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Christmas

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by

rami AL-Rashayda

on 22 December 2013

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Transcript of Christmas

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Christmas is a Christian holiday that honors the birth of Jesus (whom Christians believe is the Son of God), and a cultural holiday for non-Christians.
The day known as Christmas Day is celebrated on the 25th day of December. (This date is different for Orthodox Christians). It is one of the most important days of the year for Christians with Easter “when the death and resurrection of Jesus are celebrated”. The season of preparing for Christmas is called Advent.
Christmas is celebrated all over the world, as a religious holiday or as a time of celebration by Christians and non-Christians alike. The traditions are different from country to country, but they nearly always include a feast, giving gifts or cards, and enjoying church or public festivities such as singing Christmas songs. Santa Claus is a tradition in many countries of the world.
Christmastime, as it is often called, is in the winter of the Northern Hemisphere, at a time when there were already ancient festivals. Some of the traditions that are used for Christmas are older than Christmas, or come from other non-Christian traditions such as Yule. Modern traditions of Christmas often focus on the giving of gifts. The season for retail stores to sell gifts, food, greeting cards, Christmas trees, and decorations begins the day after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.), with advertising beginning over a month before Christmas Day.
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Traditions of the Church
The celebration of Christmas is a very important time for churches. Almost every church has special services or celebrations.
The Crib
It is the custom in many churches to set up a Crib (or Creche) scene of the Nativity or birth of Jesus. They have been very popular in Italy ever since then, and the custom has spread to other countries.
Nativity scenes can be large with life-sized statues, or they can be tiny enough to fit in a matchbox. They are made of many different things including carved and painted wood, brightly coloured ceramics (pottery), painted paper glued to boards, and mixtures of material with clay, wood, cloth, straw and metal used for different parts.
Advent wreaths
The Advent wreath is a circle of leaves, usually pine boughs, ivy and holly, with five candles in it which is hung up in a church. The candles are lit on each Sunday in Advent, and the central candle is lit on Christmas morning. Churches are often decked with green branches and leaves, and many churches also have a Christmas tree
Family celebrations
Family celebrations are often very different from each other, depending on where a family comes from, and the customs that have grown in particular families.
Most families think of Christmas as a time to get together with other members of the family. People often travel from far away to be with other family members at Christmas. Those people who cannot travel often make long-distance phone calls on Christmas Day. Many people also see Christmas as a time to reach out to others that they know might be lonely, and invite them to dinner on Christmas Day. Christmas is seen as a time for people of all ages to have fun together, for cousins to get to know each other, for grandparents to see their grandchildren and for the family to admire the babies that have been born during the year. Big family parties are usually a time of joy, but some families often talk about their disagreements and have big fights at Christmas time.
Family get-togethers
Family traditions are very different. Some families might all go off to church together, to a Carol Service, a Midnight Mass, or a Christmas Morning service. Some families are pulled out of bed very early by children who want to open their presents. In other families, on Christmas Eve or not until after church on Christmas morning. The Christmas feast might start on Christmas Eve, with a special breakfast on Christmas morning, or at midday on Christmas Day.
Some families have a tradition of carol singing, and might go around the streets, to hospitals and other such places singing with members of their church. Other families like to watch certain television programs together, which might include carol services and the Queen's Message. Some families use Christmas as a time to play music and sing together, or to read a favorite book such as "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. In countries in the Southern Hemisphere, a visit to the beach or a swim in a pool is often part of the Christmas Day tradition.
Tree and decorations
In most homes when Christmas is celebrated, people set up a Christmas tree in the house. This old Yuletide custom began in Germany as the "Tannenbaum" (German for Fir Tree). These are traditionally evergreens, the best type being the Fir Tree which does not shed its needles or lose its fragrance. The tree may be a cut tree that is bought from a plantation or taken from the forest. Artificial trees are sometimes preferred to real trees.
The Christmas tree is decorated with lights, shiny coloured balls, sparkly tinsel and other ornaments. A wreath of leaves or pine is often put on the front door of a house as a sign of welcome. Other plants that have special significance at Christmas are holly which is used as decoration and mistletoe which is hung in the centre of a room. The tradition is that people who meet under the mistletoe must kiss.

Cards and presents
The giving of gifts at Christmas comes from several different ideas. One is that God gave his son, Jesus, to the world at Christmas. There is also the story of the Wise Men who came to the baby Jesus with three gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. For many centuries it has been the custom for people to give small gifts at Christmas, and also to give generously to the poor and needy to help them through the winter. Another tradition has become linked to this one, and the result is the tradition of Santa Claus, or Father Christmas as he is sometimes called, and who is nowadays thought by many children to be the bringer of presents.
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Full transcript