SANTA'S WORKSHOP HOLZ ADVENTSKALENDER 24" Weihnachten Mini Charm Ornamente selten • EUR 253,87 (2024)

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Verkäufer: sidewaysstairsco ✉️ (1.183) 100%, Artikelstandort: Santa Ana, California, US, Versand nach: US und viele andere Länder, Artikelnummer: 196089968851 SANTA'S WORKSHOP HOLZ ADVENTSKALENDER 24" Weihnachten Mini Charm Ornamente selten. Check out our store for more great new and used items! FOR SALE: A wooden Christmas advent calendar with 24 mini wood-carved gifts "SANTA'S WORKSHOP CALENDAR" BY KIRKLAND SIGNATURE DETAILS: Bring joy and anticipation to your holiday season! Embark on a magical journey as you count down the days until Christmas with this enchanting wooden advent calendar. The Kirkland Signature Santa's Workshop Calendar features 24 door compartments, one for each day leading up to the big day, filled with delightful toy-like wooden charms. Each charming wooden piece comes with a hang loop, allowing you to display them in Santa's shop or anywhere your heart desires. Two swivel feet at bottom help stabilize the hefty (approx. 9 lb.) advent calendar. The array of whimsical wooden charms will delight both children and adults alike. From a playful robot to a classic rocking horse, a beautiful doll, a speedy airplane, bauble ornament, football, drum, train, car, and so much more, each charm represents the magic and nostalgia of the holiday season. The variety ensures that every day brings a new surprise and a new treasure to add to your collection. The centerpiece of this Kirkland Signature Santa's Workshop Calendar is the pentagon-shaped 24" workshop display. Featuring a quaint handmade design, the workshop depicts a small gift shop where Santa Claus himself acts as the woodworking creator of these beautiful wooden charms. With the help of his supportive elves, he carefully crafts each piece, infusing them with love and holiday magic. As each day comes, you can easily add the sculpted wood charms to the workshop wall, transforming it into a vibrant display filled with Santa's handmade mini ornaments. Watch as the workshop gradually comes to life, painting a vivid picture of the joy and creativity that goes into the making of these delightful treasures. Mini ornaments! The adorable toy and holiday-themed charms double as mini ornaments, making them perfect for decorating a miniature Christmas tree. Imagine the pure joy of adorning a mini tree with these charming wooden ornaments, creating a whimsical scene filled with festive, wooden spirit. Retired seasonal exclusive! The Santa's Workshop Calendar was available for purchase exclusively at select Costco locations, with valid club membership. Offered for one holiday season only this quality advent calendar has been retired for years and has become a rare holiday find and collectible. Dimensions: Height: 24" Length: 21" Width: 2-11/16" Feet Length: 6-3/8" CONDITION: In excellent, pre-owned condition. The calendar itself is in very good condition and complete. There's some wear on the back of the display but when placed against a wall is not visible. The box has acquired a some storage wear. Please see photos. To ensure safe delivery all items are carefully packaged before shipping out. THANK YOU FOR LOOKING. QUESTIONS? JUST ASK. *ALL PHOTOS AND TEXT ARE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF SIDEWAYS STAIRS CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.* "An Advent calendar is used to count the days of Advent in anticipation of Christmas.[1] Since the date of the First Sunday of Advent varies, falling between November 27 and December 3 inclusive, many reusable Advent calendars made of paper or wood begin on December 1. Others start from the First Sunday of Advent and thus include the last few days of November that begin the liturgical season of Advent.[2][3] The Advent calendar was first used by German Lutherans in the 19th and 20th centuries, and has since then spread to other Christian denominations.[4][5][6][7] Design and use Traditional Advent calendars feature the manger scene, Saint Nicholas and winter weather, while others range in theme, from sports to technology.[8] They come in a multitude of forms, from a simple paper calendar with flaps covering each of the days to fabric pockets on a background scene to painted wooden boxes with cubby holes for small items. Many Advent calendars take the form of a large rectangular card with "Doors", one for each day of December leading up to and including Christmas Eve (December 24) or Christmas Day (December 25). Consecutive doors are opened every day leading up to Christmas, beginning on the start of the Advent season for that year,[2][3] or simply on December 1, as is the case of reusable Advent calendars. Often the doors are distributed across the calendar in no particular order. The calendar doors open to reveal an image, a poem, a portion of a story (such as the story of the Nativity of Jesus), or a small gift, such as a toy or a chocolate item. Often, each door has a Bible verse and Christian prayer printed on it, which Christians incorporate as part of their daily Advent devotions.[4][9] There are many variations of Advent calendars; some European villages create advent calendars on buildings or even so-called "living" Advent calendars,[10] where different windows are decorated for each day of Advent. The Nordic Julekalender/Julkalender Main article: Nordic Christmas calendar In Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, there is a tradition of having a Julekalender (Swedish: Julkalender, Finnish: Joulukalenteri, Icelandic: Jóladagatal; the local word for a Yule—or Christmas—calendar) in the form of a television or radio show, starting on December 1 and ending on Christmas Eve (December 24). The first such show aired on radio in 1957 in the form of the Swedish radio series Barnens adventskalender. The first televised show of the genre aired in 1960 in the form of the Swedish program Titteliture.[11] The first julekalender aired in Denmark was Historier fra hele verden in 1962. The televised julkalender or julekalendar has now extended into the other Nordic countries. In Finland, for example, the show is called Joulukalenteri. Over the years, there have been several kinds of julekalender. Some are directed at children, some at both children and adults, and some directed at adults alone. There is a Julkalender radio show in Sweden, which airs in the days leading up to Christmas. A classic example of a julekalender enjoyed by children, as well as adults, if purely for nostalgic reasons, is the 1979 Norwegian television show Jul i Skomakergata. Another is the 1990 Icelandic television show Á baðkari til Betlehem." (wikipedia.org) "The Nordic Julekalender/Julkalender Main article: Nordic Christmas calendar In Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, there is a tradition of having a Julekalender (Swedish: Julkalender, Finnish: Joulukalenteri, Icelandic: Jóladagatal; the local word for a Yule—or Christmas—calendar) in the form of a television or radio show, starting on December 1 and ending on Christmas Eve (December 24). The first such show aired on radio in 1957 in the form of the Swedish radio series Barnens adventskalender. The first televised show of the genre aired in 1960 in the form of the Swedish program Titteliture.[11] The first julekalender aired in Denmark was Historier fra hele verden in 1962. The televised julkalender or julekalendar has now extended into the other Nordic countries. In Finland, for example, the show is called Joulukalenteri. Over the years, there have been several kinds of julekalender. Some are directed at children, some at both children and adults, and some directed at adults alone. There is a Julkalender radio show in Sweden, which airs in the days leading up to Christmas. A classic example of a julekalender enjoyed by children, as well as adults, if purely for nostalgic reasons, is the 1979 Norwegian television show Jul i Skomakergata. Another is the 1990 Icelandic television show Á baðkari til Betlehem.... Traditions The theme of readings and teachings during Advent is often the preparation for the Second Coming and the Last Judgement. While the Sunday readings relate to the first coming of Jesus Christ as saviour as well as to his Second Coming as judge, traditions vary in the relative importance of penitence and expectation during the weeks in Advent. Liturgical colour Celebration of a Advent vespers. Cope and antependium are violet, the liturgical colour of Advent in the Roman Rite. See also: Liturgical colours Since approximately the 13th century, the usual liturgical colour in Western Christianity for Advent has been violet; Pope Innocent III declared black to be the proper colour for Advent, though Durandus of Saint-Pourçain claims violet has preference over black.[24] The violet or purple colour is often used for antependia, the vestments of the clergy, and often also the tabernacle. On the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, rose may be used instead, referencing the rose used on Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent.[25] A rose coloured candle in Western Christianity is referenced as a sign of joy (Gaudete) lit on the third Sunday of Advent.[26] While the traditional color for Advent is violet, there is a growing interest in and acceptance, by some Christian denominations of blue as an alternative liturgical colour for Advent, a custom traced to the usage of the Church of Sweden (Lutheran) and the Mozarabic Rite, which dates from the 8th century.[27] The Lutheran Book of Worship lists blue as the preferred colour for Advent while the Methodist Book of Worship and the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship identify purple or blue as appropriate for Advent. Proponents of this new liturgical trend argue that purple is traditionally associated with solemnity and somberness, which is fitting to the repentant character of Lent. There has been an increasing trend in Protestant churches to supplant purple with blue during Advent as it is a hopeful season of preparation that anticipates both Bethlehem and the consummation of history in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.[28] This colour is often called "Sarum blue", referring to its purported use at Salisbury Cathedral. Many of the ornaments and ceremonial practices associated with the Sarum rite were revived in the Anglican Communion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as part of the Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement in the Church of England. While Anglican liturgist Percy Dearmer does not object to the use of blue during Advent, he did not attribute its use to Sarum. "[T]he so-called Sarum uses are really one-half made up from the fancy of nineteenth-century ritualists."[29] While the Sarum use was influential, different dioceses, including Salisbury, used a variety of colored vestments.[30] "In the Sarum Rite the Advent colour was red, but it could very well have been the red-purple known as murray..."[31] The Roman Catholic Church retains the traditional violet.[32] Blue is not generally used in Latin Catholicism,[33] and where it does regionally, it has nothing to do with Advent specifically, but with veneration of the Blessed Virgin.[34] However, on some occasions that are heavily associated with Advent, such as the Rorate Mass (but not on Sundays), white is used.[35] During the Nativity Fast, red is used by Eastern Christianity, although gold is an alternative colour.... Local rites In England, especially in the northern counties, there was a custom (now extinct) for poor women to carry around the "Advent images", two dolls dressed to represent Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. A halfpenny coin was expected from every one to whom these were exhibited and bad luck was thought to menace the household not visited by the doll-bearers before Christmas Eve at the latest.[40] In Normandy, farmers employed children under twelve to run through the fields and orchards armed with torches, setting fire to bundles of straw, and thus it was believed driving out such vermin as were likely to damage the crops.[41] In Italy, among other Advent celebrations is the entry into Rome in the last days of Advent of the Calabrian pifferari, or bagpipe players, who play before the shrines of Mary, the mother of Jesus: in Italian tradition, the shepherds played these pipes when they came to the manger at Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Jesus.[42] In recent times the most common observance of Advent outside church circles has been the keeping of an advent calendar or advent candle, with one door being opened in the calendar, or one section of the candle being burned, on each day in December leading up to Christmas Eve. In many countries, the first day of Advent often heralds the start of the Christmas season, with many people opting to erect their Christmas trees and Christmas decorations on or immediately before Advent Sunday.[6] Since 2011, an Advent labyrinth consisting of 2500 tealights has been formed for the third Saturday of Advent in Frankfurt-Bornheim.[43][44] Advent wreath See also: Advent wreath The keeping of an Advent wreath is a common practice in homes or churches.[45] The concept of the Advent wreath originated among German Lutherans in the 16th century.[46] However, it was not until three centuries later that the modern Advent wreath took shape.[47] The modern Advent wreath, with its candles representing the Sundays of Advent, originated from an 1839 initiative by Johann Hinrich Wichern, a Protestant pastor in Germany and a pioneer in urban mission work among the poor.[48] In view of the impatience of the children he taught as they awaited Christmas, he made a ring of wood, with nineteen small red tapers and four large white candles. Every morning a small candle was lit, and every Sunday a large candle. Custom has retained only the large candles.[49] The wreath crown is traditionally made of fir tree branches knotted with a red ribbon and decorated with pine cones, holly, laurel, and sometimes mistletoe. It is also an ancient symbol signifying several things; first of all, the crown symbolises victory, in addition to its round form evoking the sun and its return each year. The number four represents the four Sundays of Advent, and the green twigs are a sign of life and hope. The fir tree is a symbol of strength and laurel a symbol of victory over sin and suffering. The latter two, with the holly, do not lose their leaves, and thus represent the eternity of God. The flames of candles are the representation of the Christmas light approaching and bringing hope and peace, as well as the symbol of the struggle against darkness. For Christians, this crown is also the symbol of Christ the King, the holly recalling the crown of thorns resting on the head of Christ. The Advent wreath is adorned with candles, usually three violet or purple and one pink, the pink candle being lit on the Third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday after the opening word, Gaudete, meaning "Rejoice", of the entrance antiphon at Mass. Some add a fifth candle (white), known as the Christ Candle, in the middle of the wreath, to be lit on Christmas Eve or Day.[50] The candles symbolise, in one interpretation, the great stages of salvation before the coming of the Messiah; the first is the symbol of the forgiveness granted to Adam and Eve, the second is the symbol of the faith of Abraham and of the patriarchs who believe in the gift of the Promised Land, the third is the symbol of the joy of David whose lineage does not stop and also testifies to his covenant with God, and the fourth and last candle is the symbol of the teaching of the prophets who announce a reign of justice and peace. Or they symbolise the four stages of human history; creation, the Incarnation, the redemption of sins, and the Last Judgment.[51] In Orthodox churches there are sometimes wreaths with six candles, in line with the six-week duration of the Nativity Fast/Advent. In Sweden, white candles, symbol of festivity and purity, are used in celebrating Saint Lucy's Day, 13 December, which always falls within Advent." (wikipedia.org) "Christmas Eve is the evening or entire day before Christmas Day, the festival commemorating the birth of Jesus.[4] Christmas Day is observed around the world, and Christmas Eve is widely observed as a full or partial holiday in anticipation of Christmas Day. Together, both days are considered one of the most culturally significant celebrations in Christendom and Western society. Christmas celebrations in the denominations of Western Christianity have long begun on Christmas Eve, due in part to the Christian liturgical day starting at sunset,[5] a practice inherited from Jewish tradition[6] and based on the story of Creation in the Book of Genesis: "And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day."[7] Many churches still ring their church bells and hold prayers in the evening; for example, the Nordic Lutheran churches.[8] Since tradition holds that Jesus was born at night (based in Luke 2:6-8), Midnight Mass is celebrated on Christmas Eve, traditionally at midnight, in commemoration of his birth.[9] The idea of Jesus being born at night is reflected in the fact that Christmas Eve is referred to as Heilige Nacht (Holy Night) in German, Nochebuena (the Good Night) in Spanish and similarly in other expressions of Christmas spirituality, such as the song "Silent Night, Holy Night". Many other varying cultural traditions and experiences are also associated with Christmas Eve around the world, including the gathering of family and friends, the singing of Christmas carols, the illumination and enjoyment of Christmas lights, trees, and other decorations, the wrapping, exchange and opening of gifts, and general preparation for Christmas Day. Legendary Christmas gift-bearing figures including Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Christkind, and Saint Nicholas are also often said to depart for their annual journey to deliver presents to children around the world on Christmas Eve, although until the Protestant introduction of Christkind in 16th-century Europe,[10] such figures were said to instead deliver presents on the eve of Saint Nicholas' feast day (6 December)....Western churches have traditionally observed Christmas Eve (properly the Vigil of the Nativity) as a liturgical observance distinct from the masses of Christmas Day, with the proper Gospel at the Mass for the Vigil of the Nativity being that of the Annunciation to Joseph in Matthew 1. The Vigil of the Nativity is not so much the first day of Christmas as it is the last day of Advent, and so it traditionally retains the liturgical color of violet. In traditional western liturgical practice, when the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve occur on the same day, the Sunday mass is of Christmas Eve and the Fourth Sunday of Advent is only commemorated. The festivities of Christmas Day have, however, extended farther and farther back into Christmas Eve. While Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and some Anglicans traditionally celebrate Midnight Mass, the first mass of Christmas, either at or near midnight on Christmas Eve, some churches have in recent decades scheduled their "Midnight" Mass as early as 7 pm in an effort to better accommodate young children, whose choral singing has become a popular feature in some traditions. Midnight Mass is held in churches throughout the world and celebrates the birth of Christ, which is believed to have occurred at night. Midnight Mass is popular in Poland (pasterka) and Lithuania (piemenėlių mišios). In Spanish-speaking areas, the Midnight Mass is sometimes referred to as Misa de Gallo, or Missa do Galo in Portuguese ("Rooster's Mass"). In the Philippines, the custom has expanded into the nine-day Simbang Gabi, when Filipinos attend dawn Masses (traditionally beginning around 04:00 to 05:00 PST) from 16 December, continuing daily until Christmas Eve. In 2009 Vatican officials scheduled the Midnight Mass to start at 10 pm so that the 82-year-old Pope Benedict XVI would not have too late a night.[11] A nativity scene may be erected indoors or outdoors, and is composed of figurines depicting the infant Jesus resting in a manger, Mary, and Joseph.[12] Other figures in the scene may include angels, shepherds, and various animals. The figures may be made of any material,[13] and arranged in a stable or grotto. The Magi may also appear, and are sometimes not placed in the scene until the week following Christmas to account for their travel time to Bethlehem. While most home nativity scenes are packed away at Christmas or shortly thereafter, nativity scenes in churches usually remain on display until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.[13] Whilst it does not include any kind of Mass, the Church of Scotland has a service beginning just before midnight, in which carols are sung. The Church of Scotland no longer holds Hogmanay services on New Year's Eve, but the Christmas Eve services are still very popular. On Christmas Eve, the Christ Candle in the center of the Advent wreath is traditionally lit in many church services. In candlelight services, while singing Silent Night, each member of the congregation receives a candle and passes along their flame which is first received from the Christ Candle. Advent wreath, lighting the candle Lutherans traditionally practice Christmas Eve Eucharistic traditions typical of Germany and Scandinavia. "Krippenspiele" (Nativity plays), special festive music for organ, vocal and brass choirs and candlelight services make Christmas Eve one of the most beloved days in the Lutheran Church calendar. Christmas Vespers is popular in the early evening, and Midnight Masses are also widespread in regions which are predominantly Lutheran. The old Lutheran tradition of a Christmas Vigil in the early morning hours of Christmas Day (Christmette) can still be found in some regions. In eastern and middle Germany, congregations still continue the tradition of "Quempas singing": separate groups dispersed in various parts of the church sing verses of the song "He whom shepherds once came Praising" (Quem pastores laudavere) responsively. A nativity scene Methodists celebrate the evening in different ways. Some, in the early evening, come to their church to celebrate Holy Communion with their families. The mood is very solemn, and the only visible light is the Advent Wreath, and the candles upon the Lord's Table. Others celebrate the evening with services of light, which include singing the song Silent Night as a variety of candles (including personal candles) are lit. Other churches have late evening services perhaps at 11 pm, so that the church can celebrate Christmas Day together with the ringing of bells at midnight. Others offer Christmas Day services as well. The annual "Nine Lessons and Carols", broadcast from King's College, Cambridge on Christmas Eve, has established itself a Christmas custom in the United Kingdom.[14] It is broadcast outside the UK via the BBC World Service, and is also bought by broadcasters around the world....n the Byzantine Rite, Christmas Eve is referred to as Paramony ("preparation"). It is the concluding day of the Nativity Fast and is observed as a day of strict fasting by those devout Byzantine Christians who are physically capable of doing so. In some traditions, nothing is eaten until the first star appears in the evening sky, in commemoration of the Star of Bethlehem. The liturgical celebration begins earlier in the day with the celebration of the Royal Hours, followed by the Divine Liturgy combined with the celebration of Vespers, during which a large number of passages from the Old Testament are chanted, recounting the history of salvation. After the dismissal at the end of the service, a new candle is brought out into the center of the church and lit, and all gather round and sing the Troparion and Kontakion of the Feast. In the evening, the All-Night Vigil for the Feast of the Nativity is composed of Great Compline, Matins and the First Hour. The Byzantine services of Christmas Eve are intentionally parallel to those of Good Friday, illustrating the theological point that the purpose of the Incarnation was to make possible the Crucifixion and Resurrection. This is illustrated in Eastern icons of the Nativity, on which the Christ Child is wrapped in swaddling clothes reminiscent of his burial wrappings. The child is also shown lying on a stone, representing the Tomb of Christ, rather than a manger. The Cave of the Nativity is also a reminder of the cave in which Jesus was buried. The services of Christmas Eve are also similar to those of the Eve of Theophany (Epiphany), and the two Great Feasts are considered one celebration. In some Orthodox cultures, after the Vesperal Liturgy the family returns home to a festive meal, but one at which Orthodox fasting rules are still observed: no meat or dairy products (milk, cheese, eggs, etc.) are consumed (see below for variations according to nationality). Then they return to the church for the All-Night Vigil. The next morning, Christmas Day, the Divine Liturgy is celebrated again, but with special features that occur only on Great Feasts of the Lord. After the dismissal of this Liturgy, the faithful customarily greet each other with the kiss of peace and the words: "Christ is Born!", to which the one being greeted responds: "Glorify Him!" (the opening words of the Canon of the Nativity that was chanted the night before during the Vigil). This greeting, together with many of the hymns of the feast, continue to be used until the leave-taking of the feast on 29 December. The first three days of the feast are particularly solemn. The second day is known as the Synaxis of the Theotokos, and commemorates the role of the Virgin Mary in the Nativity of Jesus. The third day is referred to simply as "the Third Day of the Nativity". The Saturday and Sunday following 25 December have special Epistle and Gospel readings assigned to them. 29 December celebrates the Holy Innocents. Byzantine Christians observe a festal period of twelve days, during which no one in the Church fasts, even on Wednesdays and Fridays, which are normal fasting days throughout the rest of the year. During this time one feast leads into another: 25–31 December is the afterfeast of the Nativity; 2–5 January is the forefeast of the Epiphany. ...Gift giving Christmas presents under the Christmas tree During the Reformation in 16th- and 17th-century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date of giving gifts changed from 6 December to Christmas Eve.[32] It is the night when Santa Claus makes his rounds delivering gifts to good children. Many trace the custom of giving gifts to the Magi who brought gifts for the Christ child in the manger. In Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia, where Saint Nicholas (sv. Mikuláš/szent Mikulás) gives gifts on 6 December, the Christmas gift-giver is the Child Jesus (Ježíšek in Czech, Jézuska in Hungarian, Ježiško in Slovak and Isusek in Croatian).[33] In Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland, presents are traditionally exchanged on the evening of 24 December. Children are commonly told that presents were brought either by the Christkind (German for Christ child),[34] or by the Weihnachtsmann. Both leave the gifts, but are in most families not seen doing so. In Germany, the gifts are also brought on 6 December by "the Nikolaus" with his helper Knecht Ruprecht. Christmas tree with presents hanging on the tree In Estonia Jõuluvana, Finland Joulupukki, Denmark Julemanden, Norway Julenissen and Sweden Jultomten, personally meets children and gives presents in the evening of Christmas Eve.[35][36] In Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, the Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Quebec (French Canada), Romania, Uruguay, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland, Christmas presents are opened mostly on the evening of the 24th – following German tradition, this is also the practice among the British Royal Family since it was introduced by Queen Victoria and Albert, Prince Consort[37][38] – while in Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Malta, English Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, this occurs mostly on the morning of Christmas Day. In other Latin American countries, people stay awake until midnight, when they open the presents. In Spain, gifts are traditionally opened on the morning of 6 January, Epiphany day ("Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos"),[39] though in some other countries, like Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay, people receive presents both around Christmas and on the morning of Epiphany day. In Belgium and the Netherlands Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas and his companion Zwarte Piet deliver presents to children and adults alike on the evening of 5 December, the eve of his nameday.[40] On 24 December they go to church or watch the late-night Mass on TV, or have a meal.[citation needed] Christmas Eve around the world A Christmas Eve candlelight service in Baghdad, Iraq Christmas Eve is celebrated in different ways around the world, varying by country and region. Elements common to many areas of the world include the attendance of special religious observances such as a midnight Mass or Vespers and the giving and receiving of presents. Along with Easter, Christmastime is one of the most important periods on the Christian calendar, and is often closely connected to other holidays at this time of year, such as Advent, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, St. Nicholas Day, St. Stephen's Day, New Year's, and the Feast of the Epiphany. Celebrations Among Christians, as well as non-Christians who celebrate Christmas, the significant amount of vacation travel, and travel back to family homes, that takes place in the lead-up to Christmas means that Christmas Eve is also frequently a time of social events and parties, worldwide.[41][42][43][44][45] Further information on Christmas Eve traditions around the world: Christmas worldwide In Jewish culture Nittel Nacht is a name given to Christmas Eve by Jewish scholars in the 17th century. In contemporary American-Jewish culture With Christmas Day a work holiday throughout the United States, there is a space of unfilled free time during which much of American commerce and society is not functioning, and which can give rise to a sense of loneliness or alienation for American Jews.[46][47][48][49][50] Jews also typically do not engage in the family gathering and religious worship activities that are central to Christmas Eve for Christians.[51] Typical contemporary activities have usually been limited to "Chinese and a movie"[52][53][54]—consuming a meal at a Chinese restaurant, which tend to be open for business on the Christmas holiday, and watching a movie at the theater or at home, stereotypically a rerun of the 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life.[50][55][56][57] Since the 1980s a variety of social events for young Jews have sprung up, and become popular, on Christmas Eve.[58] These include the Matzo Ball, The Ball, and a number of local events organized by Jewish communities and local Jewish Federations in North America.[47] Further information on Christmas Eve social events for young Jews in North America: Matzo Ball In Chinese culture In Mandarin, Christmas Eve is called Píng'ān yè (平安夜, "peaceful night", etymologically from the Chinese title of the Christmas carol Silent Night). People exchange apples, because the word for "apple" (苹果) is a rhyming wordplay with "peace" (平安).[59] In Inuit culture In Inuit territories, Christmas Eve is called Quviasukvik. The Inuit celebrate it as their new year.[60][61][62] Latin America See also: Christmas in Mexico For Latin American cultures, Christmas Eve is often the biggest feast for the Christmas season. Typically a dinner is served with the family, sometimes after attending the late Mass known as Misa de Gallo. Some regions include a fasting before midnight dinner.[63] In much of Latin America the evening consists of a traditional family dinner for the adults. In some areas Christmas Eve marks the final evening of the Posadas celebrations.[64] Cuba In Cuba, roasted pig (lechón) is often the center of Christmas Eve (Nochebuena).[65] It is believed that the tradition dates back to the 15th century when Caribbean colonists hunted down pigs and roasted them with a powerful flame.[66] In Cuban and Cuban-American tradition, the pig is sometimes cooked in a Caja China, a large box where an entire pig is placed below hot coals.[67] The dinner features many side dishes and desserts, and often games of dominoes are played. The tradition is continued by Cuban families in Florida and the United States.[68] The dinner on the 24th, Christmas Eve itself, is the center of the celebration. That day — it may also be 31 — for many it is important to wear a new piece of clothing, be it a jacket or underwear. The Cuban family does not have a fixed time for dinner. It is necessary, yes, in most of the Island, to have it as a family, and it is expected to be all at the table to start tasting the frijoles negros dormidos [sleeping black beans] and the arroz blanco desgranado y reluciente [shredded white rice], the yuca con mojo [Cuban side dish made by marinating yuca root (also known as cassava) in garlic, sour orange, and olive oil], the roasted pork or the stuffed or unfilled guanajo that, along with homemade desserts, such as Christmas fritters, and a wide range of sweets in syrup and Spanish nougat. The visit to the archipelago of Pope John Paul II, in 1998, promoted the Cuban State, in a gesture of goodwill, to declare December 25 again as a holiday, which had stopped happening for several decades. New Mexico In New Mexico and areas of San Diego, California, Christmas Eve (nochebuena) is celebrated by lighting luminarias and farolitos. Philippines See also: Christmas in the Philippines In the Philippines, the traditional dinner is served at midnight after the family attends the late evening Mass known as Misa de Gallo (sometimes referred to as Misa de Aguinaldo, "Gift Mass"). Conventional dishes served for the main course include: lechón, pancit, sweet-tasting spaghetti, fried chicken, jamón, queso de bola, arróz caldo, lumpia, turkey, relyenong bangús (stuffed milkfish), adobo, steamed rice, and various breads such as pan de sal. Desserts include úbe halayá, bibingka, membrilyo, fruit salad, various rice- and flour-based pastries, ice cream, and fruits, while popular beverages are tsokolate as well as coffee, soda, wine, beer, alcoholic drinks, and fruit juices." (wikipedia.org) "Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, or simply Santa, is a legendary figure[1] originating in Western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts during the late evening and overnight hours on Christmas Eve. He is said to accomplish this with the aid of Christmas elves, who make the toys in his North Pole workshop, and with the aid of flying reindeer who pull his sleigh through the air.[2][3] The modern figure of Santa is based on folklore traditions surrounding Saint Nicholas, the English figure of Father Christmas, and the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas. Santa is generally depicted as a portly, jolly, white-bearded man, often with spectacles, wearing a red coat with white fur collar and cuffs, white-fur-cuffed red trousers, a red hat trimmed with white fur, a black leather belt and boots, carrying a bag full of gifts for children. He is popularly associated with a deep, hearty laugh, frequently rendered in Christmas literature as "ho, ho, ho!" (/ˈhoʊˈhoʊˈhoʊ/) This image originated in North America during the 19th century and has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, children's books, family Christmas traditions, films, and advertising. Predecessor figures Saint Nicholas Main article: Saint Nicholas Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop of Myra (now Demre) in the region of Lycia in the Roman Empire, today in Turkey. Nicholas was known for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes.[4] He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. In continental Europe (more precisely the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany), he is usually portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes. In 1087, while the Greek Christian inhabitants of Myra were subjugated by the newly arrived Muslim Seljuq dynasty, and soon after their Greek Orthodox church had been declared to be in schism by the Catholic church (1054 AD), a group of merchants from the Italian city of Bari removed the major bones of Nicholas's skeleton from his sarcophagus in the Greek church in Myra. Over the objection of the monks of Myra the sailors took the bones of St. Nicholas to Bari, where they are now enshrined in the Basilica di San Nicola. Sailors from Bari collected just half of Nicholas' skeleton, leaving all the minor fragments in the church sarcophagus. These were later taken by Venetian sailors during the First Crusade and placed in Venice, where a church to St. Nicholas, the patron of sailors, was built on the San Nicolò al Lido. St. Nicholas' vandalized sarcophagus can still be seen in the St. Nicholas Church in Myra. This tradition was confirmed in two important scientific investigations of the relics in Bari and Venice, which revealed that the relics in the two Italian cities belong to the same skeleton. Saint Nicholas was later claimed as a patron saint of many diverse groups, from archers, sailors, and children to pawnbrokers.[4][5] He is also the patron saint of both Amsterdam and Moscow.[6] During the Middle Ages, often on the evening before his name day of 6 December, children were bestowed gifts in his honour. This date was earlier than the original day of gifts for the children, which moved in the course of the Reformation and its opposition to the veneration of saints in many countries on 24 and 25 December. The custom of gifting to children at Christmas was propagated by Martin Luther as an alternative to the previous very popular gift custom on St. Nicholas, to focus the interest of the children to Christ instead of the veneration of saints. Martin Luther first suggested the Christkind as the bringer of gifts. But Nicholas remained popular as gifts bearer for the people.[7][8] Father Christmas Main article: Father Christmas Father Christmas dates back as far as 16th century in England during the reign of Henry VIII, when he was pictured as a large man in green or scarlet robes lined with fur.[9] He typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, bringing peace, joy, good food and wine and revelry.[9] As England no longer kept the feast day of Saint Nicholas on 6 December, the Father Christmas celebration was moved to 25 December to coincide with Christmas Day.[9] The Victorian revival of Christmas included Father Christmas as the emblem of good cheer.[10] His physical appearance was variable,[11] with one image being John Leech's illustration of the "Ghost of Christmas Present" in Charles Dickens's festive story A Christmas Carol (1843), as a great genial man in a green coat lined with fur who takes Scrooge through the bustling streets of London on the current Christmas morning, sprinkling the essence of Christmas onto the happy populace.[9][10] Dutch, Belgian and Swiss folklore See also: Sinterklaas and Saint Nicholas In the Netherlands and Belgium, the character of Santa Claus competes with that of Sinterklaas, based on Saint Nicolas. Santa Claus is known as de Kerstman in Dutch ("the Christmas man") and Père Noël ("Father Christmas") in French. For children in the Netherlands, Sinterklaas remains the predominant gift-giver in December; 36% of the Dutch only give presents on Sinterklaas evening or the day itself, 6 December,[12] while Christmas, 25 December, is used by another 21% to give presents. Some 26% of the Dutch population gives presents on both days.[13] In Belgium, presents are offered exclusively to children on 6 December, and on Christmas Day all ages may receive presents. Saint Nicolas/Sinterklaas' assistants are called "Pieten" (in Dutch) or "Père Fouettard" (in French), so they are not elves.[14] In Switzerland, Père Fouettard accompanies Père Noël in the French speaking region, while the sinister Schmutzli accompanies Samichlaus in the Swiss German region. Schmutzli carries a twig broom to spank the naughty children.[15] Germanic paganism, Wodan, and Christianization Prior to Christianization, the Germanic peoples (including the English) celebrated a midwinter event called Yule (Old English geola or giuli).[16] With the Christianization of Germanic Europe, numerous traditions were absorbed from Yuletide celebrations into modern Christmas.[17] During this period, supernatural and ghostly occurrences were said[by whom?] to increase in frequency, such as the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky.[citation needed] The leader of the Wild Hunt is frequently attested as the god Odin (Wodan), bearing (among many names) the names Jólnir, meaning "Yule figure", and Langbarðr, meaning "long-beard", in Old Norse.[18] Wodan's role during the Yuletide period has been theorized as having influenced concepts of St. Nicholas and Santa Claus in a variety of facets, including his long white beard and his gray horse for nightly rides (compare Odin's horse Sleipnir) or his reindeer in North American tradition.[19] Folklorist Margaret Baker maintains that "the appearance of Santa Claus or Father Christmas, whose day is the 25th of December, owes much to Odin, the old blue-hooded, cloaked, white-bearded Giftbringer of the north, who rode the midwinter sky on his eight-footed steed Sleipnir, visiting his people with gifts. Odin, transformed into Father Christmas, then Santa Claus, prospered with St Nicholas and the Christchild, became a leading player on the Christmas stage."[20] In northern Europe, the Yule goat was an earlier bearer of gifts, which has to some degree become conflated with Santa Claus, for instance in the Finnish Joulupukki tradition. History Origins Early representations of the gift-giver from Church history and folklore, especially St Nicholas, merged with the English character Father Christmas to create the mythical character known to the rest of the English-speaking world as "Santa Claus" (a phonetic derivation of "Sinterklaas" in Dutch). In the English and later British colonies of North America, and later in the United States, British and Dutch versions of the gift-giver merged further. For example, in Washington Irving's History of New York (1809), Sinterklaas was Anglicized into "Santa Claus" (a name first used in the U.S. press in 1773)[22] but lost his bishop's apparel, and was at first pictured as a thick-bellied Dutch sailor with a pipe in a green winter coat. Irving's book was a parody of the Dutch culture of New York, and much of this portrait is his joking invention.[23] Irving's interpretation of Santa Claus was part of a broader movement to tone down the increasingly wild Christmas celebrations of the era, which included aggressive home invasions under the guise of wassailing, substantial premarital sex (leading to shotgun weddings in areas where the Puritans, waning in power and firmly opposed to Christmas, still held some influence) and public displays of sexual deviancy; the celebrations of the era were derided by both upper-class merchants and Christian purists.[23] 19th century In 1821, the book A New-year's present, to the little ones from five to twelve was published in New York. It contained "Old Santeclaus with Much Delight", an anonymous poem describing Santeclaus on a reindeer sleigh, bringing rewards to children.[24] Some modern ideas of Santa Claus seemingly became canon after the anonymous publication of the poem A Visit From St. Nicholas (better known today as The Night Before Christmas) in the Troy, New York, Sentinel on 23 December 1823; Clement Clarke Moore later claimed authorship, though some scholars argue that Henry Livingston, Jr. (who died nine years before Moore's claim) was the author.[4][25] St. Nick is described as being "chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf" with "a little round belly", that "shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly", in spite of which the "miniature sleigh" and "tiny reindeer" still indicate that he is physically diminutive. The reindeer were also named: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem (Dunder and Blixem came from the old Dutch words for thunder and lightning, which were later changed to the more German sounding Donner and Blitzen).[26] By 1845, "Kris Kringle" was a common variant of Santa in parts of the United States.[27] A magazine article from 1853, describing American Christmas customs to British readers, refers to children hanging up their stockings on Christmas Eve for "a fabulous personage" whose name varies: in Pennsylvania he is usually called "Krishkinkle", but in New York he is "St. Nicholas" or "Santa Claus". The author[28] quotes Moore's poem in its entirety, saying that its descriptions apply to Krishkinkle too.[29] As the years passed, Santa Claus evolved into a large, heavyset person. One of the first artists to define Santa Claus's modern image was Thomas Nast, an American cartoonist of the 19th century who immortalized Santa Claus with an illustration for the 3 January 1863 issue of Harper's Weekly in which Santa was dressed in an American flag, and had a puppet with the name "Jeff" written on it, reflecting its Civil War context. In this drawing, Santa is also in a sleigh pulled by reindeers.[citation needed] The story that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole may also have been a Nast creation. His Christmas image in the Harper's issue dated 29 December 1866 was a collage of engravings titled Santa Claus and His Works, which included the caption "Santa Claussville, N.P."[30] A color collection of Nast's pictures, published in 1869, had a poem also titled "Santa Claus and His Works" by George P. Webster, who wrote that Santa Claus's home was "near the North Pole, in the ice and snow".[31] The tale had become well known by the 1870s. A boy from Colorado writing to the children's magazine The Nursery in late 1874 said, "If we did not live so very far from the North Pole, I should ask Santa Claus to bring me a donkey." [32] The idea of a wife for Santa Claus may have been the creation of American authors, beginning in the mid-19th century. In 1889, the poet Katharine Lee Bates popularized Mrs. Claus in the poem "Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride". "Is There a Santa Claus?" is the title of an iconic editorial by Francis Pharcellus Church in the 21 September 1897 edition of The New York Sun that became the most reprinted in the U.S. and included the famous reply, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus".[33][34] In Russia, Ded Moroz emerged as a Santa Claus figure around the late 19th century[35] where Christmas for the Eastern Orthodox Church is kept on 7 January. 20th century A man dressed as Santa Claus fundraising for Volunteers of America on the sidewalk of street in Chicago, Illinois, in 1902. He is wearing a mask with a beard attached. L. Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, a children's book, was published in 1902. Much of Santa Claus's mythos was not firmly established at the time, leaving Baum to give his "Neclaus" (Necile's Little One) a variety of immortal support, a home in the Laughing Valley of Hohaho, and ten reindeer—who could not fly, but leapt in enormous, flight-like bounds. Claus's immortality was earned, much like his title ("Santa"), decided by a vote of those naturally immortal. This work also established Claus's motives: a happy childhood among immortals. When Ak, Master Woodsman of the World, exposes him to the misery and poverty of children in the outside world, Santa strives to find a way to bring joy into the lives of all children, and eventually invents toys as a principal means. Santa later appears in The Road to Oz as an honored guest at Ozma's birthday party, stated to be famous and beloved enough for everyone to bow even before he is announced as "The most Mighty and Loyal Friend of Children, His Supreme Highness – Santa Claus". Images of Santa Claus were conveyed through Haddon Sundblom's depiction of him for The Coca-Cola Company's Christmas advertising in the 1930s.[4][36] The image spawned urban legends that Santa Claus was invented by The Coca-Cola Company or that Santa wears red and white because they are the colors used to promote the Coca-Cola brand.[37] Coca-Cola's competitor Pepsi-Cola used similar Santa Claus paintings in its advertisem*nts in the 1940s and 1950s. Historically, Coca-Cola was not the first soft drink company to utilize the modern image of Santa Claus in its advertising—White Rock Beverages had used a Santa figure in monochrome advertisem*nts for mineral water in 1915, and in 1923-25, the same company used colour images of Santa Claus in adverts for drink mixers.[38] Earlier, Santa Claus had appeared dressed in red and white and essentially in his current form on several covers of Puck magazine in the first few years of the 20th century.[39] The image of Santa Claus as a benevolent character became reinforced with its association with charity and philanthropy, particularly by organizations such as the Salvation Army. Volunteers dressed as Santa Claus typically became part of fundraising drives to aid needy families at Christmas time. In 1937, Charles W. Howard, who played Santa Claus in department stores and parades, established the Charles W. Howard Santa School, the oldest continuously-run such school in the world.[40] In some images from the early 20th century, Santa was depicted as personally making his toys by hand in a small workshop like a craftsman. Eventually, the idea emerged that he had numerous elves responsible for making the toys, but the toys were still handmade by each individual elf working in the traditional manner. The 1956 popular song by George Melachrino, "Mrs. Santa Claus", and the 1963 children's book How Mrs. Santa Claus Saved Christmas, by Phyllis McGinley, helped standardize and establish the character and role of Mrs. Claus in the US.[41] Seabury Quinn's 1948 novel Roads draws from historical legends to tell the story of Santa and the origins of Christmas. Other modern additions to the "story" of Santa include Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the 9th and lead reindeer created in 1939 by Robert L. May, a Montgomery Ward copywriter, and immortalized in a 1949 song by Gene Autry. In popular culture See also: Santa Claus in film and SantaCon Elves had been portrayed as using assembly lines to produce toys early in the 20th century. That shift was reflected in the modern depiction of Santa's residence—now often humorously portrayed as a fully mechanized production and distribution facility, equipped with the latest manufacturing technology, and overseen by the elves with Santa and Mrs. Claus as executives or managers.[42] In 1912, actor Leedham Bantock became the first actor to be identified as having played Santa Claus in a film. Santa Claus, which he also directed, included scenes photographed in a limited, two-tone color process and featured the use of detailed models.[43] Since then many feature films have featured Santa Claus as a protagonist, including Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause, and Elf. In the cartoon base, Santa has been voiced by several people, including Mickey Rooney, Jim Cummings, Mel Smith, Ricky Tomlinson, Jim Belushi, and Alec Baldwin. Santa has been described as a positive male cultural icon: Santa is really the only cultural icon we have who's male, does not carry a gun, and is all about peace, joy, giving, and caring for other people. That's part of the magic for me, especially in a culture where we've become so commercialized and hooked into manufactured icons. Santa is much more organic, integral, connected to the past, and therefore connected to the future. — TV producer Jonathan Meath who portrays Santa, 2011[44] Norman Corwin's 1938 comic radio play The Plot to Overthrow Christmas, set entirely in rhyme, details a conspiracy of the Devil Mephistopheles and damned figures of history to defeat the good will among men of Christmas, by sending the Roman emperor Nero to the North Pole to assassinate Santa Claus. Through a battle of wits, Santa saves himself by winning Nero over to the joys of Christmas, and gives him a Stradivarius violin. The play was re-produced in 1940 and 1944. Many television commercials, comic strips and other media depict this as a sort of humorous business, with Santa's elves acting as a sometimes mischievously disgruntled workforce, cracking jokes and pulling pranks on their boss. For instance, a Bloom County story from 15 December 1981 through 24 December 1981 has Santa rejecting the demands of PETCO (Professional Elves Toy-Making and Craft Organization) for higher wages, a hot tub in the locker room, and "Aggressive recruitment of a wider gender spectrum of employee" ("short broads"}, with the elves then going on strike. President Reagan steps in, fires all of Santa's helpers, and replaces them with out-of-work air traffic controllers (an obvious reference to the 1981 air traffic controllers' strike), resulting in a riot before Santa vindictively rehires them in humiliating new positions such as his reindeer.[45] In the 2001 The Sopranos episode, "To Save Us All from Satan's Power", Paulie Gualtieri says he "Used to think Santa and Mrs. Claus were running a sweatshop over there. The original elves were ugly, traveled with Santa to throw bad kids a beatin', and gave the good ones toys." In Kyrgyzstan, a mountain peak was named after Santa Claus, after a Swedish company had suggested the location be a more efficient starting place for present-delivering journeys all over the world, than Lapland. In the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, a Santa Claus Festival was held on 30 December 2007, with government officials attending. 2008 was officially declared the Year of Santa Claus in the country. The events are seen as moves to boost tourism in Kyrgyzstan.[46] The Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of Santa Clauses is held by Thrissur, Kerala, India where on 27 December 2014, 18,112 Santas overtook the previous record. Derry City, Northern Ireland had held the record since 9 September 2007, when a total of 12,965 people dressed up as Santa or Santa's helpers. Prior to that, the record was 3,921, which was set during the Santa Dash event in Liverpool City Centre in 2005.[47] A gathering of Santas in 2009 in Bucharest, Romania attempted to top the world record, but failed with only 3,939 Santas.[48] Santa Claus appears in a few video games. Traditions and rituals Chimneys The tradition of Santa Claus being said to enter dwellings through the chimney is shared by many European seasonal gift-givers.[50] In pre-Christian Norse tradition, Odin would often enter through chimneys and fire holes on the solstice.[citation needed] In the Italian Befana tradition, the gift-giving witch is perpetually covered with soot from her trips down the chimneys of children's homes.[citation needed] Christmas Eve A man dressed as Santa Claus waves to children from an annual holiday train in Chicago, 2012. In the United States and Canada, children may leave a glass of milk and a plate of cookies intended for Santa; in Britain and Australia, sherry or beer, and mince pies are left instead. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, it is common for children to leave him rice porridge with sugar and cinnamon instead. In Ireland it is popular to leave Guinness or milk, along with Christmas pudding or mince pies. In Hungary, St. Nicolaus (Mikulás) or Father Winter (Télapó) comes on the night of 5 December and the children get their gifts the next morning. They get sweets in a bag if they were good, and a golden colored birch switch if not. On Christmas Eve "Little Jesus" comes and gives gifts for everyone.[51] In Slovenia, Saint Nicholas (Miklavž) also brings small gifts for good children on the eve of 6 December. Božiček (Christmas Man) brings gifts on the eve of 25 December, and Dedek Mraz (Grandfather Frost) brings gifts in the evening of 31 December to be opened on New Years Day. After the children have fallen asleep, parents play the role of Santa Claus and leave their gifts under the Christmas tree, which may be signed as being "from Santa Claus".[52][53][54] A classic American image of Santa Claus Appearance Santa is generally depicted as a portly, jolly, white-bearded man, often with spectacles, wearing a red outfit consisting of jacket, trousers and hat all lined with white fur, accessorized with black leather belt and boots, and carrying a bag full of gifts for children. The 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" popularized this image in North America during the 19th century. Caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast also played a role in the creation of Santa's image.[55][56][57] Though most often portrayed as white, Santa is also depicted as black or of other races. His race or color is sometimes a subject of controversy.[58][59] Ho, ho, ho "Ho ho ho" redirects here. For other uses, see Ho ho ho (disambiguation). Ho ho ho is the way that many languages write out how Santa Claus laughs. "Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!" It is the textual rendition of a particular type of deep-throated laugh or chuckle, most associated today with Santa Claus and Father Christmas. The laughter of Santa Claus has long been an important attribute by which the character is identified, but it also does not appear in many non-English-speaking countries. The traditional 1823 Christmas poem A Visit from St. Nicholas relates that Santa has: "a little round belly That shook when he laugh'd, like a bowl full of jelly" Home See also: Santa's workshop § Location Santa's House at Jerusalem Old City, St. Peter Street Santa Claus's home is traditionally said to include a residence and a workshop where he is said to create—often with the aid of elves or other supernatural beings—the gifts he is said to deliver to good children at Christmas. Some stories and legends include a village, inhabited by his helpers, surrounding his home and shop. In North American tradition (in the United States and Canada), Santa is said to live at the North Pole, which according to Canada Post lies within Canadian jurisdiction in postal code H0H 0H0[60] (a reference to "ho ho ho", Santa's notable saying, although postal codes starting with H are usually reserved for the island of Montréal in Québec). On 23 December 2008, Jason Kenney, Canada's minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, formally awarded Canadian citizenship status to Santa Claus. "The Government of Canada wishes Santa the very best in his Christmas Eve duties and wants to let him know that, as a Canadian citizen, he has the automatic right to re-enter Canada once his trip around the world is complete," Kenney said in an official statement.[61] There is also a city named North Pole in Alaska where a tourist attraction known as the "Santa Claus House" has been established. The United States Postal Service uses the city's ZIP code of 99705 as their advertised postal code for Santa Claus. A Wendy's in North Pole, AK has also claimed to have a "sleigh fly through".[62] Each Nordic country claims Santa's residence to be within their territory. Norway claims he lives in Drøbak. In Denmark, he is said to live in Greenland (near Uummannaq). In Sweden, the town of Mora has a theme park named Tomteland. The national postal terminal in Tomteboda in Stockholm receives children's letters for Santa. In Finland, Korvatunturi has long been known as Santa's home, and two theme parks, Santa Claus Village and Santa Park are located near Rovaniemi. In Belarus, there is a home of Ded Moroz in Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park.[63] In France, Santa is believed to reside in 1 Chemin des Nuages, Pôle Nord (1 Alley of Clouds, North Pole). The French national postal service has operated a service that allows children to send letters to Père Noël since 1962.[64] In the period before Christmas, any physical letter in the country that is addressed to Santa Claus is sent to a specific location, where responses for the children’s letters are written and sent back to the children.[65] Parades, department stores, and shopping malls See also: Santa's workshop § Santa Claus grottos and department stores Representation of Santa Claus in Italy Actors portraying Santa Claus are present at various venues in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The practice of this has been credited[dubious – discuss] to James Edgar, as he started doing this in 1890 in his Brockton, Massachusetts department store.[66] Having a Santa actor set up to take pictures with children is a ritual that dates back at least to 1918.[67] An area is often set aside for the actors portraying Santa to use for the duration of the holiday season. It usually features a chair for the actors to sit in surrounded by various holiday-themed decorations. In Canada, malls operated by Oxford Properties established a process by which autistic children could "visit Santa Claus" at the mall without having to contend with crowds.[68] The malls open early to allow entry only to families with autistic children, who have a private visit with the actor portraying Santa Claus. In 2012, the Southcentre Mall in Calgary was the first mall to offer this service.[69] In the United Kingdom, discount store Poundland changes the voice of its self-service checkouts to that of Santa Claus throughout the Christmas retail period.[70] There are schools offering instruction on how to act as Santa Claus. For example, children's television producer Jonathan Meath studied at the International School of Santa Claus and earned the degree Master of Santa Claus in 2006. It blossomed into a second career for him, and after appearing in parades and malls,[71] he appeared on the cover of the American monthly Boston Magazine as Santa.[72] There are associations with members who portray Santa; for example, Mr. Meath was a board member of the international organization called Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas.[73] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Santa grottos were not operating for the 2020 Christmas season. Due to this, some companies offered video calls for a fee using apps such as Zoom where children could speak to an actor who was dressed as Santa Claus.[74] In 2021, Walt Disney World and Disneyland featured for the first time Black cast members portraying Santa.[75] Letter writing "Letters to Santa" redirects here. For the Muppet television film, see A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa. For the Polish film, see Letters to Santa (film). Children sometimes write letters to Santa Claus, often with a wish list of presents that they wish to receive.[76][77] Some postal services recognize this tradition, and may accept letters addressed to "Santa Claus".[78] Writing letters to Santa Claus has the educational benefits of promoting literacy, computer literacy, and e-mail literacy. A letter to Santa is often a child's first experience of correspondence. Written and sent with the help of a parent or teacher, children learn about the structure of a letter, salutations, and the use of an address and postcode.[79] According to the Universal Postal Union (UPU)'s 2007 study and survey of national postal operations, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has the oldest Santa letter answering effort by a national postal system. The USPS Santa letter answering effort started in 1912 out of the historic James Farley Post Office[80] in New York, and since 1940 has been called "Operation Santa" to ensure that letters to Santa are adopted by charitable organizations, major corporations, local businesses and individuals in order to fulfill the wishes of children.[78] Those seeking a North Pole holiday postmark through the USPS, are told to send their letter from Santa or a holiday greeting card by 10 December to: North Pole Holiday Postmark, Postmaster, 4141 Postmark Dr, Anchorage, AK 99530–9998.[81] In 2006, according to the UPU's 2007 study and survey of national postal operations, France's Postal Service received the most letters for Santa Claus or "Père Noël" with 1,220,000 letters received from 126 countries.[82] France's Postal Service in 2007 specially recruited someone to answer the enormous volume of mail that was coming from Russia for Santa Claus.[78] Other Santa letter processing information, according to the UPU's 2007 study and survey of national postal operations, include:[78] Countries whose national postal operators answer letters to Santa and other end-of-year holiday figures, and the number of letters received in 2006: Germany (500,000), Australia (117,000), Austria (6,000), Bulgaria (500), Canada (1,060,000), Spain (232,000), United States (no figure, as statistics are not kept centrally), Finland (750,000), France (1,220,000), Ireland (100,000), New Zealand (110,000), Portugal (255,000), Poland (3,000), Slovakia (85,000), Sweden (150,000), Switzerland (17,863), Ukraine (5,019), United Kingdom (750,000). In 2006, Finland's national postal operation received letters from 150 countries (representing 90% of the letters received), France's Postal Service from 126 countries, Germany from 80 countries, and Slovakia from 20 countries. In 2007, Canada Post replied to letters in 26 languages and Deutsche Post in 16 languages. Some national postal operators make it possible to send in e-mail messages which are answered by physical mail. All the same, Santa still receives far more letters than e-mail through the national postal operators, proving that children still write letters. National postal operators offering the ability to use an on-line web form (with or without a return e-mail address) to Santa and obtain a reply include Canada Post[83] (on-line web request form in English and French), France's Postal Service (on-line web request form in French),[84][85] and New Zealand Post[86] (on-line web request form in English).[87] In France, by 6 December 2010, a team of 60 postal elves had sent out reply cards in response to 80,000 e-mail on-line request forms and more than 500,000 physical letters.[79] From 2002 to 2014, Canada Post replied to approximately "one million letters or more a year, and in total answered more than 24.7 million letters";[88] as of 2015, it responds to more than 1.5 million letters per year, "in over 30 languages, including Braille answering them all in the language they are written".[89] The tradition also exists in Great Britain[90] and Finland.[79] In Latin America, letters are sometimes tied to balloons instead of being sent through the mail.[91] An example of a public and private cooperative venture is the opportunity for expatriate and local children and parents to receive postmarked mail and greeting cards from Santa during December in the Finnish Embassy in Beijing, People's Republic of China,[92] Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland, and the People's Republic of China Postal System's Beijing International Post Office.[93][94][95] Tracking A number of websites have been created by various organizations that have claimed to track Santa Claus' yearly journey. Some, such as NORAD Tracks Santa, the Google Santa Tracker, the emailSanta.com Tracker[96] and the Santa Update Project, have endured. Others, such as the Airservices Australia Tracks Santa Project,[97][98][99] the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport's Tracks Santa Project,[100][101][102] the NASA Tracks Santa Project,[103] and the Bing Maps Platform Tracks Santa Project,[104][105] have not. NORAD Tracks Santa originated in 1955 when a Sears-Roebuck ad incorrectly printed the number for their Santa hotline and the Continental Air Defense Command received the calls intended for the Sears hotline. The program was transferred to NORAD when it was jointly founded by the United States and Canada in 1958.[106][107] In December 2000, the Weather Channel built upon these local efforts to provide a national Christmas Eve "Santa tracking" effort, called "SantaWatch", in cooperation with NASA, the International Space Station, and Silicon Valley-based new multimedia firm Dreamtime Holdings.[108] Currently, most local television stations in the United States and Canada rely upon outside established "Santa tracking" efforts, such as NORAD Tracks Santa.[109] In addition to providing holiday-themed entertainment, "Santa tracking" websites raise interest in space technology and exploration,[110] serve to educate children in geography[111] and encourage them to take an interest in science.[112] Many websites exist that claim to track Santa and his workshop. One particular website called emailSanta.com was created when a 1997 Canada Post strike prevented Alan Kerr's young niece and nephews from sending their letters to Santa; in a few weeks, over 1,000 emails to Santa were received, and the site had received 1,000 emails a day one year later.[113][114] Some websites, such as Santa's page on Microsoft's former Windows Live Spaces or emailSanta.com, have used or still use "bots" or other automated programs to compose and send personalized and realistic replies.[115][116] Microsoft's website has given occasional profane results....Santa Claus has partial Christian roots in Saint Nicholas, particularly in the high church denominations that practice the veneration of him, in addition to other saints. In light of this, the character has sometimes been the focus of controversy over the holiday and its meanings. A number of denominations of Christians have varying concerns about Santa Claus, which range from acceptance to denouncement.[119][120] Some Christians, particularly Calvinists such as the Puritans, disliked the idea of Santa Claus, as well as Christmas in general, believing that the lavish celebrations were not in accordance with their faith.[121] Other nonconformist Christians condemn the materialist focus of contemporary gift giving and see Santa Claus as the symbol of that culture.[122] Condemnation of Christmas was prevalent among the 17th-century English Puritans and Dutch Calvinists. The American colonies established by these groups reflected this view. Tolerance for Christmas increased after the Restoration, although Puritan attitudes toward the holiday remained unfavorable.[123] In the Dutch New Netherland colony, season celebrations focused on New Year's Day. Following the Restoration of the monarchy and with Puritans out of power in England,[124] the ban on Christmas was satirized in works such as Josiah King's The Examination and Tryal of Old Father Christmas; Together with his Clearing by the Jury (1686).[125] Reverend Paul Nedergaard, a clergyman in Copenhagen, Denmark, attracted controversy in 1958 when he declared Santa to be a "heathen goblin" ("en hedensk trold" in Danish) after Santa's image was used on the annual Christmas stamp ("julemærke") for a Danish children's welfare organization.[126] Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science movement, wrote: "the children should not be taught that Santa Claus has aught to do with this [Christmas] pastime. A deceit or falsehood is never wise. Too much cannot be done towards guarding and guiding well the germinating and inclining thought of childhood. To mould aright the first impressions of innocence, aids in perpetuating purity and in unfolding the immortal model, man in His image and likeness."[127] Opposition under state atheism Under the Marxist–Leninist doctrine of state atheism in the Soviet Union after its foundation in 1917, Christmas celebrations—along with other religious holidays—were prohibited as a result of the Soviet antireligious campaign.[128][129] The League of Militant Atheists encouraged school pupils to campaign against Christmas traditions, among them being Santa Claus and the Christmas tree, as well as other Christian holidays including Easter; the League established an antireligious holiday to be the 31st of each month as a replacement.[130][131] In December 2018, the city management office of Langfang in Hebei province released a statement stating that people caught selling Christmas trees, wreaths, stockings or Santa Claus figures in the city would be punished.[132] Symbol of commercialism In his 2005 book Nicholas: The Epic Journey from Saint to Santa Claus, writer Jeremy Seal describes how the commercialization of the Santa Claus figure began in the 19th century. "In the 1820s he began to acquire the recognizable trappings: reindeer, sleigh, bells," said Seal in an interview.[133] "They are simply the actual bearings in the world from which he emerged. At that time, sleighs were how you got about Manhattan." Writing in Mothering, writer Carol Jean-Swanson makes similar points, noting that the original figure of St. Nicholas gave only to those who were needy and that today Santa Claus seems to be more about conspicuous consumption: Our jolly old Saint Nicholas reflects our culture to a T, for he is fanciful, exuberant, bountiful, over-weight, and highly commercial. He also mirrors some of our highest ideals: childhood purity and innocence, selfless giving, unfaltering love, justice, and mercy. (What child has ever received a coal for Christmas?) The problem is that, in the process, he has become burdened with some of society's greatest challenges: materialism, corporate greed, and domination by the media. Here, Santa carries more in his baggage than toys alone!" (wikipedia.org) "Christmastide is a season of the liturgical year in most Christian churches. In some, Christmastide is identical to Twelvetide. For the Catholic Church, Lutheran Church, Anglican Church and Methodist Church, Christmastide begins on 24 December at sunset or Vespers, which is liturgically the beginning of Christmas Eve.[1][2][3][4] Most of 24 December is thus not part of Christmastide, but of Advent, the season in the Church Year that precedes Christmastide. In many liturgical calendars Christmastide is followed by the closely related season of Epiphanytide that commences at sunset on 5 January—a date known as Twelfth Night.[5][6] There are several celebrations within Christmastide, including Christmas Day (25 December), St. Stephen's Day (26 December), Childermas (28 December), New Year's Eve (31 December), the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ or the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (1 January), and the Feast of the Holy Family (date varies). The Twelve Days of Christmas terminate with Epiphany Eve or Twelfth Night (the evening of 5 January).[7] Customs of the Christmas season include carol singing, gift giving, attending Nativity plays, church services,[8] and eating special food, such as Christmas cake.[9] Traditional examples of Christmas greetings include the Western Christian phrase "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!" and the Eastern Christian greeting "Christ is born!", to which others respond, "Glorify Him!"[10][11] Dates Christmastide, commonly called the Twelve Days of Christmas, lasts 12 days, from 25 December to 5 January, the latter date being named as Twelfth Night.[12] These traditional dates are adhered to by the Lutheran Church and the Anglican Church.[1] However, the ending is defined differently by other Christian denominations.[13] In 1969, the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church expanded Christmastide by a variable number of days: "Christmas Time runs from... up to and including the Sunday after Epiphany or after 6 January."[14] Before 1955, the 12 Christmastide days in the Roman Rite (25 December to 5 January) were followed by the 8 days of the Octave of Epiphany, 6–13 January, and its 1960 Code of Rubrics defined "Christmastide" as running "from I vespers of Christmas to none of 5th January inclusive".[15] The Saint Andrew Daily Missal (1945) says Christmastide begins with "the vigil of the feast [Christmas Day] and ends in the temporal cycle on the octave day of the Epiphany...[and] in the sanctoral cycle on the Purification of our Lady (Feb. 2)."[16] Within the Christmas Cycle is "the time before, during and after the feast itself, thus having for its aim to prepare the soul for them, then allow it to celebrate them with solemnity and finally to prolong them several weeks"; this references Advent, Christmas, and the Time after Epiphany (Epiphanytide).[16] History Liturgical seasons Pre-Christmas Advent (Western) Nativity Fast (Byzantine) Annunciation (Syriac) Christmas Epiphany Ordinary Time (Western) Pre-Lent Lent (Western) / Great Lent (Eastern) Paschal Triduum Easter Pentecost Ordinary Time (Western) Apostles (East Syriac) Summer (East Syriac) Apostles' Fast (Byzantine) Dormition Fast (Byzantine) Elijah–Cross–Moses (East Syriac) Dedication of the Church (Syriac) vte In 567, the Council of Tours "proclaimed the twelve days from Christmas to Epiphany as a sacred and festive season, and established the duty of Advent fasting in preparation for the feast."[17][18][19][20][21][22] Christopher Hill, as well as William J. Federer, states that this was done in order to solve the "administrative problem for the Roman Empire as it tried to coordinate the solar Julian calendar with the lunar calendars of its provinces in the east."[23][24][25] Ronald Hutton adds that, while the Council of Tours declared the 12 days one festal cycle, it confirmed that three of those days were fasting days, dividing the rejoicing days into two blocs.[26][27][28] In medieval era Christendom, Christmastide "lasted from the Nativity to the Purification."[29][30] To this day, the "Christian cultures in Western Europe and Latin America extend the season to forty days, ending on the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of Mary on 2 February, a feast also known as Candlemas because of the blessing of candles on this day, inspired by the Song of Simeon, which proclaims Jesus as 'a light for revelation to the nations'."[31] Many Churches refer to the period after the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas and up to Candlemas, as Epiphanytide, also called the Epiphany season...Christmastide, commonly called the Twelve Days of Christmas, lasts 12 days, from 25 December to 5 January, the latter date being named as Twelfth Night.[12] These traditional dates are adhered to by the Lutheran Church and the Anglican Church.[1] However, the ending is defined differently by other Christian denominations.[13] In 1969, the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church expanded Christmastide by a variable number of days: "Christmas Time runs from... up to and including the Sunday after Epiphany or after 6 January."[14] Before 1955, the 12 Christmastide days in the Roman Rite (25 December to 5 January) were followed by the 8 days of the Octave of Epiphany, 6–13 January, and its 1960 Code of Rubrics defined "Christmastide" as running "from I vespers of Christmas to none of 5th January inclusive".[15] The Saint Andrew Daily Missal (1945) says Christmastide begins with "the vigil of the feast [Christmas Day] and ends in the temporal cycle on the octave day of the Epiphany...[and] in the sanctoral cycle on the Purification of our Lady (Feb. 2)."[16] Within the Christmas Cycle is "the time before, during and after the feast itself, thus having for its aim to prepare the soul for them, then allow it to celebrate them with solemnity and finally to prolong them several weeks"; this references Advent, Christmas, and the Time after Epiphany (Epiphanytide).[16] History Liturgical seasons Pre-Christmas Advent (Western) Nativity Fast (Byzantine) Annunciation (Syriac) Christmas Epiphany Ordinary Time (Western) Pre-Lent Lent (Western) / Great Lent (Eastern) Paschal Triduum Easter Pentecost Ordinary Time (Western) Apostles (East Syriac) Summer (East Syriac) Apostles' Fast (Byzantine) Dormition Fast (Byzantine) Elijah–Cross–Moses (East Syriac) Dedication of the Church (Syriac) vte In 567, the Council of Tours "proclaimed the twelve days from Christmas to Epiphany as a sacred and festive season, and established the duty of Advent fasting in preparation for the feast."[17][18][19][20][21][22] Christopher Hill, as well as William J. Federer, states that this was done in order to solve the "administrative problem for the Roman Empire as it tried to coordinate the solar Julian calendar with the lunar calendars of its provinces in the east."[23][24][25] Ronald Hutton adds that, while the Council of Tours declared the 12 days one festal cycle, it confirmed that three of those days were fasting days, dividing the rejoicing days into two blocs.[26][27][28] In medieval era Christendom, Christmastide "lasted from the Nativity to the Purification."[29][30] To this day, the "Christian cultures in Western Europe and Latin America extend the season to forty days, ending on the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of Mary on 2 February, a feast also known as Candlemas because of the blessing of candles on this day, inspired by the Song of Simeon, which proclaims Jesus as 'a light for revelation to the nations'."[31] Many Churches refer to the period after the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas and up to Candlemas, as Epiphanytide, also called the Epiphany season.[32][33] Traditions The Moravian star is a common decoration seen in many Christian households and churches, especially those of Moravians, during Christmastide and Epiphanytide During the Christmas season, various festivities are traditionally enjoyed and buildings are adorned with Christmas decorations, which are often set up during Advent.[34][35] These Christmas decorations include the Nativity Scene, Christmas tree, and various Christmas ornaments. In the Western Christian world, the two traditional days on which Christmas decorations are removed are Twelfth Night, Baptism of Jesus and Candlemas. Any not removed on the first occasion should be left undisturbed until the second.[36] Leaving the decorations up beyond Candlemas is considered to be inauspicious.[37] The Saint Andrew Daily Missal (1945), authored by Dom Gaspar Lefebvre, stipulates:[16] Every Christian home should have its own little crib round which, on these days, morning and evening prayers should be said. At this season, consecrated to childlike joys, children will understand that they must join with the shepherds and the wise men together with Mary and Joseph in worshipping the Child Jesus, the Babe who lying on His bed of straw is God and beseech Him that through His grace they may become ever increasingly children of God together with Him. The greetings of "Happy Christmas" which remind us of the artless mirth of the shepherds on that holy night; the Christmas tree, often with a source of joy to the poor, representatives of Christ in the property of His manger bed; Christmas gifts recalling God's great gift of His Son to us on the first Christmas night; the Twelfth-Night cake; all these are Christian customs which ought to be preserved. —The Saint Andrew Daily Missal[16] On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (the first day of Christmastide), it is customary for most households in Christendom to attend a service of worship or Mass.[38][39] During the season of Christmastide, in many Christian households, a gift is given for each of the Twelve Days of Christmastide, while in others, gifts are only given on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Twelfth Night, the first and last days of the festive season, respectively.[40] The practice of giving gifts during Christmastide, according to Christian tradition, is symbolic of the presentation of the gifts by the Three Wise Men to the infant Jesus.[41] In several parts of the world, it is common to have a large family feast on Christmas Day, preceded by saying grace. Desserts such as Christmas cake are unique to Christmastide; in India and Pakistan, a version known as Allahabadi cake is popular.[9] During the Christmas season, it is also very common for Christmas carols to be sung at Christian churches, as well as in front of houses—in the latter scenario, groups of Christians go from one house to another to sing Christmas carols.[42] Popular Christmas carols include "Silent Night", "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus", "We Three Kings", "Down in Yon Forest", "Away in a Manger", "I Wonder as I Wander", "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen", "There's a Song in the Air", and "Let all mortal flesh keep silence".[43] In the Christmas season, it is very common for television stations to air feature films relating to Christmas and Christianity in general, such as The Greatest Story Ever Told and Scrooge.[44] On Saint Stephen's Day, the second day of Christmastide,[45] people traditionally have their horses blessed,[46] and on the Feast of Saint John the Evangelist, the third day of Christmastide,[47] wine is blessed and consumed.[46] On New Year's Eve (the seventh day of Christmastide), it is common for many Christians to attend a watchnight service to thank God for being blessed in the previous year and resolving to serve Him in the coming year.[48] Throughout the twelve days of Christmastide, many people view Nativity plays,[49] among other forms of "musical and theatrical presentations".[46] In the Russian Orthodox Church, Christmastide is referred to as "Svyatki", meaning "Holy Days". It is celebrated from the Nativity of Christ (7 January N.S.) to the Theophany or Baptism of Christ (19 January N.S.). Activities during this period include attending church services, singing Christmas carols and spiritual hymns, visiting relatives and friends, and performing works of mercy, such as visiting the sick, the elderly people, orphans, and giving generous alms.[50] Liturgy Western Christianity Midnight Mass is held in many Christian churches toward the end of Christmas Eve, often with dim lighting and traditional decorative accents such as greenery Readings Calendar Day Feast Revised Common Lectionary Roman Lectionary 24 December Christmas Eve Isaiah 9:2–7 Psalm 96 (11) Titus 2:11–14 Luke 2:1–14 [15–20] Is 62:1–5 Acts 13:16–17, 22-25/Mt 1:1–25 or 1:18–25 25 December Christmas Day (first day of Christmastide) Isaiah 52:7–10 Psalm 98 (3) Hebrews 1:1–4 [5–12] John 1:1–14 Is 52:7-10/Heb 1:1-6/Jn 1:1–18 or 1:1–5, 9–14 26 December Saint Stephen's Day (second day of Christmastide) 2 Chronicles 24:17–22 Psalm 17:1–9, 15 (6) Acts 6:8—7:2a, 51–60 Matthew 23:34–39 Acts 6:8–10; 7:54-59/Mt 10:17–22 27 December Feast of St John the Apostle (third day of Christmastide) Genesis 1:1–5, 26–31 Psalm 116:12–19 1 John 1:1--2:2 John 21:20–25 1 Jn 1:1-4/Jn 20:1a, 2–8 28 December Feast of the Holy Innocents (fourth day of Christmastide) Jeremiah 31:15–17 Psalm 124 (7) 1 Peter 4:12–19 Matthew 2:13–18 1 Jn 1:5—2:2/Mt 2:13–18 29 December Feast of Saint Thomas Becket (fifth day of Christmastide) 1 Chronicles 28:1–10 1 Corinthians 3:10–17 Psalm 147:12–20 1 Jn 2:3-11/Lk 2:22–35 30 December First Sunday of Christmastide (sixth day of Christmastide) 1 Samuel 2:18–20, 26 Psalm 148 Colossians 3:12–17 Luke 2:41–52 Sir 3:2–6, 12-14/Col 3:12–21 or 3:12-17/Lk 2:41–52 1 Sm 1:20–22, 24-28/1 Jn 3:1–2, 21-24/Lk 2:41–52 (Year C) 31 December Saint Sylvester's Day / New Year's Eve (cf. watchnight service) (seventh day of Christmastide) Ecclesiastes 3:1–13 Psalm 8 Revelation 21:1-6a Matthew 25:31–46 1 Jn 2:18-21/Jn 1:1–18 1 January Feast of the Circumcision of Christ (Lutheran and Anglican Churches, Catholic Church, Extraordinary Form) Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (Catholic Church, Ordinary Form) (eighth day of Christmastide) Numbers 6:22–27 Psalm 8 Galatians 4:4–7 Philippians 2:5–11 (alternate) Luke 2:15–21 Nm 6:22-27/Gal 4:4-7/Lk 2:16–21 (18) 2 January (ninth day of Christmastide) Proverbs 1:1–7 James 3:13–18 Psalm 147:12–20 1 Jn 2:22-28/Jn 1:19–28 3 January (tenth day of Christmastide) Job 42:10–17 Luke 8:16–21 Psalm 72 1 Jn 2:29—3:6/Jn 1:29–34 4 January (eleventh day of Christmastide) Isaiah 6:1–5 Acts 7:44–53 Psalm 72 1 Jn 3:7-10/Jn 1:35–42 (207) 5 January Twelfth Night (twelfth day of Christmastide) Jeremiah 31:7–14 John 1:[1-9] 10–18 Psalm 72 1 Jn 3:11-21/Jn 1:43–51 (208) Eastern Christianity In the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as in the Greek Catholic Churches and Byzantine-Rite Lutheran Churches, Christmas is the fourth most important feast (after Pascha, Pentecost and Theophany). The day after, the Church celebrates the Synaxis of the Theotokos. This means that Saint Stephen's Day and the Feast of the Holy Innocents fall one day later than in the West. The coming of the Wise Men is celebrated on the feast itself. Readings Calendar day Feast Service Old Testament Lesson(s) Epistle(s) Gospel(s) 11-17 December Sunday of the Forefathers[51] Divine Liturgy Colossians 3:4-11 Luke 14:16-24 18-24 December Saturday before Christmas Divine Liturgy Galatians 3:8-12 Luke 13:18-29 18-24 December Sunday before Christmas Vespers Genesis 14:14-20 Deuteronomy 1:8-11, 15-17 Deuteronomy 10:14-21 Divine Liturgy Hebrews 11:9-10, 18-23, 32-40 Matthew 1:1-25 24 December Christmas Eve[52] Royal Hours First Hour Micah 5:2-4 Hebrews 1:1-12 Matthew 1:18-25 Third Hour Baruch 3:35-4:4 Galatians 3:23-29 Luke 2:1-20 Sixth Hour Isaiah 7:10-16; 8:1-4, 9-10 Hebrews 1:10-2:3 Matthew 2:1-12 Ninth Hour Isaiah 9:6-7 Hebrews 2:11-18 Matthew 2:13-23 Vespers (+ Divine Liturgy) Genesis 1:1-13 Numbers 24:2-3, 5-9, 17-18 Micah 4:6-7; 5:2-4 Isaiah 11:1-10 Baruch 3:35-4:4 Daniel 2:31-36, 44-45 Isaiah 9:6-7 Isaiah 7:10-16; 8:1-4, 9-10 Hebrews 1:1-12[53] or Galatians 3:15-22[54] Luke 2:1-20 25 December Christmas Day Matins Matthew 1:18-25 Divine Liturgy Galatians 4:4-7 Matthew 2:1-12 26 December Synaxis of the Theotokos Divine Liturgy Hebrews 2:11-18 Matthew 2:13-23 26-31 December Saturday after Christmas Divine Liturgy 1 Timothy 6:11-16 Matthew 12:15-21 26-31 December Sunday after Christmas Divine Liturgy Galatians 1:11-19 Matthew 2:13-23 27 December Saint Stephen's Day Divine Liturgy Acts 6:8-15; 7:1-5, 47-60 Matthew 21:33-42 29 December Holy Innocents' Day Divine Liturgy 2 Corinthians 5:15-21 Matthew 2:13-23 30 December-5 January Saturday before Theophany Divine Liturgy 1 Timothy 3:14-4:5 Matthew 3:1-11 1 January Feast of the Circumcision of Christ Saint Basil's Day Vespers Genesis 17:1-2, 4-12, 14 Proverbs 8:22-30 Proverbs 10:31-11:12 Matins John 10:9-16 Divine Liturgy Colossians 2:8-12 Hebrews 7:26-8:2 Luke 2:20-21, 40-52 Luke 6:17-23 2 January Repose of St Seraphim of Sarov Vespers Wisdom 3:1-9 Wisdom 5:15-6:3 Wisdom 4:7-15 Matins Matthew 11:27-30 Divine Liturgy Galatians 5:22-6:2 Luke 6:17-23 2-5 January Sunday before Theophany Divine Liturgy 2 Timothy 4:5-8 Mark 1:1-8 5 January Theophany Eve[55] Royal Hours First Hour Isaiah 35:1-10 Acts 13:25-33 Matthew 3:1-6 Third Hour Isaiah 1:16-20 Acts 19:1-8 Mark 1:1-8 Sixth Hour Isaiah 12:3-6 Romans 6:3-11 Mark 1:9-11[56] Ninth Hour Isaiah 49:8-15 Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7 Luke 3:1-18 or Matthew 3:13-17 Vespers (+ Divine Liturgy) Genesis 1:1-13 Exodus 14:15-18, 21-23, 27-29 Exodus 15:22-16:1 Joshua 3:7-8, 15-17 4 (2) Kings 2:6-14 4 (2) Kings 5:9-14 Isaiah 1:16-20 Genesis 32:1-10 Exodus 2:5-10 Judges 6:36-40 3 (1) Kings 18:30-39 4 (2) Kings 2:19-22 Isaiah 49:8-15 1 Corinthians 9:19-27 Luke 3:1-18 6 January Theophany Matins Mark 1:9-11 Divine Liturgy Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7 Matthew 3:13-17 Great Blessing of Waters[57] Isaiah 35:1-10 Isaiah 55:1-13 Isaiah 12:3-6 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 Mark 1:9-11 7 January Synaxis of John the Baptist Divine Liturgy Acts 19:1-8 John 1:29-34 7-13 January Saturday after Theophany Divine Liturgy Ephesians 6:10-17 Matthew 4:1-11 7-13 January Sunday after Theophany Divine Liturgy Ephesians 4:7-13 Matthew 4:12-17 11 January St Theodosius' Day Vespers Wisdom 3:1-9 Wisdom 5:15-6:3 Wisdom 4:7-15 Matins Luke 6:17-23 Divine Liturgy 2 Corinthians 4:6-15 Matthew 11:27-30" (wikipedia.org) "The Christmas season[2] or the festive season[3] (also known in some countries as the holiday season or the holidays) is an annually recurring period recognized in many Western and other countries that is generally considered to run from late November to early January. It is defined as incorporating at least Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and sometimes various other holidays and festivals. It also is associated with a period of shopping which comprises a peak season for the retail sector (the "Christmas (or holiday) shopping season") and a period of sales at the end of the season (the "January sales"). Christmas window displays and Christmas tree lighting ceremonies when trees decorated with ornaments and light bulbs are illuminated are traditions in many areas. In Western Christianity, the Christmas season is traditionally synonymous with Christmastide,[4][5] which runs from December 25 (Christmas Day) to January 5 (Twelfth Night or Epiphany Eve), popularly known as the 12 Days of Christmas.[6][4] As the economic impact involving the anticipatory lead-up to Christmas Day grew in America and Europe into the 19th and 20th centuries, the term "Christmas season" began to also encompass the liturgical Advent season,[7] the period observed in Western Christianity from the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day until Christmas Eve. The term "Advent calendar" continues to be widely known in Western parlance as a term referring to a countdown to Christmas Day from the beginning of December, (although in retail planning the countdown to Christmas usually begins at the end of the summer season, and the beginning of September.) Beginning in the mid-20th century, as the Christian-associated Christmas holiday and liturgical season, in some circles, became increasingly commercialized and central to American economics and culture while religio-multicultural sensitivity rose, generic references to the season that omitted the word "Christmas" became more common in the corporate and public sphere of the United States,[8] which has caused a semantics controversy[9] that continues to the present. By the late 20th century, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and the new African American cultural holiday of Kwanzaa began to be considered in the U.S. as being part of the "holiday season", a term that as of 2013 had become equally or more prevalent than "Christmas season" in U.S. sources to refer to the end-of-the-year festive period.[8][10][11] "Holiday season" has also spread in varying degrees to Canada;[12] however, in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the phrase "holiday season" has been the subject of some controversy.[13] History Winter solstice Midwinter sunset at Stonehenge The winter solstice may have been a special moment of the annual cycle for some cultures even during Neolithic times. This is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites, such as Stonehenge in England and Newgrange in Ireland. The primary axes of both of these monuments seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunrise (Newgrange) and the winter solstice sunset (Stonehenge). It is significant that the Great Trilithon was oriented outwards from the middle of the monument, i.e. its smooth flat face was turned towards the midwinter Sun.[14] Roman Saturnalia Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of the deity Saturn, the god of time, held on December 17 of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through December 23. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves.[15] The poet Catullus called it "the best of days."[16] Feast of the Nativity: Christmas An Advent wreath and Christmas pyramid adorn a dining table. Main articles: Christmas and Christmastide The earliest source stating December 25 as the date of birth of Jesus was Hippolytus of Rome (170–236), written very early in the 3rd century, based on the assumption that the conception of Jesus took place at the Spring equinox which he placed on March 25, to which he then added nine months.[17] There is historical evidence that by the middle of the 4th century, the Christian churches of the East celebrated the birth and Baptism of Jesus on the same day, on January 8, while those in the West celebrated a Nativity feast on December 25 (perhaps influenced by the Winter solstice); and that by the last quarter of the 4th century, the calendars of both churches included both feasts.[18] The earliest suggestions of a feast of the Baptism of Jesus on January 6 during the 2nd century comes from Clement of Alexandria, but there is no further mention of such a feast until 361, when Emperor Julian attended a feast on January 6 that year.[18] In the Christian tradition, the Christmas season is a period beginning on Christmas Day (December 25). In some churches (e.g., the Lutheran Churches and the Anglican Communion), the season continues through Twelfth Night, the day before the Epiphany, which is celebrated either on January 6 or on the Sunday between January 2 and 8. In other churches (e.g., the Roman Catholic Church), it continues until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which falls on the Sunday following the Epiphany, or on the Monday following the Epiphany if the Epiphany is moved to January 7 or 8. If the Epiphany is kept on January 6, the Church of England's use of the term Christmas season corresponds to the Twelve Days of Christmas, and ends on Twelfth Night. This short Christmas season is preceded by Advent, which begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, coinciding with the majority of the commercialized Christmas and holiday season. The Anglican Communion follows the Christmas season with an Epiphany season lasting until Candlemas (February 2), which is traditionally the 40th day of the Christmas–Epiphany season;[19] meanwhile, in the Lutheran Churches and the Methodist Churches, Epiphanytide lasts until the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday.[20] Commercialisation and broadened scope The Pew Research Center found that as of 2014, 72% of Americans support the presence of Christian Christmas decorations, such as the nativity scene, on government property; of that 72%, "survey data finds that a plurality (44%) of Americans say Christian symbols, such as nativity scenes, should be allowed on government property even if they are not accompanied by symbols from other faiths."[21] Six in ten Americans attend church services during Christmastime, and "among those who don't attend church at Christmastime, a majority (57%) say they would likely attend if someone they knew invited them."[22] In the United States, the holiday season "is generally considered to begin with the day after Thanksgiving and end after New Year's Day". According to Axelrad, the season in the United States encompasses at least Christmas and New Year's Day, and also includes Saint Nicholas Day. The U.S. Fire Administration[23] defines the "winter holiday season" as the period from December 1 to January 7. According to Chen et al.,[24] in China, the Christmas and holiday season "is generally considered to begin with the winter solstice and end after the Lantern Festival". In some stores and shopping malls, Christmas merchandise is advertised beginning after Halloween or even earlier in late October, alongside Halloween items. In the UK and Ireland, Christmas food generally appears on supermarket shelves as early as September or even August, while the Christmas shopping season itself starts from mid-November, when the high street Christmas lights are switched on.[25][26] Secular icons and symbols, such as Santa Claus, the Nutcracker, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman, are on display in addition to Christian displays of the nativity. Public holiday celebrations and observances similarly range from midnight mass to Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, church services, decorations, traditions, festivals, outdoor markets, feasts, social gatherings and the singing of carols. The precise definition of feasts and festival days that are encompassed by the Christmas and holiday season has become controversial in the United States over recent decades. While in other countries the only holidays included in the "season" are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, St. Stephen's Day/Boxing Day, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and Epiphany, in recent times, this term in the U.S. began to expand to include Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.[27] The expansion of the holiday season in the U.S. to encompass Thanksgiving is believed to have begun in the 1920s, when in major department stores Macy's and Gimbels launched competing Thanksgiving Day parades to promote Christmas sales.[28] Due to the phenomenon of Christmas creep and the informal inclusion of Thanksgiving, the Christmas and holiday season has begun to extend earlier into the year, overlapping Veterans/Remembrance/Armistice Day, Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night. The exchange of gifts is central to the Christmas and holiday season, and the season thus also incorporates a "holiday shopping season". This comprises a peak time for the retail sector at the start of the holiday season (the "Christmas shopping season") and a period of sales at the end of the season, the "January sales". Although once dedicated mostly to white sales and clearance sales, the January sales now comprise both winter close-out sales and sales comprising the redemption of gift cards given as presents.[29][30] Young-Bean Song, director of analytics at the Atlas Institute in Seattle, states that it is a "myth that the holiday shopping season starts with Thanksgiving and ends with Christmas. January is a key part of the holiday season." stating that for the U.S. e-commerce sector January sales volumes matched December sales volumes in the 2004–2005 Christmas and holiday season.[31] Many people find this time particularly stressful.[32] As a remedy, and as a return to what they perceive as the root of Christmas, some practice alternative giving. North America In the United States, the holiday season is a particularly important time for retail shopping, with shoppers spending more than $600 billion during the 2013 holiday season, averaging about $767 per person. During the 2014 holiday shopping season, retail sales in the United States increased to a total of over $616 billion, and in 2015, retail sales in the United States increased to a total of over $630 billion, up from 2014's $616 billion. The average US holiday shopper spent on average $805. More than half of it was spent on family shopping.[33] It is traditionally considered to commence on the day after American Thanksgiving, a Friday colloquially known as either Black Friday or Green Friday. This is widely reputed to be the busiest shopping day of the entire calendar year. However, in 2004 the VISA credit card organization reported that over the previous several years VISA credit card spending had in fact been 8 to 19 percent higher on the last Saturday before Christmas Day (i.e., Super Saturday) than on Black Friday.[34] A survey conducted in 2005 by GfK NOP discovered that "Americans aren't as drawn to Black Friday as many retailers may think", with only 17 percent of those polled saying that they will begin holiday shopping immediately after Thanksgiving, 13 percent saying that they plan to finish their shopping before November 24 and 10 percent waiting until the last day before performing their holiday gift shopping....Merry Christmas and Happy Christmas "Merry Christmas", "Happy Christmas", and "Merry Xmas" redirect here. For other uses, see Merry Christmas (disambiguation) and Happy Christmas (disambiguation). For the 2015 short film, see Merry Xmas (film). The greetings and farewells "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Christmas" are traditionally used in English-speaking countries, starting a few weeks before December 25 each year. Variations are: "Merry Christmas", the traditional English greeting, composed of merry (jolly, happy) and Christmas (Old English: Cristes mæsse, for Christ's Mass). "Happy Christmas", an equivalent greeting used in Great Britain and Ireland. "Merry Xmas", with the "X" replacing "Christ" (see Xmas) is sometimes used in writing, but very rarely in speech. This is in line with the traditional use of the Greek letter chi (uppercase Χ, lowercase χ), the initial letter of the word Χριστός (Christ), to refer to Christ. A Christmas cake with a "Merry Christmas" greeting These greetings and their equivalents in other languages are popular not only in countries with large Christian populations, but also in the largely non-Christian nations of China and Japan, where Christmas is celebrated primarily due to cultural influences of predominantly Christian countries. They have somewhat decreased in popularity in the United States and Canada in recent decades, but polls in 2005 indicated that they remained more popular than "happy holidays" or other alternatives.[63] History of the phrase "Merry," derived from the Old English myrige, originally meant merely "pleasant, agreeable" rather than joyous or jolly (as in the phrase "merry month of May").[64] Christmas has been celebrated since at least the 4th century AD, the first known usage of any Christmas greeting dates was in 1534.[65] "Merry Christmas and a happy new year" (thus incorporating two greetings) was in an informal letter written by an English admiral in 1699. The same phrase is contained in the title of the English carol "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," and also appears in the first commercial Christmas card, produced by Henry Cole in England in 1843.[66] Also in 1843, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol was published, during the mid Victorian revival of the holiday. The word "merry" was then beginning to take on its current meaning of "jovial, cheerful, jolly and outgoing."[64] "Merry Christmas" in this new context figured prominently in A Christmas Carol. The cynical Ebenezer Scrooge rudely deflects the friendly greeting: "If I could work my will … every idiot who goes about with 'merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding."[67] After the visit from the ghosts of Christmas effects his transformation, Scrooge exclaims; "I am as merry as a school-boy. A merry Christmas to everybody!" and heartily exchanges the wish to all he meets.[68] The instant popularity of A Christmas Carol, the Victorian era Christmas traditions it typifies, and the term's new meaning appearing in the book popularized the phrase "Merry Christmas".[69][70] The alternative "Happy Christmas" gained usage in the late 19th century, and in the UK and Ireland is a common spoken greeting, along with "Merry Christmas." One reason may be the Victorian middle-class influence in attempting to separate wholesome celebration of the Christmas season from public insobriety and associated asocial behaviour, at a time when merry also meant "intoxicated" – Queen Elizabeth II is said to have preferred "Happy Christmas" for this reason.[64] In her annual Christmas messages to the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth used "Happy Christmas" far more often than "Merry Christmas."[71] The latter was used only four times during her reign: in 1962, 1967, 1970 and 1999;[72] "Happy Christmas" was used on almost every broadcast since 1956. One year included both greetings,[73] and "blessed Christmas" was used in 1954 and 2007.[74] In the American poet Clement Moore's A Visit from St. Nicholas (1823), the final line, originally written as "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night", has been changed in many later editions to "Merry Christmas to all," perhaps indicating the relative popularity of the phrases in the US. Happy holidays "Happy Holidays" redirects here. For other meanings of "Happy Holidays", see Happy Holidays (disambiguation). In North America, "happy holidays" has, along with the similarly generalized "season's greetings", become a common seasonal expression, both spoken as a personal greeting and used in advertisem*nts, on greeting cards, and in commercial and public spaces such as retail businesses, public schools, and government agencies. Its use is generally confined to the period between American Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.[citation needed] The phrase has been used as a Christmas greeting in the United States for more than 100 years.[75] The increasing usage of "happy holidays" has been the subject of some controversy in the United States. Advocates claim that "happy holidays" is an inclusive greeting that is not intended as an attack on Christianity or other religions, but is rather a response to what they say is the reality of a growing non-Christian population. Opponents of the greeting generally claim it is a secular neologism intended to de-emphasize Christmas or even supplant it entirely. "Happy holidays" has been variously characterized by critics as politically correct, materialistic, consumerist, atheistic, indifferentist, agnostic, anti-theist, anti-Christian, or even a covert form of Christian cultural imperialism.[76] The phrase has been associated with a larger cultural clash dubbed by some commentators as the "War on Christmas".[75][77] The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, has stated the uproar is based on "stories that only sometimes even contain a grain of truth and often are completely false."[75] Season's greetings "Season's Greetings" redirects here. For other meanings of "Season's Greetings", see Season's Greetings (disambiguation). "Season's greetings" is a greeting more commonly used as a motto on winter season greeting cards, and in commercial advertisem*nts, than as a spoken phrase. In addition to "Merry Christmas", Victorian Christmas cards bore a variety of salutations, including "compliments of the season" and "Christmas greetings." By the late 19th century, "with the season's greetings" or simply "the season's greetings" began appearing. By the 1920s it had been shortened to "season's greetings,"[78] and has been a greeting card fixture ever since. Several White House Christmas cards, including U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1955 card, have featured the phrase. According to a survey by the Canadian Toy Association, peak sales in the toy industry occur in the Christmas and holiday season, but this peak has been occurring later and later in the season every year.[36] In 2005, the kick-off to the Christmas and holiday season for online shopping, the first Monday after US Thanksgiving, was named Cyber Monday. Although it was a peak, that was not the busiest online shopping day of that year. The busiest online shopping days were December 12 and 13, almost two weeks later; the second Monday in December has since become known as Green Monday. Another notable day is Free Shipping Day, a promotional day that serves as the last day in which a person can order a good online and have it arrive via standard shipping (the price of which the sender pays) prior to Christmas Eve; this day is usually on or near December 16.[37] Four of the largest 11 online shopping days in 2005 were December 11 to 16, with an increase of 12 percent over 2004 figures.[38] In 2011, Cyber Monday was slightly busier than Green Monday and Free Shipping Day, although all three days registered sales of over US$1 billion, and all three days registered gains ranging from 14 to 22 percent over the previous year.[37] Analysts had predicted the peak on December 12, noting that Mondays are the most popular days for online shopping during the holiday shopping season, in contrast to the middle of the week during the rest of the year. They attribute this to people "shopping in stores and malls on the weekends, and ... extending that shopping experience when they get into work on Monday" by "looking for deals ... comparison shopping and ... finding items that were out of stock in the stores".[31] In 2006, the average US household was expected to spend about $1,700 on Christmas and holiday spendings.[39] Retail strategists such as ICSC Research[40] observed in 2005 that 15 percent of holiday expenditures were in the form of gift certificates, a percentage that was rising. So they recommended that retailers manage their inventories for the entire holiday shopping season, with a leaner inventory at the start and new winter merchandise for the January sales. Michael P. Niemira, chief economist and director of research for the Shopping Center Council, stated that he expected gift certificate usage to be between US$30billion and US$40billion in the 2006–2007 holiday shopping season. On the basis of the growing popularity of gift certificates, he stated that "To get a true picture of holiday sales, one may consider measuring October, November, December and January sales combined as opposed to just November and December sales.", because with "a hefty amount of that spending not hitting the books until January, extending the length of the season makes sense".[41] According to the Deloitte 2007 Holiday Survey,[42] for the fourth straight year, gift cards were expected to be the top gift purchase in 2007, with more than two-thirds (69 percent) of consumers surveyed planning to buy them, compared with 66 percent in 2006. In addition, holiday shoppers planned to buy even more cards that year: an average of 5.5 cards, compared with the 4.6 cards they planned to buy the previous year. One in six consumers (16 percent) planned to buy 10 or more cards, compared with 11 percent the previous year. Consumers also spent more in total on gift cards and more per card: $36.25 per card on average compared with $30.22 last year. Gift cards continued to grow in acceptance: Almost four in 10 consumers surveyed (39 percent) would rather get a gift card than merchandise, an increase from the previous year's 35 percent. Also, resistance to giving gift cards continued to decline: 19 percent said they would not like to give gift cards because they're too impersonal (down from 22 percent last year). Consumers said that the cards are popular gifts for adults, teens and children alike, and almost half (46 percent) intend to buy them for immediate family; however, they are hesitant to buy them for spouses or significant others, with only 14 percent saying they plan to buy them for those recipients. Some stores in Canada hold Boxing Week sales (before the end of the year) for income tax purposes. Christmas creep Main article: Christmas creep What has become known as "Christmas creep" refers to a merchandising phenomenon in which merchants and retailers exploit the commercialized status of Christmas by moving up the start of the holiday shopping season.[43] The term was first used in the mid-1980s,[44] and is associated with a desire of merchants to take advantage of particularly heavy Christmas-related shopping well before Black Friday in the United States and before Halloween in Canada. The term is not used in the UK and Ireland, where retailers call Christmas the "golden quarter", that is, the three months of October through December is the quarter of the year in which the retail industry hopes to make the most profit." (wikipedia.org) "Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25[a] as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.[2][3][4] A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night.[5] Christmas Day is a public holiday in many countries,[6][7][8] is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians,[9] as well as culturally by many non-Christians,[1][10] and forms an integral part of the holiday season organized around it. The traditional Christmas narrative recounted in the New Testament, known as the Nativity of Jesus, says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in accordance with messianic prophecies.[11] When Joseph and Mary arrived in the city, the inn had no room and so they were offered a stable where the Christ Child was soon born, with angels proclaiming this news to shepherds who then spread the word.[12] There are different hypotheses regarding the date of Jesus' birth and in the early fourth century, the church fixed the date as December 25.[b][13][14][15] This corresponds to the traditional date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar.[16] It is exactly nine months after Annunciation on March 25, also the date of the spring equinox.[17] Most Christians celebrate on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, which has been adopted almost universally in the civil calendars used in countries throughout the world. However, part of the Eastern Christian Churches celebrate Christmas on December 25 of the older Julian calendar, which currently corresponds to January 7 in the Gregorian calendar. For Christians, believing that God came into the world in the form of man to atone for the sins of humanity, rather than knowing Jesus' exact birth date, is considered to be the primary purpose in celebrating Christmas.[18][19][20] The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins.[21][22] Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving; completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreath; Christmas music and caroling; viewing a Nativity play; an exchange of Christmas cards; church services; a special meal; and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly. In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and the Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore.[23] Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. Over the past few centuries, Christmas has had a steadily growing economic effect in many regions of the world. Etymology The English word "Christmas" is a shortened form of "Christ's Mass". The word is recorded as Crīstesmæsse in 1038 and Cristes-messe in 1131.[24] Crīst (genitive Crīstes) is from Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός), a translation of Hebrew Māšîaḥ (מָשִׁיחַ), "Messiah", meaning "anointed";[25][26] and mæsse is from Latin missa, the celebration of the Eucharist.[27] The form Christenmas was also used during some periods, but is now considered archaic and dialectal.[28] The term derives from Middle English Cristenmasse, meaning "Christian mass".[29] Xmas is an abbreviation of Christmas found particularly in print, based on the initial letter chi (Χ) in Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός) ("Christ"), although some style guides discourage its use.[30] This abbreviation has precedent in Middle English Χρ̄es masse (where "Χρ̄" is an abbreviation for Χριστός).[29] Other names In addition to "Christmas", the holiday has had various other English names throughout its history. The Anglo-Saxons referred to the feast as "midwinter",[31][32] or, more rarely, as Nātiuiteð (from Latin nātīvitās below).[31][33] "Nativity", meaning "birth", is from Latin nātīvitās.[34] In Old English, Gēola (Yule) referred to the period corresponding to December and January, which was eventually equated with Christian Christmas.[35] "Noel" (also "Nowel" or "Nowell", as in "The First Nowell") entered English in the late 14th century and is from the Old French noël or naël, itself ultimately from the Latin nātālis (diēs) meaning "birth (day)".[36] Koleda is the traditional Slavic name for Christmas and the period from Christmas to Epiphany or, more generally, to Slavic Christmas-related rituals, some dating to pre-Christian times.[37] Nativity Main article: Nativity of Jesus The gospels of Luke and Matthew describe Jesus as being born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary. In the gospel of Luke, Joseph and Mary traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, and Jesus was born there and placed in a manger.[38] Angels proclaimed him a savior for all people, and shepherds came to adore him. The gospel of Matthew adds that the magi followed a star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Jesus, born the king of the Jews. King Herod ordered the massacre of all the boys less than two years old in Bethlehem, but the family fled to Egypt and later returned to Nazareth.[39] History The nativity sequences included in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke prompted early Christian writers to suggest various dates for the anniversary.[40] In the 2nd century, the "earliest church records" indicate that "Christians were remembering and celebrating the birth of the Lord", an "observance [that] sprang up organically from the authentic devotion of ordinary believers".[41] The first recorded Christmas celebration was in Rome on December 25, AD 336.[42][43] The Chronograph of 354 records that a Christmas celebration took place in Rome on that date (eight days before the calends of January).[44] This section was written in AD 336, during the brief pontificate of Pope Mark.[45] Though Christmas did not appear on the lists of festivals given by the early Christian writers Irenaeus and Tertullian,[24] the early Church Fathers John Chrysostom, Augustine of Hippo, and Jerome attested to December 25 as the date of Christmas in the late 4th century.[41] In the East, the birth of Jesus was celebrated in connection with the Epiphany on January 6.[46][47] This holiday was not primarily about the nativity, but rather the baptism of Jesus.[48] Christmas was promoted in the East as part of the revival of Orthodox Christianity that followed the death of the pro-Arian Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. The feast was introduced in Constantinople in 379, in Antioch by John Chrysostom towards the end of the fourth century,[47] probably in 388, and in Alexandria in the following century.[49] The presence of hymns for the feast in the Georgian Iadgari demonstrates that it was celebrated in Jerusalem by the 6th century at the latest....n the 3rd century, the Date of birth of Jesus was the subject of great interest. Around AD 200, Clement of Alexandria wrote: "There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord's birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20] ... Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21]".[52] Various factors contributed to the choice of December 25. It was the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar;[16][53] though actually it occurred on the 23rd or 24th at that time.[54] Most early Christians lived in the Roman Empire. The early Church linked Jesus Christ to the Sun and considered him to be the "Sun of righteousness" prophesied by Malachi.[40][55] The early Christian writer Lactantius wrote "the east is attached to God because he is the source of light and the illuminator of the world and he makes us rise toward eternal life". It is for this reason that the early Christians established the direction of prayer as being eastward, towards the rising sun.[41] A late fourth-century sermon by Saint Augustine explains why the winter solstice was a fitting day to celebrate Christ's birth: "Hence it is that He was born on the day which is the shortest in our earthly reckoning and from which subsequent days begin to increase in length. He, therefore, who bent low and lifted us up chose the shortest day, yet the one whence light begins to increase".[56] Steven Hijmans of the University of Alberta wrote: "It is cosmic symbolism ... which inspired the Church leadership in Rome to elect the southern solstice, December 25, as the birthday of Christ, and the northern solstice as that of John the Baptist, supplemented by the equinoxes as their respective dates of conception".[57] In the 17th century, Isaac Newton, who, coincidentally, was born on December 25, argued that the date of Christmas was chosen to correspond with the solstice.[58] December 25 was also nine months after March 25, the date linked to Jesus's conception (celebrated as the Feast of the Annunciation) and the date of the spring equinox on the Roman calendar.[17] Various theories have been offered as to the choice of date.[41][59] History of religions hypothesis See also: Saturnalia Related to the winter solstice theory above, the "History of Religions" hypothesis suggests that the Church chose December 25 to appropriate the Roman festival of the sun god Sol Invictus (Unconquered Sun) on the winter solstice.[60] This cult was established by Aurelian in AD 274. A Christian treatise attributed to John Chrysostom and dating to the early fourth century AD says: "Our Lord, too, is born in the month of December ... the eight before the calends of January [25 December] ... But they [the Romans] call it the 'Birthday of the Unconquered'. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord...? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice".[24] The theory is mentioned in an annotation of uncertain date added to a manuscript by 12th-century Syrian bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi. The scribe wrote: "It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries, the Christians also took part. Accordingly, when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day".[61] In 1743, German Protestant Paul Ernst Jablonski argued Christmas was placed on December 25 to correspond with the Roman winter solstice holiday Dies Natalis Solis Invicti and was therefore a "paganization" that debased the true church.[62] German scholar Hermann Usener[63] and others[24] also argued that it was chosen to coincide with Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. Steven Hijmans of the University of Alberta argues that "While they [Christians] were aware that pagans called this day the 'birthday' of Sol Invictus, this did not concern them and it did not play any role in their choice of date for Christmas".[57] Thomas Talley argues that the Emperor Aurelian instituted the holiday of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti partly to give a pagan significance to a date he argues was already important for Christians.[59] The Church of England Liturgical Commission says this hypothesis has been challenged.[64] Hijmans commented that "while the winter solstice on or around December 25 was well established in the Roman imperial calendar, there is no evidence that a religious celebration of Sol on that day antedated the celebration of Christmas".[65] "Thomas Talley has shown that [...] pagan Rome ironically did not celebrate the winter solstice nor any of the other quarter-tense days, as one might expect".[66] The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought remarks that the "'calculations' hypothesis potentially establishes 25 December as a Christian festival before Aurelian's decree, which, when promulgated, might have provided for the Christian feast both opportunity and challenge".[67] Calculation hypothesis Further information: Chronology of Jesus The "calculation hypothesis" suggests that Christmas was calculated as nine months after the Feast of the Annunciation (or Incarnation) on March 25, which celebrated the conception of Jesus and was the Roman date of the spring equinox.[60][68] The calculation hypothesis was proposed by French writer Louis duch*esne in 1889.[69][70] The Bible in Luke 1:26 records the annunciation to Mary to be at the time when Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, was in her sixth month of pregnancy (cf. Nativity of Saint John the Baptist).[71][68] Early Christians celebrated the life of Jesus on a date considered equivalent to the 14th of Nisan (Passover), a feast referred to as the Quartodeciman (Latin for "fourteenth"). All the major events of Christ's life, especially the Passion, were celebrated on this date. Tertullian (d. AD 220), who lived in Latin-speaking North Africa, gives the date of the Passion celebration as March 25.[72] It was a traditional Jewish belief that great men were born and died on the same day, so lived a whole number of years, without fractions: Jesus was therefore considered to have been conceived and died on March 25, which was calculated to have coincided with 14 Nisan.[73] A passage in Commentary on the Prophet Daniel (AD 204) by Hippolytus of Rome identifies December 25 as Jesus's birth date. This passage is generally considered a late interpolation. But the manuscript includes another passage, one that is more likely to be authentic, that gives Jesus's death date as March 25.[74] In AD 221, Sextus Julius Africanus gave March 25 as the day of creation and of the conception of Jesus in his universal history. This conclusion was based on solar symbolism, with March 25 the Roman date of the spring equinox. As this implies a birth in December, it is sometimes claimed to be the earliest identification of December 25 as the Nativity. However, Africanus was not such an influential writer that it is likely he determined the date of Christmas.[75] The treatise De solstitia et aequinoctia conceptionis et nativitatis Domini nostri Iesu Christi et Iohannis Baptistae, pseudepigraphically attributed to John Chrysostom and dating to the early fourth century AD,[76][77] also argued that Jesus was conceived and crucified on the same day of the year and calculated this as March 25.[78][79] Susan Roll considers the calculation hypothesis "thoroughly viable", though not certain.[80] Adam C. English, professor of religion at Campbell University, has argued for the veracity of December 25 as Jesus's date of birth.[81] English assumes that Zechariah's ministry in the Temple, as described in Luke 1:5–23, took place on Yom Kippur the year before Jesus's birth; he then traces Luke's narrative through the Annunciation and the birth of John the Baptist to conclude that Jesus was born on December 25.[81] Relation to concurrent celebrations Many popular customs associated with Christmas developed independently of the commemoration of Jesus' birth, with some claiming that certain elements are Christianized and have origins in pre-Christian festivals that were celebrated by pagan populations who were later converted to Christianity; other scholars reject these claims and affirm that Christmas customs largely developed in a Christian context.[82][22] The prevailing atmosphere of Christmas has also continually evolved since the holiday's inception, ranging from a sometimes raucous, drunken, carnival-like state in the Middle Ages,[83] to a tamer family-oriented and children-centered theme introduced in a 19th-century transformation.[84][85] The celebration of Christmas was banned on more than one occasion within certain groups, such as the Puritans and Jehovah's Witnesses (who do not celebrate birthdays in general), due to concerns that it was too unbiblical.[86][87][88] Prior to and through the early Christian centuries, winter festivals were the most popular of the year in many European pagan cultures. Reasons included the fact that less agricultural work needed to be done during the winter, as well as an expectation of better weather as spring approached.[89] Celtic winter herbs such as mistletoe and ivy, and the custom of kissing under a mistletoe, are common in modern Christmas celebrations in the English-speaking countries.[90] The pre-Christian Germanic peoples—including the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse—celebrated a winter festival called Yule, held in the late December to early January period, yielding modern English yule, today used as a synonym for Christmas.[91] In Germanic language-speaking areas, numerous elements of modern Christmas folk custom and iconography may have originated from Yule, including the Yule log, Yule boar, and the Yule goat.[92][91] Often leading a ghostly procession through the sky (the Wild Hunt), the long-bearded god Odin is referred to as "the Yule one" and "Yule father" in Old Norse texts, while other gods are referred to as "Yule beings".[93] On the other hand, as there are no reliable existing references to a Christmas log prior to the 16th century, the burning of the Christmas block may have been an early modern invention by Christians unrelated to the pagan practice.[94] In eastern Europe also, pre-Christian traditions were incorporated into Christmas celebrations there, an example being the Koleda,[95] which shares parallels with the Christmas carol. Post-classical history Christmas played a role in the Arian controversy of the fourth century. After this controversy ran its course, the prominence of the holiday declined for a few centuries. In the Early Middle Ages, Christmas Day was overshadowed by Epiphany, which in western Christianity focused on the visit of the magi. But the medieval calendar was dominated by Christmas-related holidays. The forty days before Christmas became the "forty days of St. Martin" (which began on November 11, the feast of St. Martin of Tours), now known as Advent.[83] In Italy, former Saturnalian traditions were attached to Advent.[83] Around the 12th century, these traditions transferred again to the Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25 – January 5); a time that appears in the liturgical calendars as Christmastide or Twelve Holy Days.[83] In 567, the Council of Tours put in place the season of Christmastide, proclaiming "the twelve days from Christmas to Epiphany as a sacred and festive season, and established the duty of Advent fasting in preparation for the feast."[5][96] This was done in order to solve the "administrative problem for the Roman Empire as it tried to coordinate the solar Julian calendar with the lunar calendars of its provinces in the east."[97][98][99] The prominence of Christmas Day increased gradually after Charlemagne was crowned Emperor on Christmas Day in 800. King Edmund the Martyr was anointed on Christmas in 855 and King William I of England was crowned on Christmas Day 1066. By the High Middle Ages, the holiday had become so prominent that chroniclers routinely noted where various magnates celebrated Christmas. King Richard II of England hosted a Christmas feast in 1377 at which 28 oxen and 300 sheep were eaten.[83] The Yule boar was a common feature of medieval Christmas feasts. Caroling also became popular, and was originally performed by a group of dancers who sang. The group was composed of a lead singer and a ring of dancers that provided the chorus. Various writers of the time condemned caroling as lewd, indicating that the unruly traditions of Saturnalia and Yule may have continued in this form.[83] "Misrule"—drunkenness, promiscuity, gambling—was also an important aspect of the festival. In England, gifts were exchanged on New Year's Day, and there was special Christmas ale.[83] Christmas during the Middle Ages was a public festival that incorporated ivy, holly, and other evergreens.[100] Christmas gift-giving during the Middle Ages was usually between people with legal relationships, such as tenant and landlord.[100] The annual indulgence in eating, dancing, singing, sporting, and card playing escalated in England, and by the 17th century the Christmas season featured lavish dinners, elaborate masques, and pageants. In 1607, King James I insisted that a play be acted on Christmas night and that the court indulge in games.[101] It was during the Reformation in 16th–17th-century Europe that many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve. Modern history 17th and 18th centuries Following the Protestant Reformation, many of the new denominations, including the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church, continued to celebrate Christmas.[103] In 1629, the Anglican poet John Milton penned On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, a poem that has since been read by many during Christmastide.[104][105] Donald Heinz, a professor at California State University, states that Martin Luther "inaugurated a period in which Germany would produce a unique culture of Christmas, much copied in North America."[106] Among the congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church, Christmas was celebrated as one of the principal evangelical feasts.[107] In Puritan England, Christmas was banned, with Puritans considering it a Catholic invention and also associating the day with drunkenness and other misbehaviour.[87] It was restored as a legal holiday in England in 1660 when Puritan legislation was declared null and void, but it remained disreputable in the minds of some.[108] However, in 17th century England, some groups such as the Puritans strongly condemned the celebration of Christmas, considering it a Catholic invention and the "trappings of popery" or the "rags of the Beast".[87] In contrast, the established Anglican Church "pressed for a more elaborate observance of feasts, penitential seasons, and saints' days. The calendar reform became a major point of tension between the Anglican party and the Puritan party."[109] The Catholic Church also responded, promoting the festival in a more religiously oriented form. King Charles I of England directed his noblemen and gentry to return to their landed estates in midwinter to keep up their old-style Christmas generosity.[101] Following the Parliamentarian victory over Charles I during the English Civil War, England's Puritan rulers banned Christmas in 1647.[87][110] Protests followed as pro-Christmas rioting broke out in several cities and for weeks Canterbury was controlled by the rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and shouted royalist slogans.[87] Football, among the sports the Puritans banned on a Sunday, was also used as a rebellious force: when Puritans outlawed Christmas in England in December 1647 the crowd brought out footballs as a symbol of festive misrule.[111] The book, The Vindication of Christmas (London, 1652), argued against the Puritans, and makes note of Old English Christmas traditions, dinner, roast apples on the fire, card playing, dances with "plow-boys" and "maidservants", old Father Christmas and carol singing.[112] During the ban, semi-clandestine religious services marking Christ's birth continued to be held, and people sang carols in secret.[108] The Restoration of King Charles II in 1660 ended the ban, and Christmas was again freely celebrated in England.[108] Many Calvinist clergymen disapproved of Christmas celebration. As such, in Scotland, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland discouraged the observance of Christmas, and though James VI commanded its celebration in 1618, attendance at church was scant.[113] The Parliament of Scotland officially abolished the observance of Christmas in 1640, claiming that the church had been "purged of all superstitious observation of days".[114] Whereas in England, Wales and Ireland Christmas Day is a common law holiday, having been a customary holiday since time immemorial, it was not until 1871 that it was designated a bank holiday in Scotland.[115] Following the Restoration of Charles II, Poor Robin's Almanack contained the lines: "Now thanks to God for Charles return, / Whose absence made old Christmas mourn. / For then we scarcely did it know, / Whether it Christmas were or no."[116] The diary of James Woodforde, from the latter half of the 18th century, details the observance of Christmas and celebrations associated with the season over a number of years.[117] As in England, Puritans in Colonial America staunchly opposed the observation of Christmas.[88] The Pilgrims of New England pointedly spent their first December 25 in the New World working normally.[88] Puritans such as Cotton Mather condemned Christmas both because scripture did not mention its observance and because Christmas celebrations of the day often involved boisterous behavior.[118][119] Many non-Puritans in New England deplored the loss of the holidays enjoyed by the laboring classes in England.[120] Christmas observance was outlawed in Boston in 1659.[88] The ban on Christmas observance was revoked in 1681 by English governor Edmund Andros, but it was not until the mid-19th century that celebrating Christmas became fashionable in the Boston region.[121] At the same time, Christian residents of Virginia and New York observed the holiday freely. Pennsylvania Dutch settlers, predominantly Moravian settlers of Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Lititz in Pennsylvania and the Wachovia settlements in North Carolina, were enthusiastic celebrators of Christmas. The Moravians in Bethlehem had the first Christmas trees in America as well as the first Nativity Scenes.[122] Christmas fell out of favor in the United States after the American Revolution, when it was considered an English custom.[123] George Washington attacked Hessian (German) mercenaries on the day after Christmas during the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776, Christmas being much more popular in Germany than in America at this time. With the atheistic Cult of Reason in power during the era of Revolutionary France, Christian Christmas religious services were banned and the three kings cake was renamed the "equality cake" under anticlerical government policies.[124][125] 19th century In the early 19th century, Christmas festivities and services became widespread with the rise of the Oxford Movement in the Church of England that emphasized the centrality of Christmas in Christianity and charity to the poor,[126] along with Washington Irving, Charles Dickens, and other authors emphasizing family, children, kind-heartedness, gift-giving, and Santa Claus (for Irving),[126] or Father Christmas (for Dickens).[127] In the early-19th century, writers imagined Tudor Christmas as a time of heartfelt celebration. In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol, which helped revive the "spirit" of Christmas and seasonal merriment.[84][85] Its instant popularity played a major role in portraying Christmas as a holiday emphasizing family, goodwill, and compassion.[126] Dickens sought to construct Christmas as a family-centered festival of generosity, linking "worship and feasting, within a context of social reconciliation."[128] Superimposing his humanitarian vision of the holiday, in what has been termed "Carol Philosophy",[129] Dickens influenced many aspects of Christmas that are celebrated today in Western culture, such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games, and a festive generosity of spirit.[130] A prominent phrase from the tale, "Merry Christmas", was popularized following the appearance of the story.[131] This coincided with the appearance of the Oxford Movement and the growth of Anglo-Catholicism, which led a revival in traditional rituals and religious observances.[132] The term Scrooge became a synonym for miser, with "Bah! Humbug!" dismissive of the festive spirit.[133] In 1843, the first commercial Christmas card was produced by Sir Henry Cole.[134] The revival of the Christmas Carol began with William Sandys's Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833), with the first appearance in print of "The First Noel", "I Saw Three Ships", "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen", popularized in Dickens' A Christmas Carol. In Britain, the Christmas tree was introduced in the early 19th century by the German-born Queen Charlotte. In 1832, the future Queen Victoria wrote about her delight at having a Christmas tree, hung with lights, ornaments, and presents placed round it.[135] After her marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert, by 1841 the custom became more widespread throughout Britain.[136] An image of the British royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle created a sensation when it was published in the Illustrated London News in 1848. A modified version of this image was published in Godey's Lady's Book, Philadelphia in 1850.[137][138] By the 1870s, putting up a Christmas tree had become common in America.[137] In America, interest in Christmas had been revived in the 1820s by several short stories by Washington Irving which appear in his The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. and "Old Christmas". Irving's stories depicted harmonious warm-hearted English Christmas festivities he experienced while staying in Aston Hall, Birmingham, England, that had largely been abandoned,[139] and he used the tract Vindication of Christmas (1652) of Old English Christmas traditions, that he had transcribed into his journal as a format for his stories.[101] In 1822, Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem A Visit From St. Nicholas (popularly known by its first line: Twas the Night Before Christmas).[140] The poem helped popularize the tradition of exchanging gifts, and seasonal Christmas shopping began to assume economic importance.[141] This also started the cultural conflict between the holiday's spiritual significance and its associated commercialism that some see as corrupting the holiday. In her 1850 book The First Christmas in New England, Harriet Beecher Stowe includes a character who complains that the true meaning of Christmas was lost in a shopping spree.[142] While the celebration of Christmas was not yet customary in some regions in the U.S., Henry Wadsworth Longfellow detected "a transition state about Christmas here in New England" in 1856. "The old puritan feeling prevents it from being a cheerful, hearty holiday; though every year makes it more so."[143] In Reading, Pennsylvania, a newspaper remarked in 1861, "Even our presbyterian friends who have hitherto steadfastly ignored Christmas—threw open their church doors and assembled in force to celebrate the anniversary of the Savior's birth."[143] The First Congregational Church of Rockford, Illinois, "although of genuine Puritan stock", was 'preparing for a grand Christmas jubilee', a news correspondent reported in 1864.[143] By 1860, fourteen states including several from New England had adopted Christmas as a legal holiday.[144] In 1875, Louis Prang introduced the Christmas card to Americans. He has been called the "father of the American Christmas card".[145] On June 28, 1870, Christmas was formally declared a United States federal holiday.[146] 20th century During the First World War and particularly (but not exclusively)[147] in 1914, a series of informal truces took place for Christmas between opposing armies. The truces, which were organised spontaneously by fighting men, ranged from promises not to shoot (shouted at a distance in order to ease the pressure of war for the day) to friendly socializing, gift giving and even sport between enemies.[148] These incidents became a well known and semi-mythologised part of popular memory.[149] They have been described as a symbol of common humanity even in the darkest of situations and used to demonstrate to children the ideals of Christmas.[150] Up to the 1950s in the UK, many Christmas customs were restricted to the upper classes and better-off families. The mass of the population had not adopted many of the Christmas rituals that later became general. The Christmas tree was rare. Christmas dinner might be beef or goose – certainly not turkey. In their stockings children might get an apple, orange, and sweets. Full celebration of a family Christmas with all the trimmings only became widespread with increased prosperity from the 1950s.[151] National papers were published on Christmas Day until 1912. Post was still delivered on Christmas Day until 1961. League football matches continued in Scotland until the 1970s while in England they ceased at the end of the 1950s.[152][153] Under the state atheism of the Soviet Union, after its foundation in 1917, Christmas celebrations—along with other Christian holidays—were prohibited in public.[154] During the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, the League of Militant Atheists encouraged school pupils to campaign against Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, as well as other Christian holidays, including Easter; the League established an antireligious holiday to be the 31st of each month as a replacement.[155] At the height of this persecution, in 1929, on Christmas Day, children in Moscow were encouraged to spit on crucifixes as a protest against the holiday.[156] Instead, the importance of the holiday and all its trappings, such as the Christmas tree and gift-giving, was transferred to the New Year.[157] It was not until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 that the persecution ended and Orthodox Christmas became a state holiday again for the first time in Russia after seven decades.[158] European History Professor Joseph Perry wrote that likewise, in Nazi Germany, "because Nazi ideologues saw organized religion as an enemy of the totalitarian state, propagandists sought to deemphasize—or eliminate altogether—the Christian aspects of the holiday" and that "Propagandists tirelessly promoted numerous Nazified Christmas songs, which replaced Christian themes with the regime's racial ideologies."[159] As Christmas celebrations began to be held around the world even outside traditional Christian cultures in the 20th century, some Muslim-majority countries subsequently banned the practice of Christmas, claiming it undermines Islam. Observance and traditions Further information: Christmas traditions and Observance of Christmas by country Christmas Day is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in countries around the world, including many whose populations are mostly non-Christian. In some non-Christian areas, periods of former colonial rule introduced the celebration (e.g. Hong Kong); in others, Christian minorities or foreign cultural influences have led populations to observe the holiday. Countries such as Japan, where Christmas is popular despite there being only a small number of Christians, have adopted many of the cultural aspects of Christmas, such as gift-giving, decorations, and Christmas trees. A similar example is in Turkey, being Muslim-majority and with a small number of Christians, where Christmas trees and decorations tend to line public streets during the festival.[162] Among countries with a strong Christian tradition, a variety of Christmas celebrations have developed that incorporate regional and local cultures. Church attendance Christmas Day (inclusive of its vigil, Christmas Eve), is a Festival in the Lutheran Churches, a solemnity in the Roman Catholic Church, and a Principal Feast of the Anglican Communion. Other Christian denominations do not rank their feast days but nevertheless place importance on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, as with other Christian feasts like Easter, Ascension Day, and Pentecost.[163] As such, for Christians, attending a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day church service plays an important part in the recognition of the Christmas season. Christmas, along with Easter, is the period of highest annual church attendance. A 2010 survey by LifeWay Christian Resources found that six in ten Americans attend church services during this time.[164] In the United Kingdom, the Church of England reported an estimated attendance of 2.5 million people at Christmas services in 2015.[165] Decorations Main article: Christmas decoration Further information: Hanging of the greens Nativity scenes are known from 10th-century Rome. They were popularised by Saint Francis of Assisi from 1223, quickly spreading across Europe.[166] Different types of decorations developed across the Christian world, dependent on local tradition and available resources, and can vary from simple representations of the crib to far more elaborate sets – renowned manger scene traditions include the colourful Kraków szopka in Poland,[167] which imitate Kraków's historical buildings as settings, the elaborate Italian presepi (Neapolitan [it], Genoese [it] and Bolognese [it]),[168][169][170][171] or the Provençal crèches in southern France, using hand-painted terracotta figurines called santons.[172] In certain parts of the world, notably Sicily, living nativity scenes following the tradition of Saint Francis are a popular alternative to static crèches.[173][174][175] The first commercially produced decorations appeared in Germany in the 1860s, inspired by paper chains made by children.[176] In countries where a representation of the Nativity scene is very popular, people are encouraged to compete and create the most original or realistic ones. Within some families, the pieces used to make the representation are considered a valuable family heirloom.[177] The traditional colors of Christmas decorations are red, green, and gold.[178][179] Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion; green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter; and gold is the first color associated with Christmas, as one of the three gifts of the Magi, symbolizing royalty.[180] The Christmas tree was first used by German Lutherans in the 16th century, with records indicating that a Christmas tree was placed in the Cathedral of Strassburg in 1539, under the leadership of the Protestant Reformer, Martin Bucer.[181][182] In the United States, these "German Lutherans brought the decorated Christmas tree with them; the Moravians put lighted candles on those trees."[183][184] When decorating the Christmas tree, many individuals place a star at the top of the tree symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem, a fact recorded by The School Journal in 1897.[185][186] Professor David Albert Jones of Oxford University writes that in the 19th century, it became popular for people to also use an angel to top the Christmas tree in order to symbolize the angels mentioned in the accounts of the Nativity of Jesus.[187] Additionally, in the context of a Christian celebration of Christmas, the Christmas tree, being evergreen in colour, is symbolic of Christ, who offers eternal life; the candles or lights on the tree represent the Light of the World—Jesus—born in Bethlehem.[188][189] Christian services for family use and public worship have been published for the blessing of a Christmas tree, after it has been erected.[190][191] The Christmas tree is considered by some as Christianisation of pagan tradition and ritual surrounding the Winter Solstice, which included the use of evergreen boughs, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship;[192] according to eighth-century biographer Æddi Stephanus, Saint Boniface (634–709), who was a missionary in Germany, took an ax to an oak tree dedicated to Thor and pointed out a fir tree, which he stated was a more fitting object of reverence because it pointed to heaven and it had a triangular shape, which he said was symbolic of the Trinity.[193] The English language phrase "Christmas tree" is first recorded in 1835[194] and represents an importation from the German language.[192][195][196] On Christmas, the Christ Candle in the center of the Advent wreath is traditionally lit in many church services. Since the 16th century, the poinsettia, a native plant from Mexico, has been associated with Christmas carrying the Christian symbolism of the Star of Bethlehem; in that country it is known in Spanish as the Flower of the Holy Night.[197][198] Other popular holiday plants include holly, mistletoe, red amaryllis, and Christmas cactus.[199] Other traditional decorations include bells, candles, candy canes, stockings, wreaths, and angels. Both the displaying of wreaths and candles in each window are a more traditional Christmas display.[200] The concentric assortment of leaves, usually from an evergreen, make up Christmas wreaths and are designed to prepare Christians for the Advent season. Candles in each window are meant to demonstrate the fact that Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the ultimate light of the world.[201] Christmas lights and banners may be hung along streets, music played from speakers, and Christmas trees placed in prominent places.[202] It is common in many parts of the world for town squares and consumer shopping areas to sponsor and display decorations. Rolls of brightly colored paper with secular or religious Christmas motifs are manufactured for the purpose of wrapping gifts. In some countries, Christmas decorations are traditionally taken down on Twelfth Night. Nativity play Main article: Nativity play Children in Oklahoma reenact a Nativity play For the Christian celebration of Christmas, the viewing of the Nativity play is one of the oldest Christmastime traditions, with the first reenactment of the Nativity of Jesus taking place in A.D. 1223.[204] In that year, Francis of Assisi assembled a Nativity scene outside of his church in Italy and children sung Christmas carols celebrating the birth of Jesus.[204] Each year, this grew larger and people travelled from afar to see Francis' depiction of the Nativity of Jesus that came to feature drama and music.[204] Nativity plays eventually spread throughout all of Europe, where they remain popular. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day church services often came to feature Nativity plays, as did schools and theatres.[204] In France, Germany, Mexico and Spain, Nativity plays are often reenacted outdoors in the streets.[204] Music and carols Main article: Christmas music Christmas carolers in Jersey The earliest extant specifically Christmas hymns appear in fourth-century Rome. Latin hymns such as "Veni redemptor gentium", written by Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, were austere statements of the theological doctrine of the Incarnation in opposition to Arianism. "Corde natus ex Parentis" ("Of the Father's love begotten") by the Spanish poet Prudentius (d. 413) is still sung in some churches today.[205] In the 9th and 10th centuries, the Christmas "Sequence" or "Prose" was introduced in North European monasteries, developing under Bernard of Clairvaux into a sequence of rhymed stanzas. In the 12th century the Parisian monk Adam of St. Victor began to derive music from popular songs, introducing something closer to the traditional Christmas carol. Christmas carols in English appear in a 1426 work of John Awdlay who lists twenty five "caroles of Cristemas", probably sung by groups of 'wassailers', who went from house to house.[206] Child singers in Bucharest, 1841 The songs now known specifically as carols were originally communal folk songs sung during celebrations such as "harvest tide" as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols began to be sung in church. Traditionally, carols have often been based on medieval chord patterns, and it is this that gives them their uniquely characteristic musical sound. Some carols like "Personent hodie", "Good King Wenceslas", and "In dulci jubilo" can be traced directly back to the Middle Ages. They are among the oldest musical compositions still regularly sung. "Adeste Fideles" (O Come all ye faithful) appears in its current form in the mid-18th century. The singing of carols increased in popularity after the Protestant Reformation in the Lutheran areas of Europe, as the Reformer Martin Luther wrote carols and encouraged their use in worship, in addition to spearheading the practice of caroling outside the Mass.[207] The 18th-century English reformer Charles Wesley, an early Methodist divine, understood the importance of music to Christian worship. In addition to setting many psalms to melodies, he wrote texts for at least three Christmas carols. The best known was originally entitled "Hark! How All the Welkin Rings", later renamed "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing".[208] Christmas seasonal songs of a nonreligious nature emerged in the late 18th century. The Welsh melody for "Deck the Halls" dates from 1794, with the lyrics added by Scottish musician Thomas Oliphant in 1862, and the American "Jingle Bells" was copyrighted in 1857. Other popular carols include "The First Noel", "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen", "The Holly and the Ivy", "I Saw Three Ships", "In the Bleak Midwinter", "Joy to the World", "Once in Royal David's City" and "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks".[209] In the 19th and 20th centuries, African American spirituals and songs about Christmas, based in their tradition of spirituals, became more widely known. An increasing number of seasonal holiday songs were commercially produced in the 20th century, including jazz and blues variations. In addition, there was a revival of interest in early music, from groups singing folk music, such as The Revels, to performers of early medieval and classical music. One of the most ubiquitous festive songs is "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", which originates from the West Country of England in the 1930s.[210] Radio has covered Christmas music from variety shows from the 1940s and 1950s, as well as modern-day stations that exclusively play Christmas music from late November through December 25.[211] Hollywood movies have featured new Christmas music, such as "White Christmas" in Holiday Inn and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.[211] Traditional carols have also been included in Hollywood films, such as "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" in It's a Wonderful Life (1946), and "Silent Night" in A Christmas Story.[211] Traditional cuisine Christmas dinner setting A special Christmas family meal is traditionally an important part of the holiday's celebration, and the food that is served varies greatly from country to country. Some regions have special meals for Christmas Eve, such as Sicily, where 12 kinds of fish are served. In the United Kingdom and countries influenced by its traditions, a standard Christmas meal includes turkey, goose or other large bird, gravy, potatoes, vegetables, sometimes bread and cider. Special desserts are also prepared, such as Christmas pudding, mince pies, Christmas cake, Panettone and Yule log cake.[212][213] Traditional Christmas meal in Central Europe is fried carp or other fish.[214] Cards Main article: Christmas card A 1907 Christmas card with Santa and some of his reindeer Christmas cards are illustrated messages of greeting exchanged between friends and family members during the weeks preceding Christmas Day. The traditional greeting reads "wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year", much like that of the first commercial Christmas card, produced by Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843.[215] The custom of sending them has become popular among a wide cross-section of people with the emergence of the modern trend towards exchanging E-cards.[216][217] Christmas cards are purchased in considerable quantities and feature artwork, commercially designed and relevant to the season. The content of the design might relate directly to the Christmas narrative, with depictions of the Nativity of Jesus, or Christian symbols such as the Star of Bethlehem, or a white dove, which can represent both the Holy Spirit and Peace on Earth. Other Christmas cards are more secular and can depict Christmas traditions, mythical figures such as Santa Claus, objects directly associated with Christmas such as candles, holly, and baubles, or a variety of images associated with the season, such as Christmastide activities, snow scenes, and the wildlife of the northern winter.[218] Some prefer cards with a poem, prayer, or Biblical verse; while others distance themselves from religion with an all-inclusive "Season's greetings".[219] Commemorative stamps Main article: Christmas stamp A number of nations have issued commemorative stamps at Christmastide.[220] Postal customers will often use these stamps to mail Christmas cards, and they are popular with philatelists.[221] These stamps are regular postage stamps, unlike Christmas seals, and are valid for postage year-round. They usually go on sale sometime between early October and early December and are printed in considerable quantities. Gift giving Main article: Christmas gift Christmas gifts under a Christmas tree The exchanging of gifts is one of the core aspects of the modern Christmas celebration, making it the most profitable time of year for retailers and businesses throughout the world. On Christmas, people exchange gifts based on the Christian tradition associated with Saint Nicholas,[222] and the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh which were given to the baby Jesus by the Magi.[223][224] The practice of gift giving in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia may have influenced Christian customs, but on the other hand the Christian "core dogma of the Incarnation, however, solidly established the giving and receiving of gifts as the structural principle of that recurrent yet unique event", because it was the Biblical Magi, "together with all their fellow men, who received the gift of God through man's renewed participation in the divine life."[225] However, Thomas J. Talley holds that the Roman Emperor Aurelian placed the alternate festival on December 25 in order to compete with the growing rate of the Christian Church, which had already been celebrating Christmas on that date first.[59] Gift-bearing figures Main article: List of Christmas and winter gift-bringers by country A number of figures are associated with Christmas and the seasonal giving of gifts. Among these are Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus (derived from the Dutch for Saint Nicholas), Père Noël, and the Weihnachtsmann; Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas; the Christkind; Kris Kringle; Joulupukki; tomte/nisse; Babbo Natale; Saint Basil; and Ded Moroz. The Scandinavian tomte (also called nisse) is sometimes depicted as a gnome instead of Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas, known as Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, is considered by many to be the original Santa Claus[226] The best known of these figures today is red-dressed Santa Claus, of diverse origins. The name Santa Claus can be traced back to the Dutch Sinterklaas, which means simply Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was a 4th-century Greek bishop of Myra, a city in the Roman province of Lycia, whose ruins are 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from modern Demre in southwest Turkey.[227][228] Among other saintly attributes, he was noted for the care of children, generosity, and the giving of gifts. His feast day, December 6, came to be celebrated in many countries with the giving of gifts.[102] Saint Nicholas traditionally appeared in bishop's attire, accompanied by helpers, inquiring about the behaviour of children during the past year before deciding whether they deserved a gift or not. By the 13th century, Saint Nicholas was well known in the Netherlands, and the practice of gift-giving in his name spread to other parts of central and southern Europe. At the Reformation in 16th–17th-century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, corrupted in English to Kris Kringle, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve.[102] The modern popular image of Santa Claus, however, was created in the United States, and in particular in New York. The transformation was accomplished with the aid of notable contributors including Washington Irving and the German-American cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840–1902). Following the American Revolutionary War, some of the inhabitants of New York City sought out symbols of the city's non-English past. New York had originally been established as the Dutch colonial town of New Amsterdam and the Dutch Sinterklaas tradition was reinvented as Saint Nicholas.[229] Current tradition in several Latin American countries (such as Venezuela and Colombia) holds that while Santa makes the toys, he then gives them to the Baby Jesus, who is the one who actually delivers them to the children's homes, a reconciliation between traditional religious beliefs and the iconography of Santa Claus imported from the United States. In South Tyrol (Italy), Austria, Czech Republic, Southern Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, and Switzerland, the Christkind (Ježíšek in Czech, Jézuska in Hungarian and Ježiško in Slovak) brings the presents. Greek children get their presents from Saint Basil on New Year's Eve, the eve of that saint's liturgical feast.[230] The German St. Nikolaus is not identical with the Weihnachtsmann (who is the German version of Santa Claus / Father Christmas). St. Nikolaus wears a bishop's dress and still brings small gifts (usually candies, nuts, and fruits) on December 6 and is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht. Although many parents around the world routinely teach their children about Santa Claus and other gift bringers, some have come to reject this practice, considering it deceptive.[231] Multiple gift-giver figures exist in Poland, varying between regions and individual families. St Nicholas (Święty Mikołaj) dominates Central and North-East areas, the Starman (Gwiazdor) is most common in Greater Poland, Baby Jesus (Dzieciątko) is unique to Upper Silesia, with the Little Star (Gwiazdka) and the Little Angel (Aniołek) being common in the South and the South-East. Grandfather Frost (Dziadek Mróz) is less commonly accepted in some areas of Eastern Poland.[232][233] It is worth noting that across all of Poland, St Nicholas is the gift giver on the Saint Nicholas Day on December 6. Date according to Julian calendar Some jurisdictions of the Eastern Orthodox Church, including those of Russia, Georgia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Jerusalem, mark feasts using the older Julian calendar. As of 2023, there is a difference of 13 days between the Julian calendar and the modern Gregorian calendar, which is used internationally for most secular purposes. As a result, December 25 on the Julian calendar currently corresponds to January 7 on the calendar used by most governments and people in everyday life. Therefore, the aforementioned Orthodox Christians mark December 25 (and thus Christmas) on the day that is internationally considered to be January 7.[234] However, following the Council of Constantinople in 1923,[235] other Orthodox Christians, such as those belonging to the jurisdictions of Constantinople, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Antioch, Alexandria, Albania, Cyprus, Finland, and the Orthodox Church in America, among others, began using the Revised Julian calendar, which at present corresponds exactly to the Gregorian calendar.[236] Therefore, these Orthodox Christians mark December 25 (and thus Christmas) on the same day that is internationally considered to be December 25. A further complication is added by the fact that the Armenian Apostolic Church continues the original ancient Eastern Christian practice of celebrating the birth of Christ not as a separate holiday, but on the same day as the celebration of his baptism (Theophany), which is on January 6. This is a public holiday in Armenia, and it is held on the same day that is internationally considered to be January 6, because since 1923 the Armenian Church in Armenia has used the Gregorian calendar.[237] However, there is also a small Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which maintains the traditional Armenian custom of celebrating the birth of Christ on the same day as Theophany (January 6), but uses the Julian calendar for the determination of that date. As a result, this church celebrates "Christmas" (more properly called Theophany) on the day that is considered January 19 on the Gregorian calendar in use by the majority of the world.[238] In summary, there are four different dates used by different Christian groups to mark the birth of Christ, given in the table below." (wikipedia.org) "n English-speaking cultures, a Christmas elf is a diminutive elf that lives with Santa Claus at the North Pole and acts as his helper. Christmas elves are usually depicted as green- or red-clad, with large, pointy ears and wearing pointy hats. They are most often depicted as humanoids, but sometimes as furry mammals with tails. Santa's elves are often said to make the toys in Santa's workshop and take care of his reindeer, among other tasks. They were first introduced in literature by Louisa May Alcott in 1856. Santa is much older, emerging in U.S. folklore in the early 17th century from St. Nicholas with attributes of various European Christmas traditions, especially from English Father Christmas and Dutch Sinterklaas. The association of Christmas presents with elves has precedents in the first half of the 19th century with the Scandinavian nisse or tomte, and St Nicholas himself is called an elf in A Visit from St. Nicholas (1823)....The origins of the elf are said to have been derived from Norse mythology, which refers to the álfar, also known as huldufólk 'hidden folk'. The elf character is most likely to have combined this Norse legend with other Scandinavian and Celtic cultures and myths regarding elves, fairies and nature spirits. In various regions of Europe there were similar supernatural beings that can be connected to elves, such as kobolds from Germany and house spirits named brownies in Scotland. In Medieval Europe, elves were seen as nefarious and were often linked to demons. The Christmas elf appeared in literature as early as 1850 when Louisa May Alcott completed, but never published a book titled Christmas Elves. The image of the elves in the workshop was popularized by Godey's Lady's Book, with a front cover illustration for its 1873 Christmas issue showing Santa surrounded by toys and elves with the caption "Here we have an idea of the preparations that are made to supply the young folks with toys at Christmas time".[1] During this time, Godey's was immensely influential to the birth of Christmas traditions, having shown the first widely circulated picture of a modern Christmas tree on the front cover of its 1850 Christmas issue. Additional recognition was given in Austin Thompson's 1876 work "The House of Santa Claus, a Christmas Fairy Show for Sunday Schools".[1] St. Nicholas as an elf In the 1823 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas (more commonly known today as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas), often attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, Santa Claus himself is described in line 45 as follows: "He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf".[2] Prior to the influence of St. Nicholas in Sweden, the job of giving out gifts was done by the Yule goat. By 1891, the saint had become so well known that he could no longer be ignored.[clarification needed] He became merged with Tomten, which was previously an elfish / dwarfish farm guardian. Following the work of Jenny Nyström, this hybrid figure became known as Jultomten.[3] Contemporary pop culture In the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Ireland, the modern legend of Santa Claus typically includes diminutive elves at Christmas; green-clad elves with pointy ears and pointy hats as Santa's employees / assistants. They make the toys in Santa's workshop located in the North Pole. In recent years, other toys—usually high-tech toys like computers, video games, DVDs, and DVD players, and even mobile phones—have also been depicted as being ready for delivery, but not necessarily made, in the workshop as well. In this portrayal, elves slightly resemble nimble and delicate versions of the dwarfs of Norse myth. In more recent movies (e.g. The Santa Clause series and The Christmas Chronicles), the elves' jobs also include operating police and air forces protecting the North Pole, helping Santa outside the Pole when he is captured by the real-world police, and as Santa's secret-service-like bodyguards (Fred Claus). The elves are generally said to live for hundreds, or even thousands, of years, despite the fact that in some cases they appear eternally youthful as children....Christmas elves have had their role expanded in modern films and television. They are generally portrayed in live-action films either by little actors, children, forced perspective to make normal-sized actors appear diminutive, or computer-generated imagery (CGI); otherwise by traditional animation, stop-motion animation, or computer animation according to the format of the film. For instance: The 1932 Disney traditional animation short film Santa's Workshop, features Santa Claus and his elves preparing for Christmas.[4] Santa's elves feature prominently in the Rankin-Bass 1964 stop-motion TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. A distinctive, colorful costume design was created, with red, green, blue, or pink outfits topped with cone-shaped hats.[5] Most elves fit the short, plump stereotype, but for diversity, one elf is taller and thinner than the others and wears horn-rimmed glasses. The special was sponsored by General Electric, and the elves were featured in the GE small appliance commercials.[6] In the 1985 live action feature One Magic Christmas, there are no elves; Santa runs his toy factory using "Christmas angels", who are deceased adults. In the 1985 live-action Santa Claus: The Movie, the elves are a type of craft guild making traditional toys by hand and looking after Santa's reindeer.[7] In the 1994 live action feature The Santa Clause and its sequels, Santa's elves are portrayed by children or teenagers, despite being hundreds of years old. Bernard, the number one elf, was portrayed by sixteen-year-old David Krumholtz. By the time the second sequel was made in 2006, Krumholz was too old to play an elf and was starring as an adult in his own television series, so the number two elf was promoted to number one. The Christmas Elves are featured in the 1998 TV movie Like Father, Like Santa. The 2003 live-action Will Ferrell comedy Elf pays homage to the 1964 Rudolph special by copying the colorful costume design for the elves, who are all portrayed by forced perspective of the normal-sized actors.[8][9] In the 2007 live-action Fred Claus, most elves, such as head elf Willie (John Michael Higgins), are created by forced perspective. The single exception is Santa's bookkeeper Charlene (Elizabeth Banks), who is a human-sized elf. Disney used the theme of Christmas elves for their 2009 short film, Prep & Landing, which tells the tale of an elite group of elves that make houses ready for Santa's deliveries. It was the first holiday television special made by Walt Disney Animation Studios.[10] The Christmas Elves were featured in the 2011 computer-animated Arthur Christmas. In the 2012 DreamWorks Animation computer-animated film Rise of the Guardians, elves are very short beings who wear pointy hat-like clothes and assist Santa at the North Pole, but they don't make the toys, the elves are only led to believe this, as yetis are actually responsible for making the toys in the film. The Christmas Chronicles (2018) portrays the elves as diminutive CGI creatures with their own language, spoken also by Santa. They are about two feet tall with a two-head total body proportion, large eyes, and long, pointed ears. Their bodies are covered with a thin coat of fur and they have S-shaped hairy tails, giving them a somewhat rodent-like appearance. In the 2020 sequel The Christmas Chronicles 2, they are divided into two camps, with one faction of "naughty elves" led by Belsnickel, who plots to overthrow Santa. In literature Valentine D'Arcy Sheldon's children's picture book, The Christmas Tree Elf,[11] tells the origin story of how Santa met his elves. It also introduces Blink the elf, who introduces Santa to the elves and saves Christmas by extinguishing a Christmas tree fire. A strong connection to Christmas and elves can be found in the popular fairy tale The Elves and the Shoemaker published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. In this tale a shoemaker, who had not been able to meet the demand to make more shoes, is greeted by several elves just before Christmas to finish all the shoes for him. Around the world In European countries, Santa has differing helpers depending on the country. In the Netherlands and Belgium, St. Nicholas is accompanied by Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) whose inclusion has become a controversial issue for the Blackface depiction of the character.[12] In Germany, the companions are the Knecht Ruprecht and in Luxembourg, they are known as Hoesecker.[13] In Nordic countries, Christmas Elves are considered nisser and not elves and they will usually wear only red instead of the green and red outfits that they are known for in English speaking countries." (wikipedia.org) "Christmas in July, also known as Christmas in Summer or Christmas in Winter, is a second Christmas celebration held on the 25th of July that falls outside of the traditional period of Christmastide. It is centered around Christmas-themed activities and entertainment, including small gatherings, seasonal entertainment, and shopping. July Christmas celebrations typically accommodate for those living in the Southern hemisphere, in which they undergo their annual winter, although the main goal of Christmas in July is getting the public in the "Christmas spirit" during the summer season in the Northern hemisphere. Origins Werther, an 1892 French opera with libretto by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet, and Georges Hartmann, had an English translation published in 1894 by Elizabeth Beall Ginty. In the story, a group of children rehearse a Christmas song in July, to which a character responds: "When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season." It is a translation of the French: "vous chantez Noël en juillet... c'est s'y prendre à l'avance."[1] This opera is based on Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther. Christmas features in the book, but July does not.[2] In 1935, the National Recreation Association's journal Recreation described what a Christmas in July was like at a girl's camp in Brevard, North Carolina, writing that "all mystery and wonder surround this annual event."[3] The term, if not the exact concept, was given national attention with the release of the Hollywood movie comedy Christmas in July in 1940, written and directed by Preston Sturges.[4] In the story, a man is fooled into believing he has won $25,000 in an advertising slogan contest. He buys presents for family, friends, and neighbors, and proposes marriage to his girlfriend.[5] In 1942, the Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. celebrated Christmas in July with carols and the sermon "Christmas Presents in July".[6] They repeated it in 1943, with a Christmas tree covered with donations. The pastor explained that the special service was patterned after a program held each summer at his former church in Philadelphia, when the congregation would present Christmas gifts early to give ample time for their distribution to missions worldwide.[7] It became an annual event, and in 1945, the service began to be broadcast over local radio.[8] The U.S. Post Office and U.S. Army and Navy officials, in conjunction with the American advertising and greeting card industries, threw a Christmas in July luncheon in New York in 1944 to promote an early Christmas mailing campaign for service men overseas during World War II.[9] The luncheon was repeated in 1945.[10] American advertisers began using Christmas in July themes in print for summertime sales as early as 1950.[11] In the United States, it is more often used as a marketing tool than an actual holiday. Television stations may choose to re-run Christmas specials, and many stores have Christmas in July sales. Some individuals choose to celebrate Christmas in July themselves, typically as an intentionally transparent excuse to have a party. This is in part because most bargainers tend to sell Christmas goods around July to make room for next year's inventory.[12] Celebrations Southern Hemisphere In the Southern Hemisphere, seasons are in reverse to the Northern Hemisphere, with summer falling in December, January, and February, and with winter falling in June, July, and August. Therefore, in some southern hemisphere countries, such as Australia, South Africa, Brazil, and New Zealand, Christmas in July or Midwinter Christmas events are undertaken in order to have Christmas with a winter feel in common with the northern hemisphere.[13][14][15] These countries still celebrate Christmas on December 25, in their summer, like the northern hemisphere. Northern Hemisphere In the Northern Hemisphere, a Christmas in July celebration is deliberately ironic; the July climate is typically hot and either sunny or rainy with thunderstorms, as opposed to the cold and snowy conditions traditionally associated with Christmas celebrations in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Some people throw parties during July that mimic Christmas celebrations, bringing the atmosphere of Christmas but with warmer temperatures. Parties may include Santa Claus, ice cream and other cold foods, and gifts. Nightclubs often host parties open to the public. Christmas in July is usually recognized as July 25 but also sometimes celebrated on July 12.[16] The Hallmark Channel and its companion outlets (Hallmark Drama and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) run blocks of their original Christmas television films in July to coincide with the release of the Keepsake Ornaments in stores, thus literally making the event a Hallmark holiday (an accusation that Hallmark Cards officially denies). Every July, the television home shopping channel QVC has Christmas in July sales, mostly decor and early gift ideas for children. What was once a 24-hour block of holiday shopping every July 25 (or the closest weekend day to it) has become a month-long event: generally, the sales begin on July 1 and are showcased throughout the day, with various blocks of holiday sale programming sales throughout the month. Generally during the last week of July, QVC will dedicate entire days to holiday sales. There is also Christmas in June.[17] In some western countries, July has a limited number of marketing opportunities. In the United States and Canada, for example, there are no national holidays between the first week of July (Canada Day on July 1 in Canada and American Independence Day on July 4 in the United States) and Labor/Labour Day (the first Monday in September for both the US and Canada), leaving a stretch of about two months with no holidays (some Canadian provinces hold a Civic Holiday, but neither Canada nor the United States has ever recognized a national holiday during that time). The late July period provides relatively few opportunities for merchandising, since it is typically after the peak of summer product sales in June and early July, but before the "back to school" shopping period begins in August. Therefore, to justify sales promotions, shops (such as Leon's in Canada) will sometimes announce a "Christmas in July" sale.[citation needed] A Summer Christmas celebration is held on June 25 each year, in Italy and throughout the world. 25 June is 6 months before, or 6 months after (depending how one chooses to look at it), the traditional Christmas celebration. It is celebrated at this particular moment, as a statement and a reaction to the traditional Christmas celebration: there is no need to wait for one specific day to celebrate love, friendship and peace. The movement started in Italy, Europe, where traditional Christmas is celebrated in winter, leading to the alternative celebration, 6 months later, to be celebrated in summer.[18] While it started out as an improvised summer celebration in Venice, it has now become a yearly tradition. In the last 8 years, the celebrations have taken place mainly in Sardinia, but the tradition is spreading across the world and becoming a worldwide movement.[citation needed] In parts of Denmark people may have small Christmas celebrations and put up decorations for what is known as 'Jul i Juli' (translated as 'Christmas in July'). It is a simple play on words that has come to be celebrated by some, although it is not an official holiday. Christmas in August In the 1950s, the Christmas in July celebration became a Christmas in August celebration at Yellowstone National Park. There are multiple theories concerning the origin of this celebration. Park employees, who were nicknamed "Savages" until the mid-1970s, were known to throw large employee parties in July complete with floats, skits, and dances. Some have speculated that the Christmas in August celebration was a way to extend the mid-summer festivities to the public and subdue the employee-only celebration. Another theory is that the celebration began as a way to incorporate a performance of Handel's 'Messiah' by a student ministry working in the park.[19] Christmas in July in September Christmas in July in September has been marked as a celebration by some.[20][21] For example, Parker, Arizona had a celebration for it in September 2020.[22] While in the Philippines, Christmas celebrations the longest running holiday season in the world begin four months early and run through the end of the year until Epiphany. Celebrations will unofficially start in September and run through months that end in "-ber" (September, October, November, and December)." (wikipedia.org) "Wood is a structural tissue found in the stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic material – a natural composite of cellulose fibers that are strong in tension and embedded in a matrix of lignin that resists compression. Wood is sometimes defined as only the secondary xylem in the stems of trees,[1] or it is defined more broadly to include the same type of tissue elsewhere such as in the roots of trees or shrubs.[citation needed] In a living tree it performs a support function, enabling woody plants to grow large or to stand up by themselves. It also conveys water and nutrients between the leaves, other growing tissues, and the roots. Wood may also refer to other plant materials with comparable properties, and to material engineered from wood, woodchips, or fiber. Wood has been used for thousands of years for fuel, as a construction material, for making tools and weapons, furniture and paper. More recently it emerged as a feedstock for the production of purified cellulose and its derivatives, such as cellophane and cellulose acetate. As of 2020, the growing stock of forests worldwide was about 557 billion cubic meters.[2] As an abundant, carbon-neutral[3] renewable resource, woody materials have been of intense interest as a source of renewable energy. In 2008, approximately 3.97 billion cubic meters of wood were harvested.[2] Dominant uses were for furniture and building construction." (wikipedia.org) "Wood carving is a form of woodworking by means of a cutting tool (knife) in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object. The phrase may also refer to the finished product, from individual sculptures to hand-worked mouldings composing part of a tracery. The making of sculpture in wood has been extremely widely practised, but does not survive undamaged as well as the other main materials like stone and bronze, as it is vulnerable to decay, insect damage, and fire. Therefore, it forms an important hidden element in the art history of many cultures.[1] Outdoor wood sculptures do not last long in most parts of the world, so it is still unknown how the totem pole tradition developed. Many of the most important sculptures of China and Japan, in particular, are in wood, and so are the great majority of African sculpture and that of Oceania and other regions. Wood is light and can take very fine detail so it is highly suitable for masks and other sculpture intended to be worn or carried. It is also much easier to work on than stone and can be carved more thinly and precisely due to its fibrous strength....Sculpture A wood carver begins a new carving by selecting a chunk of wood the approximate size and shape of the figure he or she wishes to create or if the carving is to be large, several pieces of wood may be laminated together to create the required size. The type of wood is important. Hardwoods are more difficult to shape but have greater luster and longevity. Softer woods may be easier to carve but are more prone to damage. Any wood can be carved but they all have different qualities and characteristics. The choice will depend on the requirements of carving being done: for example, a detailed figure would need a wood with a fine grain and very little figure as a strong figure can interfere with 'reading' fine detail. Once the sculptor has selected their wood, he or she begins a general shaping process using gouges of various sizes. The gouge is a curved blade that can remove large portions of wood smoothly. For harder woods, the sculptor may use gouges sharpened with stronger bevels, about 35 degrees, and a mallet similar to a stone carver's. The terms gouge and chisel are open to confusion. Correctly, a gouge is a tool with a curved cross-section and a chisel is a tool with a flat cross-section. However, professional carvers tend to refer to them all as 'chisels'. Smaller sculptures may require the woodcarver to use a knife, and larger pieces might require the use of a saw. No matter what wood is selected or tool used, the wood sculptor must always carve either across or with the grain of the wood, never against the grain. Once the general shape is made, the carver may use a variety of tools for creating details. For example, a "veiner" or "fluter" can be used to make deep gouges into the surface, or a "v-tool" for making fine lines or decorative cuts. Once the finer details have been added, the woodcarver finishes the surface. The method chosen depends on the required quality of the surface finish. The texture left by shallow gouges gives 'life' to the carving's surface and many carvers prefer this 'tooled' finish. If a completely smooth surface is required general smoothing can be done with tools such as "rasps," which are flat-bladed tools with a surface of pointed teeth. "Rifflers" are similar to rasps, but smaller, usually double-ended, and of various shapes for working in folds or crevasses. The finer polishing is done with abrasive paper. Large grained paper with a rougher surface is used first, with the sculptor then using finer grained paper that can make the surface of the sculpture slick to the touch. After the carving and finishing is completed, the artist may seal & colour the wood with a variety of natural oils, such as walnut or linseed oil which protects the wood from dirt and moisture. Oil also imparts a sheen to the wood which, by reflecting light, helps the observer 'read' the form. Carvers seldom use gloss varnish as it creates too shiny a surface, which reflects so much light it can confuse the form; carvers refer to this as 'the toffee apple effect'. Objects made of wood are frequently finished with a layer of wax, which protects the wood and gives a soft lustrous sheen. A wax finish (e.g. shoe polish) is comparatively fragile though and only suitable for indoor carvings." (wikipedia.org) "Christmas ornaments, baubles, globes, "Christmas bulbs" or "Christmas bubbles" are decoration items, usually to decorate Christmas trees. These decorations may be woven, blown (glass or plastic), molded (ceramic or metal), carved from wood or expanded polystyrene, or made by other techniques. Ornaments are available in a variety of geometric shapes and image depictions. Ornaments are almost always reused year after year rather than purchased annually, and family collections often contain a combination of commercially produced ornaments and decorations created by family members. Such collections are often passed on and augmented from generation to generation. Festive figures and images are commonly preferred. Lucretia P. Hale's story "The Peterkins' Christmas-Tree"[1] offers a short catalog of the sorts of ornaments used in the 1870s: There was every kind of gilt hanging-thing, from gilt pea-pods to butterflies on springs. There were shining flags and lanterns, and bird-cages, and nests with birds sitting on them, baskets of fruit, gilt apples, and bunches of grapes. The modern-day mold-blown colored glass Christmas ornament was invented in the small German town of Lauscha in the mid-16th century....Modern baubles Although glass baubles are still produced, as expensive good-quality ornaments often found at markets, baubles are now frequently made from plastic and available worldwide in a massive variety of shapes, colours and designs. Since the 19th century, there are a large number of manufacturers producing sophisticated Christmas glass ornaments in Poland, which produce "bombka" or the plural form "bombki"; Poland is the largest producer of glass bombe (bauble) ornaments that are exported to many countries all over the world, mainly to the United States, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Norway, France, the UK, and millions of glass-blown Christmas ornaments are made year-round in Tlalpujahua, Michoacan, Mexico, and exported to Spain, New Zealand and France. They are also made in Chignahuapan, Puebla, Mexico.[12] Handcrafted Handcrafted Christmas ornaments have become a staple of craft fairs, and many smaller online businesses owe much of their success to both the internet and the growth of craft stores. Sugar cookies, popcorn balls, gingerbread and many types of cookies can be used as ornaments." (wikipedia.org) "A toy or plaything is an object that is used primarily to provide entertainment. Simple examples include toy blocks, board games, and dolls. Toys are often designed for use by children, although many are designed specifically for adults and pets. Toys can provide utilitarian benefits, including physical exercise, cultural awareness, or academic education. Additionally, utilitarian objects, especially those which are no longer needed for their original purpose, can be used as toys. Examples include children building a fort with empty cereal boxes and tissue paper spools, or a toddler playing with a broken TV remote control. The term "toy" can also be used to refer to utilitarian objects purchased for enjoyment rather than need, or for expensive necessities for which a large fraction of the cost represents its ability to provide enjoyment to the owner, such as luxury cars, high-end motorcycles, gaming computers, and flagship smartphones. Playing with toys can be an enjoyable way of training young children for life experiences. Different materials like wood, clay, paper, and plastic are used to make toys. Newer forms of toys include interactive digital entertainment and smart toys. Some toys are produced primarily as collectors' items and are intended for display only. The origin of toys is prehistoric; dolls representing infants, animals, and soldiers, as well as representations of tools used by adults, are readily found at archaeological sites. The origin of the word "toy" is unknown, but it is believed that it was first used in the 14th century. Toys are mainly made for children.[1] The oldest known doll toy is thought to be 4,000 years old.[2] Playing with toys is an important part of aging. Younger children use toys to discover their identity, help with cognition, learn cause and effect, explore relationships, become stronger physically, and practice skills needed in adulthood. Adults on occasion use toys to form and strengthen social bonds, teach, help in therapy, and to remember and reinforce lessons from their youth....Culture The act of children's play with toys embodies the values set forth by the adults of their specific community, but through the lens of the child's perspective. Within cultural societies, toys are a medium to enhance a child's cognitive, social, and linguistic learning.[24] In some cultures, toys are used as a way to enhance a child's skillset within the traditional boundaries of their future roles in the community. In Saharan and North African cultures, play is facilitated by children through the use of toys to enact scenes recognizable in their community such as hunting and herding. The value is placed in a realistic version of development in preparing a child for the future they are likely to grow up into. This allows the child to imagine and create a personal interpretation of how they view the adult world.[25] However, in other cultures, toys are used to expand the development of a child's cognition in an idealistic fashion. In these communities, adults place the value of play with toys to be on the aspirations they set forth for their child. In the Western culture, the Barbie and Action-Man represent lifelike figures but in an imaginative state out of reach from the society of these children and adults. These toys give way to a unique world in which children's play is isolated and independent of the social constraints placed on society leaving the children free to delve into the imaginary and idealized version of what their development in life could be.[25] In addition, children from differing communities may treat their toys in different ways based on their cultural practices. Children in more affluent communities may tend to be possessive of their toys, while children from poorer communities may be more willing to share and interact more with other children. The importance the child places on possession is dictated by the values in place within the community that the children observe on a daily basis." (wikipedia.org) "Santa's Workshop is the workshop where Santa Claus and his elves live and make the toys and presents given out at Christmas. The exact location of Santa's workshop varies depending upon local culture, however it is generally believed to be somewhere around or on the North Pole. There are at least eight claimed locations for his workshop.[1] For example, people in Canada send letters to Santa's Workshop at his North Pole location in Canada, with the unique postal code of "H0H 0H0".[2] People in the United States believe the workshop is a sprawling commune located at the North Pole. Some people in the United Kingdom and Finland believe that Father Christmas' Workshop is located in Finland in Korvatunturi, Lapland.[3][4] In addition to housing the factory where toys are either manufactured or distributed by the elves, the complex also houses the residence of Santa, his wife, companions, and all of the reindeer. Santa Claus grottos and department stores In the 20th century, it became common during December in large shops or department stores to have a "cavern" in which an actor dressed up as Santa Claus would give gifts to people. Grottos can be large walk-through fantasy cavern-like areas incorporating animatronic characters, such as elves and pantomime characters. This tradition started in Britain in 1879 and then extended in the 1890s to Australian and American department stores seeking to attract customers.[citation needed] The world's first Christmas grotto was in Lewis's Bon Marche Department Store in Liverpool, England. The grotto was opened in 1879, entitled "Christmas Fairyland." A staple of Liverpool's festive season, many generations first visited Father Christmas here, with the final displays covering over 930 square metres (10,000 sq ft). The Grotto has now moved to St. Johns Market, St. Johns Shopping Centre after being saved by Entrepreneur Guy Fennell in 2017. The Grotto now[when?] runs by the name 'Liverpool's Famous Grotto'. Shopping malls have also set up interactive exhibits.[6] In Adelaide, South Australia, the first "Magic Cave" was set up in 1896 at the John Martin's department store on Rundle Street (now Rundle Mall). An annual store-sponsored parade, the Adelaide Christmas Pageant, was initiated in 1933 during which Father Christmas was conducted at the Magic Cave to formally herald the holiday season. Since the closure of John Martin's, the David Jones stores, have continued the tradition of the Magic Cave.[citation needed] Department stores and shopping centres in the United Kingdom still[when?] host Santa's Grottos.[citation needed] It is traditional that the people receive a toy from Father Christmas, upon visiting his Grotto whether in a shopping mall or a little garden center. Grottos are sometimes free and they sometimes charge parents to let their children see Santa and receive a surprise gift. Reproductions A themed attraction in Santa Claus, Indiana named Santa's Candy Castle emulates the traditional depiction of Santa's workshop. There is also a Santa's Workshop amusem*nt park in North Pole, New York. A 1946 theme park Holiday World & Splashin' Safari was known as [7]"Santa Claus Land" prior to 1984 and is in Santa Claus, Indiana. Another location for Santa's Workshop, (since 1960), can also be found in North Pole Colorado - better known as Cascade Colorado - year-round. Elves Main article: Christmas elf The image of the elves in the workshop was popularized by Godey's Lady's Book, with a front cover illustration for its 1873 Christmas issue showing Santa surrounded by toys and elves with the caption, "Here we have an idea of the preparations that are made to supply the young folks with toys at Christmas time."[8] Location See also: Santa Claus § Home In 1879, Thomas Nast revealed to the world in a series of drawings that Santa's workshop is at the North Pole.[9] The Canada Post postal code for the workshop is H0H 0H0. The United States Postal Service recommends mail to Santa's workshop be sent to Santa Claus 1225 Reindeer Rd. North Pole, AK 99705. Much of the mail sent there is instead redirected to a volunteer base in Santa Claus, Indiana.[10] Each Nordic country also claims Santa's workshop to be located on their territories. Norway claims he lives in Drøbak. In Denmark, he is said to live in Greenland (near Uummannaq). In Sweden, the town of Mora has a theme park named "Santaworld". The national postal terminal in Tomteboda in Stockholm receives children's letters for Santa. In Finland, Korvatunturi has long been known as Santa's home, and two theme parks, Santa Claus Village and Santa Park are located at the Arctic Circle in the municipality of Rovaniemi." (wikipedia.org)

  • Condition: Gebraucht
  • Condition: In excellent, pre-owned condition and complete. Please see photos and description.
  • Shape: Pentagon
  • Occasion: Christmas
  • Size: Large
  • Color: Green
  • Material: Wood
  • Item Length: 21 in
  • Subject: Santa
  • Brand: Costco
  • Type: Door Advent Calendar
  • Original/Licensed Reproduction: Original
  • Item Height: 24 in
  • Theme: Santa's Workshop
  • Features: Attached Items, Compartmentalized, Hanging, Retro Design, Rustic Design, Vintage, Wooden
  • Filling: Mini Wood Ornaments
  • Time Period Manufactured: 2000-2009
  • Country/Region of Manufacture: China
  • Item Weight: 9 lb

PicClick Insights - SANTA'S WORKSHOP HOLZ ADVENTSKALENDER 24" Weihnachten Mini Charm Ornamente selten PicClick Exklusiv

  • Popularität - 0 Beobachter, 0.0 neue Beobachter pro Tag, 169 days for sale on eBay. 0 verkauft, 1 verfügbar.
  • Popularität - SANTA'S WORKSHOP HOLZ ADVENTSKALENDER 24" Weihnachten Mini Charm Ornamente selten

    0 Beobachter, 0.0 neue Beobachter pro Tag, 169 days for sale on eBay. 0 verkauft, 1 verfügbar.

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  • Preis - SANTA'S WORKSHOP HOLZ ADVENTSKALENDER 24" Weihnachten Mini Charm Ornamente selten

  • Verkäufer - 1.183+ artikel verkauft. 0% negativ bewertungen. Großer Verkäufer mit sehr gutem positivem Rückgespräch und über 50 Bewertungen.
  • Verkäufer - SANTA'S WORKSHOP HOLZ ADVENTSKALENDER 24" Weihnachten Mini Charm Ornamente selten

    1.183+ artikel verkauft. 0% negativ bewertungen. Großer Verkäufer mit sehr gutem positivem Rückgespräch und über 50 Bewertungen.

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