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To people all over the world, Christmas is a season of giving and receiving presents.

Most children believe that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole. All year he lists the names of children, both those who have been good and those who have been bad. He decides what presents to give to the good children. He oversees the manufacturing and wrapping of the presents by his helpers. Santa Claus supposedly gets his list of toys from the millions of children who write to him at the North Pole. Children also find Santa Claus at shopping malls across the country. They sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. Of course, their parents are probably nearby listening in as well. On December 24, Christmas Eve, Santa hitches his eight reindeer to a sleigh and loads it with presents. The reindeer pull him and his sleigh through the sky to deliver presents to children all around the world, that is, if they had been good all year.

Another important custom of Christmas is to send and receive Christmas cards, which are meant to help express the sentiment of the season. Americans begin sending Christmas cards early in December to friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. The post office advises customers to mail early in the season and avoid the Christmas rush. Some people heed the advice; others wait until the last minute and then are upset when their loved ones have not received the greeting card or the present, which they sent.

Many people are especially proud of Christmas traditions brought to the United States from their countries of origin. The wonderful diversity of foods, music and songs, prayers and stories all make Christmas the holiday of holidays in the United States.

Going home for Christmas is a most cherished tradition of the holiday season. No matter where you may be the rest of the year, being at „home“ with your family and friends for Christmas is „a must.“ The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are the busiest times of the year at airports, train stations and bus depots. It seems that all America is on the move and Americans are on their way to spend the holidays with their loved ones. This means that the house will be full of cousins, aunts and uncles that might not see each other during the year. Everyone joins in to help in the preparation of the festivities. Some family members go to choose a Christmas tree to buy and bring home. Others decorate the house or wrap presents. And of course, each household needs to make lots of food!

Giving gifts is a Christmas tradition.

Christmas is a holiday. It is the birth of Jesus Christ. Why would you celebrate this holiday if you’re not a Christian? I believe that what most of us are people are doing are spending lots and lots of money on gifts instead of considering what Christmas means. Christmas is a day of joy and it is a day of celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ. There are some people, however, who do not know what Christmas is all about but just celebrating it. Yes, gifts are wonderful to give out to others during the holidays but why spending lots and lots of money when we should be giving a gift to Christ? The gift is to make him happy by asking him to forgive us our sins. He’ll be so happy to do that if we ask him from all of our heart. Peace and joy are what the holiday season is about and giving God our thanks.

I don’t see why some Christians get upset by the „commercialisation“ of Christmas. Nobody’s twisting arm to go out and buy. As for non-Christians who trash the holiday – lighten up. If you come up with a better way of having fun, I’ll gladly join in. And yes, it’s an old pagan celebration. So what? Where does it say that you can’t enjoy your self. I grew up in a very Catholic country and it was only when I came to the US as an adult that it dawned on me that we were supposedly celebrating the birth of Jesus. Good for him. To me, Christmas is all about having fun, getting together and enjoying good food. If some body has a problem with this: Christian, Muslim, Jew or atheist (like myself) – that’s their problem. Maybe they don’t know how to have fun? Maybe they’re angry about something? Hey – let your hair down and prance around the tree. It does a lot of good!

Christmas is great! Why are you all so down on it? We all know that it was tacked on to the European tradition of celebrating the winter solstice, and anyone who looks at the „Christian message“ can clearly see the pagan roots of its symbolism, so why are you all getting so uptight? Perhaps people who deride Christmas should look at all the things that are right about it rather than concentrating on the stuff they are prejudiced against: people coming together to laugh and eat and drink and exchange presents and tell stories and play games and to look forward to the future must be a universal thing. As for the peripherals of Christmas, you don’t have to „shop till you drop“ – personally, I like giving gifts, whether bought or home-made, so it’s all part of the fun. I think everyone should feel free to do what they want with this fabulous winter celebration, because regardless of its pagan or Christian connotations, the central message is the same: have fun, and love one another. Merry Christmas to you all!

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