Christmas is the most important religious feast for Christians all over the world and in the United States too. The original meaning of Christmas is a special church service, or mass, to celebrate Jesus Christ birth. Because of religious roots of the holiday Christmas as one of the federal holidays was called into question several times. But since most Americans recognize themselves as Christian, the Day now is the most widely celebrated public holiday in the United States. However, on Christmas Day almost all businesses and government offices are closed, most employees have paid day off. Some have it also on the day before Christmas.
Many people attend church services. Many Sunday schools, churches and communities organize special events on this day such as Nativity displays, concerts and performances. A lot of plays and songs have an aspect of Christmas as a theme. Main symbols of Christmas are the Nativity, baby Jesus, the Three King and some other objects surrounding the birth of Jesus, but there are also Santa Claus, elves, reindeer , pine trees, decorations, fairy lights, holly, candles and presents. Many common objects and traditions of this holiday have their roots in pre-Christian Roman and Scandinavian winter festivals.
Interesting that Christmas today is the most commercialized American holiday. During the post-War years America became self-sufficient and not reliant upon Germany for its Christmas ornaments, toys, and even its Christmas customs. There had been a substantial increase in manufacture of toys, artificial and natural Christmas trees and Christmas decorations in USA. American families annually spend a large part of their income on decorating their homes and gardens, on Christmas trees, festive foods and gifts for children, relatives and friends. As a result a sharp increase in sales takes place. Stores are full of shoppers before Christmas. In fact, Christmas shopping is a major activity of most Americans in December.
But also Christmas is a time when many Americans show great generosity to other less fortunate than they. They send money to hospitals or orphanages or contribute to funds that help the poor. Some communities arrange meals, shelter or charitable projects for people without a home.
Another one good tradition of this holiday in the United States is sending Christmas Cards. Billions of Christmas cards are mailed by Americans every year. In 1953 the first White House Christmas card was sent. President Eisenhower was an amateur artist and personally consulted with the head of Hallmark Cards on the card project. 38 different cards and prints were issued with the President’s own artwork on many of them during the administration of Eisenhower. The tradition was continued by President Kennedy . Jacqueline Kennedy’s artwork was featured on a Christmas card in 1963.
In general Christmas in America is certainly considered to be one of the family holidays with all the relatives and close friends gathered at festive table, exchanging gifts, enjoying time together, sharing warm feelings, sharing LOVE. And love is what Jesus Christ has brought to this world. Merry Christmas!