,’ both of which means ‘Christ’s Mass.’ The day is celebrated by Christians as the day that Jesus Christ was born, although the true date of Jesus’ birth isn’t really known.

Given the religious significance of Christmas Day, it therefore follows
that attending church is a big tradition on that day. It is seen as mandatory for devout Christians and for others who are concerned about retaining the sacred meaning of the day. Many people fear that the sacred aspects of Christmas are being lost and overshadowed amid the bustle of commercial activity now associated with the entire season.

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Church services therefore take place early on Christmas morning. Attending those services is the first official activity that many people do on Christmas Day. Unlike the Midnight Mass and other earlier church services on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day services do not usually include the dramatization of the birth of Jesus. They may be more subdued with a sermon that recounts the birth of Jesus and his purpose to save mankind. The congregation is then exalted to be as giving as Jesus and to help out those who are in need.

Consequently, many people will take some time on Christmas Day to
volunteer in a charitable activity such as serving dinner to the poor and hungry at a church, charitable organization or other social services center. Others will also work with charitable organizations to distribute toys to needy children at shelters, hospitals and other places.

As part of the religious aspect of Christmas Day, groups that sing Christmas carols will also be out very early on Christmas morning.

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Although Christmas Dinner is the most significant meal of the day, a large
breakfast will also be served in most households that will be shared by all
family members. The occasion of all family members having a meal together is a disappearing tradition in many American households and so Christmas is seen as a perfect time to return to the tradition. Christmas Day after all, is all about family, sharing and togetherness.

Throughout the day, greetings of ‘Merry Christmas’ will be exchanged by
telephone calls with family, friends, acquaintances, and loved ones who are located elsewhere in the country and overseas. It is a common occurrence for so many people to be trying to make international calls to loved ones and friends on Christmas Day that telephone communication systems to some countries often are overwhelmed. The availability of technology and the Internet eases that somewhat nowadays however, as emails and instant messaging can also be used as other communication channels to exchange greetings on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day Dinner is undoubtedly the central activity of the day. Family and friends gathered for dinner take pleasure in enjoying and sharing a delicious meal and also are mindful and thankful for the opportunity to be able to share the meal, to have each other and for the material things that make their lives comfortable and give them happiness. Some of those material things are then shared in absolute delight as everyone will gather around or near to the Christmas tree after dinner to exchange and open Christmas presents. It’s an activity that is relished and which is filled with much laughter, happy chatter and merriment, especially by children who are usually much delighted to get a toy that they had wished for.

After dinner and the exchange of presents, adults may have light conversations, play games or even watch a movie. Children are often taken up with experimenting or playing with their new toys. It has also become a tradition on Christmas Day for members of some families, such as teenagers and young adults, to end Christmas Day by attending the movie theater on Christmas evening or Christmas night to see a recently released film.

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Significance of Christmas Eve

Significance of Christmas Eve

The Significance of Christmas Eve

The day before Christmas is one that is filled with a mixture of anxiety
and anticipation. There’s anxiety at putting all the final plans and finishing decoration touches in place and getting all the necessary shopping done. There’s also much anticipation about all the merriment and excitement of Christmas day.

Children are usually hardly able to control themselves as they think about the Christmas gifts they hope to get the next day. They may try to stay up through the night to catch Santa Claus, or they may just be too excited to sleep.

Christmas Eve is also important for the simple reason that in ancient
custom, and among some cultures today, a holiday or other celebrated day really starts from sundown of the day before the actual day that is celebrated.

Therefore, festivities and observances for Christmas Day would really begin on Christmas Eve.
One of the most significant aspects of Christmas Eve however, is related
to religion. Attending Midnight Mass or earlier church services is mandatory for many people whose religion is Christianity. This is so even for people who aren’t regular churchgoers during the year. Evidence of the importance of these church services can be seen in the overflow of congregations at the churches.
Many churches will also have an added service earlier in the evening to
accommodate the above normal attendance, and also for individuals like the elderly who would prefer a service that is earlier than Midnight Mass.

Another important aspect of Christmas Eve celebrations is related to
retail operations. On the day before Christmas, stores make a last ditch effort to push sales of Christmas and other merchandise. There often are special promotions last-minute advertised to capitalize on late, desperate Christmas shoppers and other impulse buyers. This last effort is also aimed at increasing sales for the Christmas period.

Some stores will remain open late, even up to midnight or just before
midnight. Macy’s department store in New York City, which bills that particular store branch as the world’s largest, stayed open until midnight on Christmas Eve of 1867 for the first time. Christmas Eve culminates the single biggest shopping season, which started the day after Thanksgiving, for retailers.

Christmas Eve is also important for the traditions associated with it. It
is the night when parents have to play the role of Santa Claus and sneak toys and other Christmas gifts under the Christmas tree to the absolute delight and surprise of children who awake on Christmas morning to find the presents.

The idea of Santa Claus coming descending chimneys on Christmas Eve to leave gifts for good boys and girls was made popular by a poem, attributed to Clement Clarke Moore. In that poem titled ‘An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas, ‘ which Moore wrote in 1822 and which is now popularly known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,’ Moore described Santa Claus as ‘a right jolly old elf’ who went from house to house with his sleigh pulled by reindeers flying through the air to deliver Christmas presents to all the girls and boys who had been well behaved.

Food plays a big role in making Christmas Day special and much of its preparation often begins on Christmas Eve. Poultry and other meats are often prepared by letting them stand in a mixture of various herbs and spices, puddings and pies are baked on Christmas Eve, as well as a fresh batch of gingerbread and other cookies and treats.

The scents and flurry of activity related to all these preparations also help to make Christmas Eve a memorable day on its own.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

The Christmas Story

The Christmas Story

The Christmas Story

The idea of celebrating Jesus’ birth was done to counteract pagan holidays
celebrated in Rome during the Winter Solstice. Church leaders thought Christmas celebrations were more likely to be popular if they coincided with the traditional festivals and merrymaking during the Winter Solstice.
Although some Christmas celebrations are secular, the religious aspect of
Christmas remains central to celebrations. This is evident in church services such as Midnight Mass and primarily in the many forms of the Nativity, or Christmas Story, presented wherever people celebrate Christmas.

That story started in Nazareth in Galilee about two thousand years ago.
Mary, a young woman, was engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. An angel appeared to her one day and told her she was with child. She couldn’t understand how that could happen because due to her circumspect nature, she had not laid in bed with Joseph. The angel explained however, that the child would be special as he would
be the Son of God and his name was to be Jesus. Mary and Joseph then got married soon after the angel’s appearance. But about the time when Mary was to have the baby, the couple had to travel far away to Bethlehem, Joseph’s birthplace, to pay a special tax.

It was difficult for them to find a place to stay because many other
people were in Bethlehem to pay their taxes. After many rejections, one
innkeeper offered a room in his stable where they could spend the night.

That’s where Jesus, the Holy Child and Son of God was born and then wrapped in bundles of cloth and placed in a manger for a cradle.
In the same hours that Mary was giving birth, shepherds who were in a
field that overlooked Bethlehem saw an extremely bright star over the sky in Bethlehem. They had never seen anything like it and had feelings of curiosity and scariness. An angel appeared and told them the ‘good news’ that the Son of God had been born in Bethlehem.

The shepherds left their flocks to go to Bethlehem to find the baby. When
they reached the stable, they were filled with immense joy at seeing Jesus. They fell to their knees and worshipped Him. They also told Mary and Joseph about the bright star and the angel appearing to say Jesus would be the Savior of the world.

The bright star was also seen by Wise Men in the east. The Wise Men, who
studied the stars, learned that a new and great ruler would appear whenever an extraordinarily bright star appeared in the sky. Three of them therefore set out to find the new ruler. They first visited King Herod in Jerusalem because they thought the child would be born in the palace. But when they asked to see the child who would be the new ruler, King Herod was very worried as he thought he would be removed from the throne. King Herod told the Wise Men that when they
found the baby, they should return and tell him so that he could also worship the baby.

The Wise Men used the star as a guide to go to Bethlehem where they found Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus who they worshipped and offered gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Wise Men are celebrated in some Christmas celebrations on Jan. 6, known as the Epiphany to mark the date when they found Jesus. Later in the night the three Wise Men had a dream in which an angel told them that King Herod wanted to kill Baby Jesus.

They left Bethlehem to return to the East but didn’t return to Jerusalem to tell King Herod where they had found the child. Joseph also had a dream soon after the Wise Men left in which an angel appeared and told him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt because Herod had ordered that Jesus be killed. In an effort to kill Jesus after the Wise Men did not return to inform him of the baby’s whereabouts, Herod later ordered that all baby boys in Bethlehem should be killed.

But by then Mary and Joseph had left with Baby Jesus.

Have a Chic Christmas – All About Style and Fashion for the Holidays

Have a Chic Christmas

Have a Chic Christmas – All About Style and Fashion for the Holidays
In New York, a style capital of the world, black is always a chic and
fashionable selection. That’s even more so in the Fall and Winter seasons when dark colors are favored. But even the fashionistas who like somber colors add a bit of sparkle and cheer to Christmas and holiday clothing with some color, usually magnificent red.

Dominant colors at Christmas are red, black and white and a red scarf, or
a white one, is a must-have accessory. Holiday-themed apparel with snowflakes, candy canes, stars, Christmas trees, are also popular during the season. Along with being colorful, they also convey the message that the person is fully embracing the spirit of the season and is in a festive mood.

When individuals wear holiday-themed apparel, they are
therefore radiating a positive attitude and giving the signal that it is
pleasant to be around them. After all, nobody wants to be around the ‘grumpy bah-humbug’ type of personalities during the Christmas season.

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Holiday-themed jewelry also works well as accessories. These can add that
little sparkle to an outfit that makes it stand out in an admirable way.
Holiday-themed jewelry is also perfect for those individuals who simply want to show a touch of the holiday spirit without having to actually wear holiday-themed apparel because it maybe too different from the conservative style of their wardrobe.

It is necessary to add some sparkle to apparel during the Christmas season
and current style trends of having jewel-engraved or embroidered tops play well for the Christmas season. They will allow the wearer to look festive in a very understated but elegant way.

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Fall popular styles will also undoubtedly be a fashionable way to dress
for the holidays. Based on the Fall Fashion Shows in New York, there are five basic outfits that stylists say should be in the wardrobe of all women. They are: the Tunic, Winter Short – which is cut just above the knee – the Vest, Pencil Skirt and the Super-wide pant.

The vest can be a dressy one with embroidery or other adornments, or it
can be more minimal based on the overall outfit. The Winter Short and Pencil Skirt can easily convert from working outfit to party wear with the right accessory, making them perfect to wear to an early evening Christmas or holiday party.

A variation from the Pencil Skirt is the Pencil dress. This too is likely to be popular for Christmas as it can be easily accessorized with a broad belt, which is one of the accessories that top fashion advisers say is a ‘must-have’ accessory for the Fall.

The Tunic and Super-wide pant are also liked for Christmas and the Holiday season because they are very flexible in how they can be paired with other garments.

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Another fall fashion staple are Knit Sweaters – oversized and as tunics. They will also work well with black tights and leggings, which has made a comeback in leg wear. Leggings can be worn under skirts or dresses. Very slim leggings can also be worn simply in place of pants, worn with a jacket or again, with an oversized knit sweater. Using the basic colors of red, white and black that are popular during Christmas and the holidays, colored leggings will definitely add a nice touch of style to outfits and make them seem perfect for the Christmas and holiday season.

It is also good that dresses are once more welcomed among the fashionable. And the red dress for Fall fits well into Christmas and the holiday season.

 

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The latest in jeans, which is a mainstay in everyone’s wardrobe and suitable to wear at all times including during Christmas and the holidays, is that a skinny fit is in. And if ultra-skinny is not very complimentary to your body shape, you can still get one of the newer types of jeans that are said to have a lot more stretch, giving a 360-degree or all-around wrap to the body for a perfect or near perfect fit.

And since Christmas is the season to be happy and cheery, the truly jolly
can always top off their Christmas outfit with a cone-shaped, red and white Santa hat.

Christmas in Central and South American Nations

Christmas in Central and South American Nations

Christmas in Central and South American Nations

In Central and South American nations, which have a fairly large Christian
population, the Nativity or Manger Scene is the main decoration in homes at  Christmas time.

In Mexico, a Christmas tree may also be set up in some homes along with the Nativity scene or Nacimiento. The Christmas tree is usually a small artificial tree, called arbolito. It can also be as simple as a branch cut from a special type of tree or a type of shrub that is then minimally decorated.

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The primary Christmas celebration in Mexico is called La Posada. It is a
religious procession that dramatizes how Joseph and Mary tried to find a place where Jesus could be born. During the procession, the participants carry images of Mary and Joseph and go from house to house seeking a place to stay. During Midnight Mass, which is called la misa del gallo or ‘rooster’s mass,’ those in attendance sing lullabies to Jesus.

On Christmas Day children receive gifts as well as candies that are stuffed into a piñata. This may be one or more sculptures made of papier mache that are hung from the ceiling. Children are blindfolded and take turns hitting the piñata until it breaks and scatters the candies on the floor. All the children then scamper around as they try to get as much candy as they can. Children also receive a gift on Jan. 6 from the Three Wise Men, if they were good.

People in Venezuela usually put out pesebres, which show the Nativity scene, on Dec. 16. Early morning church services, called Misa de Aguinaldo, are also common from Dec. 16 to Christmas Eve. After Mass on Christmas Eve, a grand dinner is traditionally enjoyed.

In Argentina, red and white garlands are used to decorate houses. After
attending Midnight Mass, Argentinians have a meal, toast each other, dance and go out to see fireworks. The meal may be roasted pork or turkey, stuffed tomatoes, mince pies, Christmas bread and puddings. Drinks such as cider and juice made from different fruits are used for the toast. Christmas gifts are opened on Christmas Eve just before the family retires to bed.

In Chile, Santa Claus is Father Christmas and is known as ‘Viejito
Pascuero.’ He arrives in a similar but slightly different manner than Santa
Claus because his reindeer is pulled by a taxicab. Chileans use small figures made from clay to place near the Christmas tree in a display called pesebre to show the Nativity story. The traditional Christmas dinner includes chicken soup with stuffed potatoes, onions and corn on the cob. Another favorite item is a Christmas bread that is called pan de pasqua and which is made with candies and fruits.

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Christmas customs in Brazil originate from the many different ethnic groups who make up the country. The Nativity scene is called the Presepio and can commonly be found displayed in homes, churches and stores. Papai Noel, or Father Noel, resides in Greenland and brings gifts at Christmas. He is said to wear silk clothing because Christmas occurs during summer when it is very hot in Brazil.

Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve is called Missa do Gallo, because the coming day is announced by the rooster and the Mass finishes at 1 am on the following day. A traditional Christmas dinner, called Ceia de Natal, includes ham, turkey, colored rice, a variety of vegetables and fruit dishes. Christmas Day Mass at Catholic churches are mainly held in the late afternoon because people enjoy sleeping late or going to the beach after having Christmas dinner.

Christmas festivities, which include folk dancing and singing, continue until January 6th, which is called Three Kings Day.

Shopping During the Prime of the Christmas Season

Shopping During the Prime of the Christmas Season

Shopping During the Prime of the Christmas Season

The saying that goes, ‘The early bird catches the worm,’ is in part true
for those who get Christmas shopping off to an early start before the season actually begins.

Most of us however, are likely to be average shoppers who wait until that time when the season officially begins.

Maybe we don’t have any time before then and we have to wait for a day off from work after Thanksgiving.

Or maybe we simply procrastinate and can’t get going until the frenzy starts or until when the stores are all fully decorated and Christmas songs and Carols are playing non-stop to put the thrill and magic into the festive season that is Christmas.

Average Christmas holiday shoppers go out in force and are primarily
motivated by the sales that occur during the official Christmas shopping season.

These shoppers fully believe they are getting good prices and bargains from Christmas and holiday sales. But it is unlikely that retailers will offer the lowest prices during a time that is prime shopping season.

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The lesson for the average and for all shoppers during the traditional
Christmas shopping season is to carefully evaluate prices and consider if the item is fairly priced when compared to a the price during other times of the year.

If items are simply snapped up during Christmas and the holidays because they are being offered in a ‘sale,’ the shopper may end up busting his or her budget or having ‘buyers regret’ about a purchase.

Those who are average and early shoppers have some time however to get
over any unwise purchases because such purchases can be returned and a better choice can be made.

There is however another type of shopper. The late or chronically late
shopper is stuck with hoping that ‘Aunt Sally’ or Grandma will like the gift selected, even if the buyer had second thoughts about it after the purchase was made.

The late shopper is one who realizes that there us a mere five (5) days – less than a week to go – before Christmas and not a single gift has been bought.

Worse off than the late shopper is the chronically late Christmas shopper
who is in a mad frenzy two (2) days before Christmas and faces a crisis when a desired gift such as a book has to be ordered and won’t be shipped in time for Christmas.

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While those shoppers can get comfort from knowing they will likely benefit from the lowest markdowns of the period, they will also find scanty selections and some items, primarily clothing, that appear a bit worn from all the looking over and handling done by the hordes of Christmas shoppers.

But even these late shoppers, who are often procrastinators and who can only be spurred into action
by a looming deadline, can execute a strategy to make their Christmas shopping successful. Such a strategy involves more don’ts than things to do.

Late Christmas shoppers should try to avoid having lists that have unusual or hard-to-get items that will need to be ordered. While retailers will offer shipping in time for Christmas, orders usually have to be made before a certain time, for example at least 36-72 hours before Christmas. If items aren’t ordered within that time frame, there is no guarantee that they will arrive for the big day.

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Those who do their Christmas shopping late should also be prepared to find items on their own in stores and not expect to get ‘hand-holding help’ from sales clerks.

With only days to go before Christmas and with everyone trying to get their last minute shopping done, it is impossible for most retailers to have enough staff to offer expert or even meaningful help to please the majority of Christmas shoppers.

Soon after the excitement of Christmas Day passes, what frequently is the
topic of conversations and what remains memorable in the New Year, is what gifts were received and given.

So, in the coming days, it may be worth it to assess the type of shopper that you are and create a plan and strategy to make sure you will be a perfect Santa who will deliver the right gifts to friends and loved ones.

Making an Early Start to Christmas Shopping

Making an Early Start to Christmas Shopping

Making an Early Start to Christmas Shopping

Many radio stations have started playing Christmas songs so early in
November in the past few years that one wonders if we may soon start hearing
Christmas songs around Halloween time. That would be a bit weird, even creepy
perhaps. But some early Christmas shoppers likely will have Christmas Carols
silently playing in their heads even before then.
That’s because shopping, much like Santa Claus, is a staple of Christmas.
Santa never gives away any secrets to shopping for all those gifts, but he must
certainly have a strategy to be so successful every Yuletide season. The early
Christmas shopper is someone who is very organized and has a strategy to fulfill
Christmas shopping before the season kicks into high gear.

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The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, is the official retail
start to a shopping season that is always hoped to be a robust one. The strategy
of retailers is to advertise Christmas sales, specials, pre-Christmas markdowns,
giveaways, special-hour sales and other promotions. The reason for the frenzy of
retail advertising during Christmas season is because it is the single biggest
shopping time of the year. Christmas shopping that begins the day after
Thanksgiving accounts for well over half – with some estimates of up to 70% —
of annual revenue for stores.
Since retailers clearly have a strategy for Christmas shoppers seeking the
perfect gift, then shoppers also need to implement their own strategy.
The savvy and early Christmas shopper is the one who may start silently
singing Christmas Carols and songs very early to get in gear for shopping.
Starting from as early as the beginning of October, the early Christmas shopper
can begin to make lists of gifts and begin browsing to check the availability,
variety, and most important, the price of items.
By browsing before the Christmas shopping season officially kicks off, the
early Christmas shopper is more likely to get more bargains, better prices, and
is also better able to do comparison shopping when the season officially kicks
off.
It’s important to know that retailers won’t offer true ‘rock bottom’ or
‘close-out’ sales, or the very lowest prices during Christmas sales. It’s also
important to remember that retailers are likely to offer earlier sales starting
in early October to near mid-November.

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Two significant pre-Christmas sales are for Columbus Day, which falls on
Monday, Oct. 9, and Veterans Day, which will be on Saturday Nov. 11. The early
Christmas shopper who already has gifts in mind can benefit from price markdowns
during both sales periods. And of course the early Christmas shopper will also
have the benefit of shopping during the season, therefore extending the thrill
and joy of shopping.
If there is any disadvantage to being an early Christmas shopper and doing
Christmas shopping very early, it is that some retailers, particularly makers
and sellers of toys, wait until the official start of the season to introduce
some new items into stores. The strategy in doing this is to build anticipation
for a new toy that they hope will be very popular and to also target and capture
a larger majority of shoppers.

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During every Christmas season there always is one, or maybe two toys, that
are regarded as the ‘must-have’ toys for Christmas. And it has become a present-
day phenomenon for shoppers to arrive from the wee hours in the morning to get a
prime spot near the doors of some stores so that they can be among the first in
those stores to make a mad dash for the ‘hot’ toy of the season.
But being doing or starting Christmas shopping early does not mean that it
has to be over before the Christmas shopping season starts. What it means is
that most or a significant part of your shopping will be done by the time Black
Friday rolls around.
What is most important to making an early start to your Christmas shopping
is to get the best deal and to do so with as little hassle as possible, by
avoiding a crowded store for example. Both of those will be accomplished for
those who are organized and motivated to get into the spirit of Christmas before
the season really begins.

Why Christmas is Really All About Children

Why Christmas is Really All About Children

Why Christmas is Really All About Children

It could be said that since it was the birth of a baby as a gift to
mankind that gave rise to Christmas, then children should also and always be the primary focus of the season.

Individual families will say they have always put children first and parents will sacrifice seeking their desires at Christmas to make sure their children are satisfied.

And although adults also look forward with much anticipation to the Christmas season, the frenzy that accounts for all the shopping and preparation during the Christmas season is really for the benefit of children.

From a financial perspective, the extensive shopping done at Christmas is
really of benefit to businesses.

But what really drives the maddening shopping activity is a desire by parents, relatives, friends and acquaintances to play Santa Claus, mainly for children.

Within families, children are usually the ones who individually receive the most gifts. And it’s deservedly so because their wide-eyed anticipation, excitement and pure joy when they open their Christmas presents gives everyone an indescribably happy feeling.

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Along with playing Santa Claus and secretly getting gifts for children,
adults also use the Santa story for all it’s worth as an effective means of
discipline.

As soon as the Fall season approaches, children will begin to hear warnings about their behavior and the consequence of Santa Claus not leaving any toys or presents like the wonderful ones they received in the prior year.

And when the Santa Claus story is not being used to help to get the best behavior from children, it is simply pure fun to delight them by telling them stories about Santa Claus, his elves and reindeers to simply enliven their imagination.

The story of Santa Claus is even useful for older children who may just be
starting to unravel the mystery of Santa Claus.

The stories that tell of different places where Santa Claus actually lives can be a starting point to go on an imaginative journey around the globe and become a geography lesson to learn about those places.

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Children are also central to Christmas because the many grand displays of
Christmas scenery, colorful lights and sparkling ornaments really target the attention of children.

So, if children were not so important at Christmas time, then it is quite possible that many of the traditions that make Christmas what it is would not exist.

As an example, Valentine’s Day and holidays related to Easter have a much different mood and atmosphere.

Children aren’t the focus in celebrations for those special periods.

Christmas is also an important period for the toy industry whose clients are naturally children.

Although the industry is part of the big retail picture and therefore seeks to boost sales during the Christmas season, there is also a deeper meaning for children.

Toys are important to entertain, to educate, to help children develop their imagination and to develop coordination and other skills in children.

Toys can also help children to play together and learn to share.

The toy industry is therefore important at Christmas time in introducing new products that are integral to the development of children.

When children become totally captivated by a new toy at Christmas time, it may help them to learn a new skill or provide new knowledge all in a fun and captivating way that will make it more likely that whatever is learned will be remembered.

 

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Children are also the focus of Christmas celebrations because it is
important to create fond childhood memories of the season.

These memories are created not by children necessarily receiving a lot, but by enjoying everything about the season.

The story of Jesus with the moral of sharing, giving and doing kind deeds for others can also help to build a good character and set a moral foundation that teaches children to have empathy and compassion during the Christmas season and all throughout the year.

Making Gift Selections at Christmas

Making Gift Selections at Christmas

Many people adore Santa Claus because he brings them the perfect that
often produces squeals of joy. Individuals, especially children, are often
thrilled to get what they want and need from Santa. To bring joy to others, you
also need to not only give a Christmas gift but to also try to get an item that
will be a good match for the individual by selecting a gift that suits the
person.
It is possible to find the right Christmas gift without having to fall for the
easy way out by giving a ‘sweater.’ To find the right gift for Christmas for
anyone means a gift has to capture one or both of the following qualities –
something that you know the person will like or desire, or something with useful
purpose that will captivate the person. A Christmas gift that captivates the
receiver will produce a ‘wow’ reaction or comments of ‘that’s cool’ from others,
who will be wishing silently that they had gotten such a gift.

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The key to selecting a wonderful Christmas gift that will produce a ‘wow’
reaction is to make sure the item is one that will appear interesting to others.
The gift itself may have limits to its use. That means it may not be something
that will be used frequently, such as a sweater or other clothing. The ‘wow’
factor or coolness of the gift must however overshadow it’s possible limited
usefulness.
Selecting a Christmas gift that is desired can prove to be difficult if you
think you don’t know what the person wants or needs. But when we think that we
don’t really know what someone wants for a Christmas gift, our real thought is
that we haven’t really heard the person specifically say they want or desire a
particular item. That however is not an obstacle to truly knowing what someone
may desire for a Christmas gift.

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To help to identify an item that will make a perfect Christmas gift, you need to
focus on what you know about the person – various qualities, what leisure
activity the person likes, what type of books, art and music for example, do
they like. To focus on what you know about the person, think about conversations
you have engaged in with the individual. Conversations in general can often give
splendid ideas of good gifts to give for Christmas because oftentimes people
will say ‘I wish for …..’ when talking with someone else.
The character of the person is also a good indicator of items that will make
wonderful Christmas gifts. Remember, a gift for Christmas is a token to show
love, fondness or appreciation or some combination of those qualities. An item
that captures a quality of a person is therefore likely to be much appreciated.
So, for example, books make good gifts for someone who likes to read. But if the
person also has a humorous persona, a book on jokes would be a desirable
Christmas gift.

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For someone who likes to drive, a travel book on scenic routes is likely to
create a large amount of interest. A Christmas gift like that also could stir
some ‘wow’ remarks as it could easily cause others to want become engrossed in
browsing it. A Christmas gift like that also is an example of something that is
very useful but which may not get a lot of frequent use.
Another strategy for selecting a perfect Christmas gift is to think of how
something will fit into someone’s lifestyle. A friend once recalled that wish
another friend often expressed in conversation was for a playstation. But
knowing that the friend also didn’t have much leisure time to actually sit and
use a playstation, a hand-held game gadget was given instead that could be used
during commute on public transportation or in 10-15 minutes of short downtime.
Selecting Christmas gifts for friends, acquaintances and loved ones that will be
remembered and treasured is therefore not too much of a difficult task if the
strategies previously mentioned are kept in mind.

Christmas Around the World

Christmas Around the World

Christmas Around the World

Christmas in the Birthplaces of Traditions — Bethlehem, Germany and England Christmas as celebrated today is a culmination of centuries of
traditions that are religious and secular and which came from different
countries around the world. It is interesting therefore to look at some of the general ways in which Christmas is celebrated in these countries. The traditions examined for each country will be examples of some of the things that are unique to that country and which are done today, or which were once done by people in those countries.

To begin, it is symbolic to look at the town of Bethlehem, which is
believed to be the birthplace of Jesus. The Church of the Nativity is located in Bethlehem and at Christmas it is decorated with a lot of flags and other
Christmas decorations. A very large crowd usually gathers at The Church of the Nativity on Christmas Eve to see a dramatic parade procession of horsemen, led by police who are mounted on Arabian horses. Following the police in the procession is a lone horseman who carries a cross, followed by churchmen and government officials. Members of the procession solemnly enter the doors of The Church of the Nativity and place an ancient effigy of Jesus in the church. A silver star located deep in an underground cave-like section of the church marks the site where Jesus was born. A star is also set atop a pole in the town’s square. In Bethlehem, homes of Christians usually have a cross over the door and
a manger scene is usually set up inside the house.

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In Germany, home of the Christmas tree tradition, the Christmas tree
is not seen until Christmas Eve. The tree is usually kept in a special room, or elsewhere, and decorated in secret with lights, ornaments, tinsels, angels, candies, nuts and cookies. It is then lighted, the presents placed underneath and then shown to the delight of Children on Christmas Eve.

In Germany, Dec. 6 is known as St. Nicholas Day when Santa visits the homes of boys and girls. On the day before, Dec. 5, children leave a shoe or boot outside or by the fireplace for Santa Claus. If they were good, he places gifts and candies inside the shoe. But if they were naughty, children will find twigs or a rod in their shoe. Dinner on Christmas Day includes roast goose, long loaves of bread filled with raisins, nuts and dried fruits. Other sweet delicacies are also enjoyed.

Many traditions in England are similar to those in the United States because such traditions originated in England and were brought to the United States by immigrants. The tradition of sending Christmas greeting cards started in England and is still popular at Christmas, as well as the tradition of neighborhood caroling on Christmas Eve. Children also hang stockings on Christmas Eve in anticipation of Santa Claus filling them with Christmas gifts or treats. The holly, ivy and mistletoe are also used a lot in Christmas decorations.

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In England, the traditional Christmas Dinner is roast turkey, goose or chicken with stuffing, vegetables and roast potatoes. Dessert consists of the British or Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. A rich, fruit-filled Christmas cake may also be enjoyed later in the day. A tradition of pulling Christmas crackers also goes with the serving of food on Christmas Day. A cracker is a paper tube that contains a party hat, riddle, toy or trinket, and is brightly colored and twisted at both ends. It gives out a crack as the contents pop out when it is pulled at each end.

Also on Christmas afternoon, the Queen broadcasts a
Christmas message to the nation, which is heard on radio and television. The day after Christmas is also a holiday that is known as Boxing Day.