The unanimous reasons for Christmas are to celebrate life and to show gratitude. Christians commemorate this day to observe the birth of Jesus Christ according to their faith. However, people of various cultures and beliefs celebrate Christmas worldwide as a festive day and holiday.
The evergreen tree has been historically used to observe winter festivals as an ancient symbol of life. Pagans used branches of this tree to decorate their homes during the winter solstice to remind them of the upcoming spring. Christians symbolically use the evergreen tree is as a sign of everlasting life with God. People who cannot access a real evergreen tree can purchase manufactured varieties that are designed to look like the evergreen tree.
Tinsel was originally made from shredded silver that was hammered until it was thin, then cut into strips. Nowadays, tinsel is a light sparkly material that comes in various colours. Baubles were initially fruit and nut shaped before they were eventually turned into a spherical shape. Glass baubles were hand-crafted and made with glass before the plastic version was created to allow cheaper production and affordability. In the past, candles were popularly used to decorate Christmas trees. Adversely, they became a fire hazard, so electric Christmas lights are now the preferred decoration.
The custom of giving and receiving presents at Christmas is passed down from the Biblical story of the three Wise Men, their gifts to baby Jesus were frankincense, gold and myrrh. Christmas now centres on the theme of generosity as families and friends give presents to each other during the holiday season. Christmas presents are usually wrapped in colourful, embellished paper or placed in decorative stockings. Many children around the world believe in a fictitious character called Father Christmas or Santa Claus who brings them presents according to their requests.
A Christmas song/hymn is called a carol or noël. Some of the most well-known carols are ‘Silent Night’, ‘Joy to the Word’ and ‘Adore Him’. The lyrics are on the topic of the birth of the Lord or the idea of Christmas, they are traditionally sung on Christmas and during the entire festive season. Carols by Candlelight service is an occasion whereby the church is only lit by candles, as the congregation or choir sings.
Sources: www.christianitytoday.com, www.huffingtonpost.com, www.whychristmas.com