#11. Nativity Scene
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Besides the manger scene, there is not a better known symbol of Christmas than the Christmas tree. Trees around the United States are fully decked out in lights, ornaments, and a star on top, waiting for Santa to come and fill the underneath with presents for the entire family. A decorated tree is usually one of the first decorative signs that the Christmas holiday season has arrived. These evergreen trees may be natural or artificial and are decorated with all types of baubles, lights, tinsel, garland and ornaments to suit each family or organization's particular taste. The history of the modern day Christmas tree is not comprehensive; however, we do know that there were reports of evergreen trees being decorated in Estonia and Latvia as early as the 15th century. A Christmas tree decorating party is always a great idea for holiday fun. Invite each guest to bring along a unique ornament and have fun with music and a light fare as you trim the Christmas evergreen.
The association of gift giving with Christmas goes back to the original Christmas when the Magi brought gifts to the Christ child. These gifts: frankincense, gold and myrrh were given to the baby Jesus for his security and in good will. Today, those who celebrate Christmas carry on the tradition of giving to others for the joy of giving. Many believe that the Christmas holiday has become so commercialized that there is no longer the altruistic purpose behind the practice of giving. As you buy gifts and give during Christmas, do so in the spirit of etiquette and the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them to do unto you.
Speaking of Santa and Rudolph, how else can they find your house on Christmas Eve without a little help from decorations all over your abode? The brilliant colors and cheer of Christmas decorations on a home is enough to warm the heart of even the biggest Grinch. Just be careful not to pull a Clark Griswold!
Each Christmas season, stockings can be found throughout American homes. Stockings may include gag gifts, like coal, or little gifts, like candy, CD's, and socks. Either way, hanging a stocking from the fireplace mantle is as much of a part of Christmas as Santa Claus and Rudolph.
What American holiday would be complete without greetings cards? The first Christmas card appeared in London in 1843 and became popular in America around 1875. Today many families send Christmas cards to their friends and family across the United States and even around the world. Some busy families include personalized letters reviewing the past year for their loved ones, while other families prefer to send cards featuring a recent family photo.
For many families, the month of December becomes one long trip through Christmas movie nostalgia. Not only do the TV channels rebroadcast all of the old favorite Christmas movies, but the true movie-fan family also has DVDs and tapes of all their own favorites. Whether you fancy Rudolph or George Bailey, movies help families gear up their Christmas spirit in the days leading up to the festive day. Even though the holiday is celebrated around the world, by many diverse people groups and in various ways, there are some traditions that are uniquely American. For instance, Americans tend to watch movies and special programs around the Christmas holiday time. These special shows provide a chance to relax and get in a holiday mood during what can be a stressful time of year. Some of the favorites include "A Charlie Brown Christmas," Director Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life," "The Christmas Story," "Home Alone," "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman," "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," "Elf" and "A Miracle on 34th Street." In addition to these older films, Hollywood usually opens blockbuster films during this time of year with hopes that Americans will be in the mood to go to the movies. As you plan your holiday schedule, keep watching these great movies, enjoy fire-side chatting, and continue eating popcorn.
This tradition may not be as popular today as it once was. Perhaps it's because too many people live in the suburbs, where houses are far away and neighborhoods are not as close knit as they used to be. But singing among family members and classmates still tops the hearts of many folks. Many of us can remember caroling around the nursing home with our friends or bundling up to hit the streets on a cold winter's evening.
This holiday treat is often linked Christmas parties,
Christmas parties have become an essential part of the American holiday season, and the office Christmas party is a notoriously good time. The Christmas party can be one of two things. One, the party can be the chance to see old friends and colleagues, and make new ones under the mistletoe. Or the Christmas party can be a chance to create stories for the rest of the office to share over the New Year
Those delicious candy treats date back as far as 1670, in Cologne, Germany. The most popular account is that a choirmaster wished to quiet the children in his church, Cologne Cathedral, during their yearly Living Chreche tradition each Christmas Eve. He reportedly commissioned a local candy maker to create what he referred to as sweet sticks for the children. He specified that they should have a crook at the top of each stick, to remind the children of the shepherds who visited the baby Jesus. He also specified that he should use the color white to in order to teach the children about Christianity and remind them of the Jesus’ sinless life. Apparently this trend caught on quickly and spread throughout Europe where other congregations began to hand out the candy canes during nativity plays. The candy cane’s peppermint recipe was first published in 1844, and it was first mentioned in a work of literature in 1866. The earliest patent for a candy cane machine was filed by the Bunte Brothers of Chicago, Illinois, in the year 1920. The candy cane is a popular alternative to bulbs and ornaments for Christmas tree decorations in America.
Christmas shopping season officially begins the day after Thanksgiving and continues until Christmas day. To some folks, it's the most enjoyable part of the season. To others, shopping is one big necessary headache. Internet shopping has recently changed the face of holiday shopping forever, and men across world have been cheering! But no matter how popular internet shopping has become, nothing can compare to an old fashioned holiday shopping trip to see the lights, hear the bells, and smell the holiday excitement.
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