Christmas is one of the oldest holidays in existence. Consequently, Christmas traditions are rich and numerous. Even though each observant country celebrates the Christmas holiday in its own way, there are some core traditions that most countries adhere to. This article will discuss a few of the most popular Christmas traditions and customs.
As Christmas is about the very best of humanity, one of the occasion’s most popular traditions is the exchanging of Christmas cards. People prepare holiday-themed greeting cards, containing messages of love and goodwill (sometimes composed by the person herself), and send them to friends and loved ones.
Most modern Christmas greeting cards are mass designed and are not custom-made. There are numerous different designs and greeting messages. Some people, however, still prefer handmade cards as they are more personal and do not contain pre-printed greetings. The tradition of giving out Christmas cards is so popular that the U.S. post office has to set a specific deadline for sending Christmas cards and letters. On the deadline day alone, the post office is expected to administer almost a billion Christmas cards.
In recent years, sending Christmas ecards (via email) has become a good alternative to the snail-mail method. Most ecards are available at little to no cost. These cards are beautifully designed and may include background music as well as animations. Best of all, their recipients will receive them in seconds and not days. This is great news for procrastinators and busy people.
Christmas Eve Mass and Caroling
For secular people, Christmas is a day of family and of goodwill. For Christians, Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ. To commemorate the birth of the Redeemer, Christian churches around the world hold special midnight masses on Christmas Eve. These masses are usually the year’s most attended church services. Some are even being broadcast live so unable people can watch the service in the comfort of their homes. To avoid crowdedness, many midnight masses are by invitation-only.
One Christmas tradition that is very popular with religious groups (as well as some secular groups) is Christmas caroling. Organized groups of four or more people spend Christmas Eve going from door to door singing popular Christmas carols such as Jingle Bells and Oh Christmas Tree. These carolers usually dress in Victorian clothing and wear Santa hats. Some even carry around holiday bells or chimes for sound effects.
Although participating in Christmas caroling is very exciting, it does carry safety risks because there are people who dislike this practice. The popularity of holiday caroling has deteriorated in recent years due to changes in cultural attitude.
Christmas Tree and Gift Giving
No holiday symbol (with the exception of the Nativity Scene) is more synonymous with Christmas than the Christmas tree. According to firstchristmastree.net, this popular Christmas tradition most likely dates back to medieval Europe. Christmas trees were originally used as centerpieces at public squares. The popular tradition was later expanded to include private homes and businesses.
Christmas trees are generally indoor festive trees, though they occasionally make an outdoor presence. The giant Christmas tree outside Rockefeller Center is a good example of this. There is no one specific Christmas tree. These trees can come from any of the evergreens, bedecked with ornaments and fancy holiday lighting.
One popular Christmas tradition that is broadly associated with the Christmas tree is the exchanging of gifts. People prepare gifts for their friends and family on this special occasion. Popular Christmas gifts include clothing, toys, electronics and video games. Christmas gifts are to be placed under the trees and shall not be opened until Christmas Day morning.