Merry Christmas! The magical words that bring delightful smiles and laughter on the faces of children, cheers and whoops from the youth and broad smiles and grins on the more serious faces. The annual celebration and the famous stories associated with it are like a fairy tale come true, even if for a day, the end of a long wait of a year after the last celebration and now time for renewed joy and fulfilling of the promise of a good time.
Festoons and festivities
Activities during the festival include a spirit of give and take with gifts, completing an Advent calendar or advent wreath for some, Christmas Music, the singing of carols, a special meal, exchange of Christmas cards, Church services, hymns, visiting and receiving friends and relatives and a lot other merrymaking events, mark a celebration, observed and participated across the world.
Reviving the Santa Claus theme parents place gifts in a large stocking or sock in their children's bedroom while they are sleeping the previous night itself. The loved legend of the roly-poly, rollicking with laughter Santa Claus in his Red costume and red tasseled cape, his arrival on Christmas Eve on his sled pulled by the ‘moving tree’ (his reindeer) while all are sleeping, and the leaving behind of his gifts for children in the big sock or sack hung over their beds, has endured over time and still fascinates those who hear it. The wishes made by children especially for what they desired most, leaving messages for Santa to grant their wishes for the next Christmas, the sweet harmonious melodies of the Christmas carols, the lit up Christmas tree of mistletoe with gifts pinned to it for everybody and of course the sumptuous Christmas dinner taken together, are all part of a great celebration that has till this day continued a wonderful tradition.
A universally celebrated festival around the world
Christmas from “Christ’s Mass” is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed universally on December 25th as a religious and cultural celebration. The observance starts on Christmas Day and ends 12 days hence on Twelfth Night. Billions of people remember it as the birthday of Christ that ushers in the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast. The season of Christmas tide begins with Christmas, lasts 12 days and is celebrated with enthusiasm by Christian and Non-Christian believers alike. It also happens to be a Public Holiday and the celebrations have non-christians participating whole heartedly with gusto and gaiety.
Christmas has its religious significance for those embracing the faith of Christianity, butfrom time immemorial or from when the observances first began, people from all walks of life and not belonging to the faith are also part and parcel of a celebration that embraces all who chose to be a part of the big moment. While the remaining days upto the Twelfth Night are takn up in church services for different holy observances, it is Christmas Day on the 25th of December, that is the one day when the festivities have both a cultural and religious flavor, that all humanity can have a taste of.
A very good period especially for followers of the Christian faith all over the word, weddings also are planned around this time and naturally there would be many who could also be celebrating their anniversaries too round this time and would be showered with love and wedding gifts. Appreciation through wonderful anniversary mementos and appropriate presents serve as priceless heirlooms.
Christmas Cards have gained a special significance
Christmas cards are illustrated messages of greeting exchanged between friends and family members during the weeks preceding Christmas Day. Traditional greeting messages read "Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year". The first commercial Christmas card was produced by Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843. Now it is a rage and a lucrative business for those who can capitalize on them. E-cards are one of the latest in exchanges and encouraged by the youngish internet crowd.
Christmas cards which feature artwork, commercially designed and relevant to the season could have content such as the Christmas narrative with depictions of the Nativity of Jesus, Christian symbols such as the Star of Bethlehem, or a white dove that could represent both the Holy Spirit and Peace on Earth. You have the more secular ones that could depict Christmas traditions, mythical figures such as Santa Claus, objects directly associated with Christmas such as candles, holly and baubles, or a variety of images associated with the season, such as Christmastide activities, snow scenes and the wildlife of the northern winter. There are even the humorous cards and those depicting nostalgic scenes of the past that have ever been popular, cards with a poem, prayer, or Biblical verse and the simple "Season's greetings" types.
Many a nation has issued commemorative stamps at Christmastide which postal customers use to mail Christmas cards, and also a collector’s item for philatelists. These stamps are regular postage stamps, and are valid for postage year-round.
A deeper meaning for the festival
Christmas is all about giving and receiving, when gifts (something nice and endearing from the times of the Magi) are exchanged between family members, friends and sometimes given to charities, orphanages, to those much less privileged in comparison.
It is also a special occasion when one is filled with joy and happiness, when the magnanimous spirit is very much in the air, that one would like to do something more for those not so fortunate in comparison. It is at such times when one would like to share something, be the benevolence as a messenger of God, to see the radiance of the spirit flash in smiles all around, and cheer spread in those hearts, receiving.
Create your own traditions or celebrate with the traditions that have been passed down in your family. Take time off to meet somebody who has been out of touch for quite some time and re-kindle those pleasant memories. Initiate the healthy practice of giving presents to friends on such joyous occasions, for it is the giving that matters not how much the gift costs. Spend Christmas if you are a free bird with those desolate souls who yearn for a warm smile or a comforting word.
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For it is the thought of the kindness of the Almighty and the lightness of one’s heart in our tiny yet significant emulating deed, that gives us the feeling, that the true meaning of Christmas is realized when we spread happiness and joy among all those around us – for the greatest gift of all is Love.