As we know, Christmas is a yearly celebration marking Jesus Christ’s birth; it is observed on 25th of December as a cultural and religious celebration among many people all over the world.

Christmas is meant to bring a message of peace and hope; however, many believe this has now been overshadowed by the over commercialisation of the holiday. Over the last century people have tended to forget the essential message of Christmas.

“The spirit of Christmas is about giving – not only gifts (which are symbolic) but a helping hand to all who need it – this is what Christmas is all about”Amit Abraham

Christmas is meant to be a time for family reunions, renewing of friendships, exchanging of gifts and for some, going away on holidays. It is supposed to be a season for spreading the spirit of joy and love.

Whilst for some preparing for Christmas begins in the Autumn – or even earlier – for a large proportion Christmas preparation nowadays tends to be at the last minute, mainly because people have busy lives working. That’s why shops and supermarkets are bursting at the seams just a few days before Christmas with last minute shoppers. For some people this can often cause stress and anxiety, whilst for others, it’s exciting and just adds to the expectation.

Gift giving has become more and more elaborate, often straining people’s already stretched purses. That’s why January is now known as a lean month because people are recovering from overspending at Christmas. Equally, you shouldn’t be surprised to see people buying Christmas items in the January sales, securing discounted items well in advance of the next holidays!

But Christmas is so much more than the gifts, overeating and partying; and sometimes we forget. Christmas is a festival of joy, its about sharing and helping others. It’s a time for being with your family and friends, for being grateful.

 “Spend Christmas with little children and old people. One hasn’t forgotten the true meaning of the season and the other still remembers it’s about love.” –  Toni Sorenson

Christians around the world celebrate Christmas in different ways following their beliefs and their traditions. For some people, Christmas is about putting up the Christmas tree, the decorations, the Christmas lights, the food or singing Christmas carols.

In Spain, children have some presents on Christmas Day, but most are opened at Epiphany, a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ (sometimes called Three Kings’ Day, and in some traditions celebrated as Little Christmas). Children believe that the Kings bring presents to them at Epiphany. They write letters to the Kings asking for toys and presents. And on Epiphany Eve (January 5th) they leave shoes on windowsills or balconies or under the Christmas Tree to be filled with presents.

Gifts are often left by children for the Kings, a glass of Cognac for each King, a satsuma and some walnuts. Sometimes a bucket of water is left for the camels that bring the Kings! If the children have been bad, the Kings might leave pieces of coal made from sugar in the presents!

In the UK, families often celebrate Christmas together so they can watch each other open their presents. Children pray that it snows so they can have a white Christmas full of snowball fights and building snowmen!

Most families have a Christmas Tree in their house. The decorating of the tree is usually a family occasion, with everyone helping.

Kids pray that their letters got to the North Pole. They put out cookies and milk hoping Santa will bring that special present they have been waiting for.

Christmas is indeed a very special time of the year; it reminds us of the importance of love, giving and sharing with friends and family. It’s highlights the importance of joy and happiness…“The spirit of Christmas is a sweet, internal peace that testifies of the power of kindness and charity.” –  Richelle E. Goodrich

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