Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2018 Santa-01Do you hear the bells ringing? Yes, Christmas is around the corner! It is a celebration to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, a central figure in Christianity, and is commonly celebrated on 25 December by majority of Christians, as well as, culturally, by non-Christians. Christmas day is also a public holiday in many countries.

Christmas is celebrated in many ways, often differently from countries to countries. Many people will go back to their hometown to reunite with their families and friends, and have a Christmas family meal together. Christmas processions will be held in the days proceeding Christmas, and on Christmas day itself, religious services will be conducted. Gift giving and gift exchanging are commonly done, and people will also send Christmas cards to families, friends, and colleagues.

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Christmas celebration is also well-known for its special decorations. Traditional colors of Christmas are red, green, and gold. Christmas trees, decorated with bells, baubles, candles, candy canes, stockings, wreaths, stars, and angels are put up in houses, shopping malls and town squares.  Houses and buildings will be decorated in Christmas lights and banners. Christmas carols and songs will be played everywhere.

Christmas is also commonly enlivened by the presence of Santa Claus, who, similarly with Sinterklaas, delivers gifts to the homes of well-behaved children. Santa Claus is usually depicted as a portly, joyous, white-bearded man, wearing a red coat with white fur collar and cuffs, white-fur-cuffed red trousers, black belts and boots. It is said that Santa Claus lives in the North Pole with his elves, who help him making the gifts in a workshop. On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus will hop on his sleigh that is pulled by his nine flying reindeer, including the famous Rudolph. He will carry an enormous bag full of gifts for children, and will deliver those gifts to all (good) children in the world just in a single night!

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Do you know that Finland is long believed to be the home of Santa Claus or Father Christmas? He is presumed to live in the Korvatunturi, or Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle. An address there receives letters to Santa Claus from all over the world. There’s also a large theme park called “Christmas Land” in the area. Another important Christmas figure is Joulupukki, which translates to “Christmas Goat.” This character was a scary goat who asked people for presents, without every giving any in return. Eventually though, he began giving gifts, a duty that was later taken on by Santa.

If you do not celebrate Christmas, you could still share the spirit by sending Christmas cards to families, friends, or colleagues who celebrate it. You could also exchange gifts with friends on Christmas day. Who knows, maybe there is a “Santa Claus” out there who knows your deepest wish, and give you the thing you want most during the gift exchange!

What about you? Tell us your favorite Christmas activity, or share your most memorable Christmas celebration!

Merry Christmas everyone, ho ho ho!

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