In order to discuss this let us first consider what the season is about. Traditionally it is a midwinter festival that the pagans held around the time of the mid winter solstice. It is also precicely 9 monthjs after the feast of the Annunciation which is celebrated by Caltholics on March 25. When the church settled on December 25 as the correct day for the celebration of the birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem there were many long and tortuous debates. In fact the Eastern Church still selects January 6 as the day and the Armenian Apostolic Church still celebrates Christmas on that day.
But for the vast majority of western cultures which have Christian routes December 25 is the day of the Birth of the Christ Child and it is one of the most observed of the Christian holidays. Falling as it does around the mid winter solstice when the days are short and cold it is an ideal time for everyone to take a break, have a large high calorie meal and sing the well known Carols that most Westerners were raised knowing.
With the rise of a secular, agnostic or outright atheistic society a fair percentage of the population of the larger industrialized countries choose to ignore the religious aspects of the feast. Nevertheless many of them actually take the holiday, eat a large meal and exchange gifts with loved ones and family.
By and large the actual feast day itself is a day for the children of the families where they receive gifts and eat too much. In the west it is a holiday too and so the kids get to be thoroughly indulged.
Traditionally Boxing day, the day after Christmas or St Stephen's day is the day when the employees of the manor used to be given their Christmas Box, which was normally a hamper of some description by the Lord of the Manor. This tradition has mostly died off.
But the simple fact is that the Christmas season is a season of goodwill and everyone largely takes it easy between that day and the New Year festivities a week later. One of the other things that is traditional is to remember friends and family who one doesn't see often. Everyone has sung 'Auld Lang Syne' on New Years Eve and translated into English that all can understand it is a toast to these folk that are hardly ever seen or thought about.
To bridge this gap Christmas Cards are used. One's Christmas Card List may include a lot of people that one hasn't spoken to in years but the exchange of Christmas cards generates a feeling of goodwill as one has had to think about them, write a message and post the missive.
If one would like to send a personal message along with some family photos then tinyprints.com can create a run of cards very quickly and have them delivered to you in time for you to address and post well before Christmas is upon us.
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