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Christmas 2022: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Explained!

Why is Christmas known as the greatest holiday?

  • Christmas is the most celebrated holiday worldwide. This festive holiday is celebrated in over 160 countries as an official holiday celebrated with unique traditions and activities, marking the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God.
  • Observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural festival, it is a time of joy, hope, and renewal as people reunite with their friends and family through different festivities.

With the Christmas season coming up, people are getting busy preparing and planning their holiday plans to get into the Christmas spirit. The word Christmas comes from the Greek word Khristos which means “Messiah” or “anointed.” The second part of the word comes from the Latin word missa, the Eucharist tradition called the Holy Communion or Lord’s Supper in memory of Jesus of Nazareth. Christmas has long been a religious tradition for Christianity. However, over the centuries, Christmas has been a growing popular tradition worldwide with popular customs such as gift exchanges, holiday decorations, and many more. These holiday traditions have even been adapted to local lifestyles, where many cities decorate their parks and markets with lights and decorations.

Three religious figurine 
Photo by Chris Sowder on Unsplash

Origins of Christmas

With the celebration of Christmas going back millennia, it’s easy to forget when the tradition started! Christmas is a tradition celebrated yearly, specifically on the 25th of December. It is not only considered a sacred religious holiday, but it has also become a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon!

Originally, Christmas is referred to as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Christianity introduces Jesus as a spiritual leader and God-incarnate on which the religious teachings are based. Therefore, Christmas marks a joyous day for Christians as they celebrate with holy mass and ceremonies. Aside from the birth of Jesus, Christmas also becomes a celebration, especially for Early Europeans to celebrate light after the darkest days of winter. 

Although the birth of Jesus becomes the main known origin of Christmas, there have also been prehistoric celebrations in midwinter. For example, the Romans celebrated Saturnalia, which included five days of feasting in honour of Saturnus, the god of Agriculture. The date of Christmas also marks the Roman birth of the god of the Sun, Mithras, also celebrated through royal feasts. These historic traditions continue to exist as they adapt to the development of technology, science, and beliefs, leading to new ideas and customs in this holiday celebration. Christmas has grown from mainly being celebrated by Christians to becoming one of the most celebrated festivals with its popular customs and traditions worldwide.

The True Meaning of Christmas

Aside from the popular customs and traditions of Christmas, preparing for the holiday season also means understanding the purpose and values behind this holiday. As Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, Christmas becomes a celebration of love where families and friends reunite and share happiness. It marks a new beginning of hope, grace, and gratitude. This can be portrayed through gift-giving and family dinners, which many people tend to do during the Christmas season. 

However, sharing joy and happiness should not only refer to friends and families but also to those in need. This holiday is an excellent opportunity to give and share with those less fortunate as acts of generosity. This aspect of generosity at Christmas is portrayed through the well-known character of Santa Claus. 

Did you know?

The legend of Santa Claus started from a Turkish monk named St. Nicholas in 280 A.D. St. Nicholas was an inspirational figure who gifted all his inherited wealth to help the poor and sick in the countryside. Santa Claus became a symbol to honour the death anniversary of St.Nicholas as the protector of children and sailors. The legend of Santa Claus teaches young children the importance of generosity and positive acts of kindness each year. 

Good Food and Holiday Decorations

As Christmas is about creating memories and togetherness, families and communities worldwide have developed traditions to celebrate a merrier Christmas. A popular activity to do this holiday season is to host or join Christmas dinners. This tradition has become a way for families to reunite and reconnect through feasts of roasted turkeys, cocktails, and building gingerbread houses! 

With Christmas celebrated worldwide, different countries have developed their customs in Christmas dinners. For example, a Christmas dinner in Puerto Rico includes their national dish of a roast suckling pig known as lechón. This feast is paired with blood sausage and coquito, a Puerto Rican eggnog made with condensed milk, coconut milk and rum for dessert. On the other hand, Christmas in Japan revolves around KFC being the busiest restaurant since the 1970 “Kentucky for Christmas” campaign. This dish is served with a Christmas strawberry shortcake and hot sake for dessert. With the chaos of life, Christmas offers a chance to stop, enjoy, and reminisce about the things you have in life with your loved ones.

Preparing for the holiday season also means getting into the Christmas spirit! Indeed, putting up Christmas decorations becomes one of the most awaited occasions each year as it marks the affirmation of joy and celebration. A crucial aspect of Christmas you can never miss is the tradition of setting up and decorating Christmas trees!

Did you know?

In Christianity, a Christmas tree or the Evergreen tree symbolises eternal life. This is because the evergreen tree stays green and alive all year, unlike other tree types. A star is often placed on top of the tree to symbolise the star of Bethlehem, which guided the three wise men to the stable where Jesus was born. Another theory is one of the Romans, which refers to the Christmas tree star as a symbol of light in the dark and a new beginning. Many people decorate their Christmas trees with string lights and tinsel to create abundant colours to hype up the holiday season. 

Red and green candles on dining table with Christmas decorations around it
Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash

The Art of Gift Giving!

Gift Giving and exchanges are one of the core traditions involved in the modern Christmas celebration. This is often associated with the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh which were given to Baby Jesus in the manger by the three wise men. Gift giving in the Christmas season centres around showing appreciation to your loved ones and their role in your lives. Therefore, these are some tips to master the art of gift giving:

1. Set a holiday budget 

Purchasing gifts and preparing for the holiday season can get quite expensive from the expenses of Christmas dinners, holiday cards, and decorations. Therefore, to maximise your gift-giving skills, ensure you have the budget! List down the detailed holiday expenses you need along with your monthly income. Keep track of the people you want to buy presents for and estimate gift expenses for each. You can even open a Christmas savings account to better budget and separate your holiday savings. 

2. Make a list and check it twice

Take your time before holiday shopping and list the interests of your loved ones! Find out what they like or anything that reminds you of them to add more sentiment. This allows you to  reduce your time in holiday shopping. Highlight and prioritise the shops which offer sales and discounts. Keep in mind popular stores online that offer cashback and vouchers as well. Also, make sure you start shopping weeks or months before Christmas to avoid Christmas shopping chaos. 

3. Get creative with your Christmas gifts

Often, the best presents are given with thought, effort, and love. Get creative and create homemade gifts through tutorial videos from YouTube and inspirations from sites like Pinterest. Some popular homemade gifts include photo frames, scrapbooks, and many more! Homemade gifts create a more personalised and unique present, showing the thought and affection you put into making the gift. Creating DIY gifts requires less money than other presents do. 

Boxes of wrapped presents under a decorated and lit Christmas tree
Photo by Clint Patterson on Unsplash.

Hopefully, this article helped you understand more about what and how to spend this festive season. Remember to focus on giving and gratitude as you reconnect with your friends and family. Enjoy this holiday season, and may you have a wonderful Christmas!