Christmas or Christmas Day (Old English: Crīstesmæsse, meaning "Christ's Mass") is an annual religious and cultural holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated generally on December 25 by billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide, which ends after the twelfth night. Christmas is a civil holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated culturally by an increasing number of non-Christians, and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.
While the birth year of Jesus is estimated among modern historians to have been between 7 and 2 BC, the exact month and day of his birth are unknown. His birth is mentioned in two of the four canonical gospels. By the early-to-mid 4th century, the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on December 25, a date later adopted in the East, although some churches celebrate on the December 25 of the older Julian calendar, which currently corresponds to January 7 in the modern-day Gregorian calendar. The date of Christmas may have initially been chosen to correspond with the day exactly nine months after early Christians believed Jesus to have been conceived, or with one or more ancient polytheistic festivals that occurred near southern solstice (i.e., the Roman winter solstice); a further solar connection has been suggested because of a biblical verse identifying Jesus as the "Sun of righteousness".
The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pagan, pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, Christmas music and caroling, an exchange of Christmas cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights,nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly. In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christ kind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.
Map of countries where Christmas is not a formal public holiday either on December 24/25 or January 6/7.
Christmas Day is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in countries around the world, including many whose populations are mostly non-Christian. In some non-Christian countries, periods of former colonial rule introduced the celebration (e.g. Hong Kong); in others, Christian minorities or foreign cultural influences have led populations to observe the holiday. Countries such as Japan, where Christmas is popular despite there being only a small number of Christians, have adopted many of the secular aspects of Christmas, such as gift-giving, decorations, and Christmas trees.
在世界各地,包括许多大部分非基督教人口聚集的地方, 圣诞节通常作為一个重大节日和公共假期来庆祝 。一些非基督教的国家,在被殖民统治时期，引入了圣诞庆祝活动 (如香港); 在其它一些國家, 受到少数基督教群和外来文化的影响，民众开始庆祝这个节日。在很多国家，如日本,尽管只有为数不多的基督教徒,圣诞节也是很受欢迎的, 他们已经接受了许多圣诞节的世俗传统, 如互赠礼物、圣诞装饰和圣诞树。
Countries in which Christmas is not a formal public holiday include Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan,Bahrain, Bhutan, Cambodia, China (excepting Hong Kong and Macao), Comoros, Iran, Israel, Japan, Kuwait,Laos, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen. Christmas celebrations around the world can vary markedly in form, reflecting differing cultural and national traditions.
Among countries with a strong Christian tradition, a variety of Christmas celebrations have developed that incorporate regional and local cultures. For Christians,
participating in a religious service plays an important part in the recognition of the season. Christmas, along with Easter, is the period of highest annual church attendance. In Catholic countries, people hold religious processions or parades in the days preceding Christmas. In other countries, secular processions or parades featuring Santa Claus and other seasonal figures are often held. Family reunions and the exchange of gifts are a widespread feature of the season. Gift giving takes place on Christmas Day in most countries. Others practice gift giving on December 6, Saint Nicholas Day, and January 6, Epiphany.
在基督教传统盛行的国家, 庆祝活动融合了很多区域及当地的文化，形式多种多样。对基督徒来说, 圣诞季一的主要特色是参与宗教仪式。圣诞节以及隨之而來的复活节是每年教堂出席人數最多的時期。在天主教国家, 人们在圣诞节前夕，会举行宗教游行或巡游。其它国家会举行以圣诞老人或应季人物为主题的游行或巡游 。家庭团聚和互赠礼物是这个时节的普遍特色。在大多数国家, 人们在圣诞节当天赠送礼物。也有人在12月6日的圣尼古拉斯節和1月6日的主显节赠送礼物。
Commemorating Jesus' birth
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary as a fulfillment of the Old Testament's Messianic prophecy. The Bible contains two accounts which describe the events surrounding Jesus' birth. Depending on one's perspective, these accounts either differ from each other or tell two versions of the same story. These biblical accounts are found in the Gospel of Matthew, namely Matthew 1:18, and the Gospel of Luke, specifically Luke 1:26 and 2:40. According to these accounts, Jesus was born to Mary, assisted by her husband Joseph, in the city of Bethlehem.
为了履行旧约中弥赛亚的预言, 基督徒庆祝天赐耶稣给圣母玛利亚。 圣经有两处描述了关于耶稣降生的事件。由于个人视角不同, 这些记载要么彼此不同, 要么講述同一故事的两个版本。这些记载一处在马太福音中, 即馬太1:18, 另一处则在路加福音, 更明确地说是在路加1:26和2:40。根据这些记载,耶稣是由玛丽，在其丈夫约瑟的帮助下，在伯利恒所生。
According to popular tradition, the birth took place in a stable, surrounded by farm animals. A manger (that is, a feeding trough) is mentioned in Luke 2:7, where it states Mary "wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (KJV); and "She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them" (NIV).Shepherds from the fields surrounding Bethlehem were told of the birth by an angel, and were the first to see the child. Popular tradition also holds that three kings or wise men (named Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar) visited the infant Jesus in the manger, though this does not strictly follow the biblical account. The Gospel of Matthew instead describes a visit by an unspecified number of , or astrologers, sometime after Jesus was born while the family was living in a house (Matthew 2:11), who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the young child Jesus. The visitors were said to be following a mysterious star, commonly known as the Star of Bethlehem, believing it to announce the birth of a king of the Jews. The commemoration of this visit, the Feast of Epiphany celebrated on January 6, is the formal end of the Christmas season in some churches.
根据较为流行的传说, 耶稣是在一个布满家畜的马厩里出生。路加福音2：7中提到马槽(也就是喂食槽),并陳述了玛丽“將他裹進襁褓並放在马槽里, 因为客棧裡没有房间可以让他们住”(新译本); 和“她把他裹進衣服裡並放在马槽里, 因为客房里已满，没有房间给他们了”(新国际版)。一位天使告知了一群来自伯利恒周边田野的牧羊人，耶稣降生了，并且他们是第一批看到孩子的人。流行版本中还提到三個国王或智者(名为梅尔基奥,卡斯帕,巴尔萨扎)拜訪了马槽裡的聖婴耶稣, 虽然這并不严格遵循圣经记载。马太福音反而描述了耶稣出生后當一家人正生活在一所房子里(马太福音2:11)的某个时候, 数目不详的智者或占星家的一次拜訪, 他們給聖嬰耶稣帶來了黄金、乳香和没药等禮物。据说这些访客们是跟隨著一顆神秘的星, 即眾所周知的伯利恒之星, 并坚信它宣布了一个犹太王子的诞生。 为了纪念这次拜访，一些教区在1月6日举行主显节盛会，同时也正式宣布圣诞季的结束。
Christians celebrate Christmas in various ways. In addition to this day being one of the most important and popular for the attendance of church services, there are other devotions and popular traditions. In some Christian denominations, children re-enact the events of the Nativity with animals to portray the event with more realism or sing carols that reference the event. A long artistic tradition has grown of producing painted depictions of the nativity in art. Nativity scenes are traditionally set in a stable with livestock and include Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus in the manger, the three wise men, the shepherds and their sheep, the angels, and the Star of Bethlehem. Some Christians also display a small re-creation of the Nativity, known as a Nativity scene or crèche, in their homes, using figurines to portray the key characters of the event. Prior to Christmas Day, the Eastern Orthodox Church practices the 40-day Nativity Fast in anticipation of the birth of Jesus, while much of Western Christianity celebrates four weeks of Advent. The final preparations for Christmas are made on Christmas Eve, and many families' major observation of Christmas actually falls in the evening of this day.
基督徒以各种方式庆祝圣诞节。除了在这最重要、最受欢迎的一天去教堂礼拜, 还有其它的祈祷和受欢迎的习俗 。在一些基督教派中, 孩子们用动物再现基督诞生的事件, 使这一事件更具现实性, 或唱涉及此事件的颂歌。用书画描绘圣诞场景成为一项悠久的艺术传统。 基督诞生场景通常被设置在一个有牲畜的马厩裡, 包括玛丽、约瑟、馬槽裡的聖婴耶稣、 三个智者、牧羊人和他們的羊, 天使和伯利恒之星。一些基督徒也展现耶稣诞生的一次小小再创造, 称为基督诞生场景或育嬰所, 在他們的家里, 使用雕像描述事件的关键人物。在圣诞节前夕, 东正教会举行为期40天的斋戒以迎接耶稣的降生, 然而对于西方基督教，会庆祝为期四周的基督降临节。圣诞节的最后准备工作会在圣诞前夜截止，许多家庭会把庆祝圣诞节的重头戏放在在这天晚上。
A typical Neapolitan presepe/presepio, or Nativity scene. Local crèches are renowned for their ornate decorations and symbolic figurines, often mirroring daily life.
The practice of putting up special decorations at Christmas has a long history.
In the 15th century, it was recorded that in London it was the custom at Christmas for every house and all the parish churches to be "decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green".
The heart-shaped leaves of ivy were said to symbolize the coming to earth of Jesus, while holly was seen as protection against pagans and witches, its thorns and red berries held to represent the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus at the crucifixion and the blood he shed.
Clifton Mill in Clifton, Ohio is the site of this Christmas display with over 3.5 million lights.
Nativity scenes are known from 10th-century Rome.
They were popularised by Saint Francis of Asissi from 1223, quickly spreading across Europe.
Different types of decorations developed across the Christian world, dependent on local tradition and available resources, and can vary from simple representations of the crib to far more elaborate sets - renowned manger scene traditions include the colourful Kraków szopka in Poland, which imitate Kraków's historical buildings as settings, the elaborate Italian presepi (Neapolitan, Genoese and Bolognese), or the Provençal crèches in southern France, using hand-painted terracotta figurines called santons.
在世界不同地区的基督教区，形成了很多不同的圣诞装饰风格，这些风格取决于当地传统和可以利用的资源，从简单的婴儿床饰物到成套的精美装饰--众所周知的马槽场景包括：波兰的彩色克里科夫马槽雕塑，它模仿色彩斑斓克里科夫市历史建筑作为基督诞生场景； 还包括 精心打造的意大利婴儿床（那不勒斯人，热那亚人和波伦亚人），或者是法国南部普罗旺斯的育婴所，这里面有手工涂色的陶瓷雕像，称为圣人。；
In certain parts of the world, notably Sicily, living nativity scenes following the tradition of Saint Francis are a popular alternative to static crèches.
The first commercially produced decorations appeared in Germany in the 1860s, inspired by paper chains made by children.
In countries where a representation of the Nativity scene is very popular, people are encouraged to compete and create the most original or realistic ones.
Within some families, the pieces used to make the representation are considered a valuable family heirloom.
The traditional colors of Christmas decorations are red, green, and gold.
Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion, while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter, and gold is the first color associated with Christmas, as one of the three gifts of the Magi, symbolizing royalty.
On Christmas Day, the Christ Candle in the center of the Advent wreath is traditionally lit in many church services.
The Christmas tree is considered by some as Christianisation of pagan tradition and ritual surrounding the Winter Solstice, which included the use of evergreen boughs, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship;
According to eighth-century biographer Æddi Stephanus, Saint Boniface (634–709), who was a missionary in Germany, took an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Thor and pointed out a fir tree, which he stated was a more fitting object of reverence because it pointed to heaven and it had a triangular shape, which he said was symbolic of the Trinity.
据8世纪传记作者Æddi Stephanus记载，德国传教士圣博尼法斯 (634–709)砍倒了供奉雷神托儿的橡树，并指出冷杉树更适合表达对雷神的崇敬，因为它直指苍穹，并且有三角轮廓可以用来代表圣父、圣子和圣灵三位一体。
The English language phrase "Christmas tree" is first recorded in 1835 and represents an importation from the German language.
The modern Christmas tree tradition is believed to have begun in Germany in the 18th century though many argue that Martin Luther began the tradition in the 16th century.
From Germany the custom was introduced to Britain, first via Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, and then more successfully by Prince Albert during the reign of Queen Victoria.
By 1841 the Christmas tree had become even more widespread throughout Britain.
By the 1870s, people in the United States had adopted the custom of putting up a Christmas tree.
Christmas trees may be decorated with lights and ornaments.
Since the 19th century, the poinsettia, a native plant from Mexico, has been associated with Christmas.
Other popular holiday plants include holly,mistletoe, red amaryllis, and Christmas cactus.
Along with a Christmas tree, the interior of a home may be decorated with these plants, along with garlands and evergreen foliage.
The display of Christmas villages has also become a tradition in many homes during this season.
The outside of houses may be decorated with lights and sometimes with illuminated sleighs, snowmen, and other Christmas figures.
Other traditional decorations include bells, candles, candy canes, stockings, wreaths, and angels.
Both the displaying of wreaths and candles in each window are a more traditional Christmas display.
The concentric assortment of leaves, usually from an evergreen, make up Christmas wreaths and are designed to prepare Christians for the Advent season.
Candles in each window are meant to demonstrate the fact that Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the ultimate light of the world.
Christmas lights and banners may be hung along streets, music played from speakers, and Christmas trees placed in prominent places.
It is common in many parts of the world for town squares and consumer shopping areas to sponsor and display decorations.
Rolls of brightly colored paper with secular or religious Christmas motifs are manufactured for the purpose of wrapping gifts.
In some countries, Christmas decorations are traditionally taken down on Twelfth Night, the evening of January 5.
Christmas carolers in Jersey
The earliest extant specifically Christmas hymns appear in 4th-century Rome. Latin hymns such as "Veni redemptor gentium", written by Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, were austere statements of the theological doctrine of the Incarnation in opposition to Arianism. "Corde natus ex Parentis" ("Of the Father's love begotten") by the Spanish poet Prudentius (d. 413) is still sung in some churches today. In the 9th and 10th centuries, the Christmas "Sequence" or "Prose" was introduced in North European monasteries, developing under Bernard of Clairvaux into a sequence of rhymed stanzas. In the 12th century the Parisian monk Adam of St. Victor began to derive music from popular songs, introducing something closer to the traditional Christmas carol.
现存年代最早的圣诞赞美诗早出现在四世纪的古罗马；比如由时任米兰主教盎博罗削所写的拉丁赞美诗《Veni redemptor gentium》，这些赞美诗朴实的阐述了”转世“这一神学教义，其观点与阿里吴教派完全相反。由西班牙诗人普鲁登修斯(d. 413)创作的圣诞颂歌《Corde natus ex Parentis》 ("Of the Father's love begotten")至今依然在一些教堂里传唱。在第九、第十世纪，圣诞“模进”或是 “散文”被引进了北欧的修道院，圣伯尔纳铎将其发展成为一系列有韵律的诗节。12世纪，圣维克多巴黎僧侣将当时一些流行歌曲的音乐运用于诗节上，创作出了接近传统圣诞颂歌的作品。
By the 13th century, in France, Germany, and particularly, Italy, under the influence of Francis of Asissi, a strong tradition of popular Christmas songs in the native language developed. Christmas carols in English first appear in a 1426 work of John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain, who lists twenty-five "caroles of Cristemas", probably sung by groups of wassailers, who went from house to house.
The songs we know specifically as carols were originally communal folk songs sung during celebrations such as "harvest tide" as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols began to be sung in church. Traditionally, carols have often been based on medieval chord patterns, and it is this that gives them their uniquely characteristic musical sound. Some carols like "Personent hodie", "Good King Wenceslas", and "The Holly and the Ivy" can be traced directly back to the Middle Ages. They are among the oldest musical compositions still regularly sung. "Adeste Fideles" (O Come all ye faithful) appears in its current form in the mid-18th century, although the words may have originated in the 13th century.
我们所知道的颂歌其实最初是大家在“丰收季”和圣诞节为了庆祝而唱的大众民歌。后来这些颂歌才在教堂传唱。传统上，颂歌的形式是以中世纪的和弦模式为基础的，所以这就让颂歌的乐律有了独特的风格。就像《Personent hodie》, 《Good King Wenceslas》, 和 《The Holly and the Ivy》这些颂歌就可以追溯到中世纪。至今仍在传唱的圣歌中，他们的历史最为悠久。现在所见的”齐来崇拜歌“(O Come all ye faithful)产生于18世纪，但是可能早在十三世纪它的歌词就已经产生。
Child singers in Bucharest, 1841
Singing of carols initially suffered a decline in popularity after the Protestant Reformation in northern Europe, although some Reformers, like Martin Luther, wrote carols and encouraged their use in worship. Carols largely survived in rural communities until the revival of interest in popular songs in the 19th century. The 18th-century English reformer Charles Wesley understood the importance of music to worship. In addition to setting many psalms to melodies, which were influential in the Great Awakening in the United States, he wrote texts for at least three Christmas carols. The best known was originally entitled "Hark! How All the Welkin Rings", later renamed "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing". Felix Mendelssohn wrote a melody adapted to fit Wesley's words. In Austria in 1818 Mohr and Gruber made a major addition to the genre when they composed "Silent Night" for the St. Nicholas Church, Oberndorf. William Sandys' Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833) contained the first appearance in print of many now-classic English carols, and contributed to the mid-Victorian revival of the festival.
在北欧，虽然有像马丁 路德这样的改革者依然在写颂歌并且鼓励教徒在祷告时唱颂歌，但是受到宗教改革的影响，颂歌的传唱还是遭遇了一定时期的衰退，直到十九世纪流行音乐的复兴，大部分颂歌才在乡下的社区里又流行开来。十八世纪时，英国改革者查理 卫斯理认识到了音乐对于祷告的重要性。他为圣经中的诗篇加上旋律，对美国的大觉醒运动产生了一定的影响。除此之外，他还创作了至少三首圣诞颂歌的歌词。他创作的颂歌中最有名的一首名为 "Hark! How All the Welkin Rings"，之后更名为"Hark! the Herald Angels Sing"（《听啊，天使们唱高声》）。同时费利克斯 门德尔松为卫斯理的歌词配上了乐曲。1818年，奥地利的约瑟夫 摩尔和弗兰茨 艾克塞瓦 格鲁伯为欧本多夫的圣尼古拉教堂谱写了"Silent Night"（《平安夜》），又为圣诞颂歌增添了一首著作。William Sandys所著的《Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern》(1833)第一次将许多现在已经成为经典的英文颂歌印刷了出来，为维多利亚王朝中期圣诞节的复兴做出了贡献。
Jingle Bells, 19th century (instrumental)
Completely secular Christmas seasonal songs emerged in the late 18th century. "Deck The Halls" dates from 1784, and the American "Jingle Bells" was copyrighted in 1857. In the 19th and 20th century, African American spirituals and songs about Christmas, based in their tradition of spirituals, became more widely known. An increasing number of seasonal holidays songs were commercially produced in the 20th century, including jazz and blues variations. In addition, there was a revival of interest in early music, from groups singing folk music, such as The Revels, to performers of early medieval and classical music.
完全世俗的圣诞季歌曲出现在十八世纪末期。圣诞歌曲"Deck The Halls"可追溯到1784年, 而美国的"Jingle Bells" （《铃儿响叮当》）则是在1857年出版的。在十九、二十世纪，非裔美国人关于圣诞的圣歌是建立在他们圣歌传统之上的，这种歌现在变得广为人知。二十世纪，越来越多的节日歌曲应商业化需求产生，包括爵士乐和布鲁斯变奏曲。此外，人们对早期音乐的热忱有所回升，出现了演唱乡村音乐的乐队（比如，The Revels）和演奏早期中世纪音乐和古典音乐的表演者。
Christmas pudding cooked on Stir-up Sunday, the Sunday before the beginning of the Advent season
A special Christmas family meal is traditionally an important part of the holiday's celebration, and the food that is served varies greatly from country to country. Some regions, such as Sicily, have special meals for Christmas Eve, when 12 kinds of fish are served. In the United Kingdom and countries influenced by its traditions, a standard Christmas meal includes turkey or goose, meat, gravy, potatoes, vegetables, sometimes bread and cider. Special desserts are also prepared, such as Christmas pudding, mince pies, and fruit cake.
一顿特别的圣诞节家庭餐是圣诞节必不可少的传统。而且餐桌上的食物也因国家不同而大有差异。有一些地区,比如西西里岛,在圣诞前夜会有特别的晚餐，通常是12种不同种类的鱼。而在英国或是其他一些受当地传统影响的国家，一顿标准的圣诞晚餐则包含了火鸡或鹅，肉类，肉汤 ，土豆，蔬菜，有时也会有面包和苹果酒。当然也会准备一些特色甜品，比如圣诞布丁, 肉馅饼以及水果蛋糕。
In Poland and other parts of eastern Europe and Scandinavia, fish often is used for the traditional main course, but richer meat such as lamb is increasingly served. In Germany, France, and Austria, goose and pork are favored. Beef, ham, and chicken in various recipes are popular throughout the world. The Maltese traditionally serve Imbuljuta tal-Qastan, a chocolate and chestnuts beverage, after Midnight Mass and throughout the Christmas season. Slovaks prepare the traditional Christmas bread potica, bûche de Noël in France, panettone in Italy, and elaborate tarts and cakes. The eating of sweets and chocolates has become popular worldwide, and sweeter Christmas delicacies include the German stollen, marzipan cake or candy, and Jamaican rum fruit cake. As one of the few fruits traditionally available to northern countries in winter, oranges have been long associated with special Christmas foods.Eggnog is a sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture). Spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon are often added. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
在波兰、东欧其他地区以及斯堪的纳维亚半岛地区，鱼通常是传统主菜，但是那些比较贵的内类，比如羊肉也越来越多的出现在餐桌上。在德国、法国、奥地利，鹅肉和猪肉备受人们喜爱。用不同方法烹饪的牛肉，火腿和鸡肉备受世界各地人们的欢迎。马耳他人会在午夜弥撒之后的整个圣诞季享用圣诞巧克力栗子汤,这是一种由巧克力和栗子肉做成的传统饮料。斯洛伐克人在圣诞节准备传统的圣诞面包—“potica”；法国人则准备圣诞树干蛋糕 (“bûche de Noël ”)；意大利是潘娜托尼面包 (panettone),精致的蛋挞和蛋糕。吃甜食和巧克力的习惯已经在世界上散播开来，而更加甜美的圣诞佳肴还有德国的德式圣诞水果面包,由杏仁糖霜（marzipan）点缀的蛋糕或制成的蛋白糖；和牙买加朗姆水果蛋糕， 柑橘作为少数几种在北方国家的冬季还能出产的水果，自然也是圣诞节传统食物。而蛋酒（Eggnog）是一种加糖乳制的甜饮料，一般它是由牛奶或奶油, 糖,打匀的鸡蛋(鸡蛋让蛋酒有了泡沫的质感）制成。同时像白兰地、朗姆、波本威士忌这样的烈性酒也会被加到其中；最后，还会撒上一些肉桂或是肉豆蔻的粉末以作装饰。
Christmas cards are illustrated messages of greeting exchanged between friends and family members during the weeks preceding Christmas Day. The traditional greeting reads "wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year", much like that of the first commercial Christmas card, produced by Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843. The custom of sending them has become popular among a wide cross-section of people with the emergence of the modern trend towards exchanging E-cards.
Christmas cards are purchased in considerable quantities, and feature artwork, commercially designed and relevant to the season. The content of the design might relate directly to the Christmas narrative with depictions of the Nativity of Jesus, or Christian symbols such as the Star of Bethlehem, or a white dove which can represent both the Holy Spirit and Peace on Earth. Other Christmas cards are more secular and can 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 humorous cards and genres depicting nostalgic scenes of the past such as crinolined shoppers in idealized 19th century streetscapes.
Some prefer cards with a poem, prayer, or Biblical verse; while others distance themselves from religion with an all-inclusive "Season's greetings".
A number of nations have issued commemorative stamps at Christmastide. Postal customers will often use these stamps to mail Christmas cards, and they are popular with philatelists. These stamps are regular postage stamps, unlike Christmas seals, and are valid for postage year-round. They usually go on sale some time between early October and early December, and are printed in considerable quantities.
In 1898 a Canadian stamp was issued to mark the inauguration of the Imperial Penny Postage rate. The stamp features a map of the globe and bears an inscription "XMAS 1898" at the bottom. In 1937, Austria issued two "Christmas greeting stamps" featuring a rose and the signs of the zodiac. In 1939, Brazil issued four semi-postal stamps with designs featuring the three kings and a star of Bethlehem, an angel and child, the Southern Cross and a child, and a mother and child.
Both the US Postal Service and the Royal Mail regularly issue Christmas-themed stamps each year.
The exchanging of gifts is one of the core aspects of the modern Christmas celebration, making it the most profitable time of year for retailers and businesses throughout the world. Gift giving was common in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, an ancient festival which took place in late December and may have influenced Christmas customs. On Christmas, people exchange gifts based on the tradition associated with St. Nicholas, and the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh which were given to the baby Jesus by the Magi.
Sinterklaas or Saint Nicholas, considered by many to be the original Santa Claus
A number of figures are associated with Christmas and the seasonal giving of gifts. Among these are Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus (derived from the Dutch for Saint Nicholas), Père Noël, and the Weihnachtsmann; Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas; the Christkind; Kris Kringle; Joulupukki; Babbo Natale; Saint Basil; and Father Frost.
很多人物都和圣诞节及送礼物相关。其中有Father Christmas，也被叫做Santa Claus（源自荷兰语Saint Nicholas），Père Noël，和Weihnachtsmann，Saint Nicholas或Sinterklaas，Christkind，Kris Kringle，Joulupukki，Babbo Natale，Saint Basil，以及Father Frost。
The best known of these figures today is red-dressed Santa Claus, of diverse origins. The name Santa Claus can be traced back to the Dutch Sinterklaas, which means simply Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was Bishop of Myra, in modern-day Turkey, during the 4th century. Among other saintly attributes, he was noted for the care of children, generosity, and the giving of gifts. His feast on December 6 came to be celebrated in many countries with the giving of gifts.
Saint Nicholas traditionally appeared in bishop's attire, accompanied by helpers, inquiring about the behaviour of children during the past year before deciding whether they deserved a gift or not. By the 13th century, Saint Nicholas was well known in the Netherlands, and the practice of gift-giving in his name spread to other parts of central and southern Europe. At the Reformation in 16th–17th-century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkind, corrupted in English to Kris Kringle, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve.
Saint Nicholas通常穿着主教的服装出现，由他的助手伴随，打听孩子们在过去一年的表现，以决定是否应该给他们礼物。直到13世纪，Saint Nicholas在荷兰非常出名，以他的名字赠送礼物的举动传播到欧洲中部和南部的其他地区。欧洲16至17世纪宗教改革中，许多新教徒把送礼物的人改为圣童或圣婴，在英国演变成了 Kris Kringle，赠送礼物的日期由12月6日改为圣诞前夕平安夜。
The modern popular image of Santa Claus, however, was created in the United States, and in particular in New York. The transformation was accomplished with the aid of notable contributors including Washington Irving and the German-American cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840–1902). Following the American Revolutionary War, some of the inhabitants of New York City sought out symbols of the city's non-English past. New York had originally been established as the Dutch colonial town of New Amsterdam and the Dutch Sinterklaas tradition was reinvented as Saint Nicholas.
然而，现代流行的圣诞老人形象始创于美国，更具体地说是是纽约。这种转变是在著名的Washington Irving和德裔美国漫画家Thomas Nast（1840-1902）的帮助下完成的。美国独立战争后，一些纽约市的居民寻找这个城市没受英国影响之前的特征。纽约成立之初，是一个荷兰的殖民小镇，被称为新阿姆斯特丹，荷兰的Sinterklaas传统被重新改造成Saint Nicholas。
In 1809, the New-York Historical Society convened and retroactively named Sancte Claus the patron saint of New Amsterdam, the Dutch name for New York City. At his first American appearance in 1810, Santa Claus was drawn in bishops' robes. However as new artists took over, Santa Claus developed more secular attire. Nast drew a new image of "Santa Claus" annually, beginning in 1863. By the 1880s, Nast's Santa had evolved into the modern vision of the figure, perhaps based on the English figure of Father Christmas. The image was standardized by advertisers in the 1920s and continues through the present day.
Father Christmas, a jolly, well nourished, bearded man who typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, predates the Santa Claus character. He is first recorded in early 17th century England, but was associated with holiday merrymaking and drunkenness rather than the bringing of gifts. In Victorian Britain, his image was remade to match that of Santa. The French Père Noël evolved along similar lines, eventually adopting the Santa image. In Italy, Babbo Natale acts as Santa Claus, while La Befana is the bringer of gifts and arrives on the eve of the Epiphany. It is said that La Befana set out to bring the baby Jesus gifts, but got lost along the way. Now, she brings gifts to all children. In some cultures Santa Claus is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, or Black Peter. In other versions, elves make the toys. His wife is referred to as Mrs. Claus.
圣诞之父，是一个令人愉快的、身宽体胖的、长胡须的男人，他代表了圣诞节中欢乐愉快的精神，是早于圣诞老人的人物。关于他，最早的记录出现在17世纪初英格兰，但与节日狂欢和醉酒相关，与赠送礼物无关。在英国维多利亚时代，他的形象被重新描绘成与圣诞老人相匹配的形象。法国的Père Noël沿着类似的线路演化，最终采用了圣诞老人的形象。在意大利，Babbo Natale扮演圣诞老人的角色，而La Befana是礼物的赠送者，在主显节的前夕降临。据说，La Befana打算去给婴儿耶稣送礼物，但路上迷路了。现在，她给所有孩子带去礼物。在一些文化中，圣诞老人由Knecht Ruprecht或Black Peter陪伴着。在其他版本中，玩具是由侏儒制造的。圣诞老人的妻子被称为Mrs Claus。
Santa Claus reacts to a toy request (Jonathan Meath as Santa)
There has been some opposition to the narrative of the American evolution of Saint Nicholas into the modern Santa. It has been claimed that the Saint Nicholas Society was not founded until 1835, almost half a century after the end of the American War of Independence. Moreover, a study of the "children's books, periodicals and journals" of New Amsterdam by Charles Jones revealed no references to Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas. However, not all scholars agree with Jones's findings, which he reiterated in a book-length study in 1978; Howard G. Hageman, of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, maintains that the tradition of celebrating Sinterklaas in New York was alive and well from the early settlement of the Hudson Valley on.
有人不同意美国把Saint Nicholas演化成现代的圣诞老人的故事的说法，声称Saint Nicholas学会直到1835年美国独立战争结束后大约半个世纪的时间才建立，。此外，一项由Charles Jones进行的关于新阿姆斯特丹的儿童图书、期刊和杂志的调查研究中显示没有关于Saint Nicholas或Sinterklaas的相关文献。然而，不是所有的学者都同意Jones的结论，尽管如此，1978年他在长达一本书的研究中重申了这一结论。新不伦瑞克神学院的Howard G. Hageman认为，纽约庆祝Sinterklaas的传统的从早期占领Hudson山谷的时候，就已开始而且到现在仍然存在。
Current tradition in several Latin American countries (such as Venezuela and Colombia) holds that while Santa makes the toys, he then gives them to the Baby Jesus, who is the one who actually delivers them to the children's homes, a reconciliation between traditional religious beliefs and the iconography of Santa Claus imported from the United States.
In South Tyrol (Italy), Austria, Czech Republic, Southern Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, and Switzerland, the Christkind (Ježíšek in Czech, Jézuska in Hungarian and Ježiško in Slovak) brings the presents. Greek children get their presents from Saint Basil on New Year's Eve, the eve of that saint's liturgical feast. The German St. Nikolaus is not identical with the Weihnachtsmann (who is the German version of Santa Claus / Father Christmas). St. Nikolaus wears a bishop's dress and still brings small gifts (usually candies, nuts, and fruits) on December 6 and is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht. Although many parents around the world routinely teach their children about Santa Claus and other gift bringers, some have come to reject this practice, considering it deceptive.
在南蒂罗尔（意大利），奥地利，捷克共和国，德国南部，匈牙利，列支敦士登，斯洛伐克，和瑞士，Christkind（捷克语中是Ježíšek，匈牙利语中是Jézuska，斯洛伐克语中是Ježiško）会带来礼物。希腊儿童在新年前夕，即圣人的礼拜仪式宴会前夕，从Saint Basil那里收取他们的礼物。德国的St. Nikolaus不等同于Weihnachtsmann（德国版本的圣诞老人）。St. Nikolaus在12月6日穿着主教的服装，仍然是拿着小礼物（通常是糖果、坚果和水果）在Knecht Ruprecht的陪同下出现。虽然世界各地许多父母通常都会给孩子们讲关于圣诞老人和其他礼物赠送者的故事，但一些人反对这种做法，认为那是骗人的。
The Chronography of 354, an illuminated manuscript compiled in Rome, is an early reference to the date of the nativity as December 25. In the East, early Christians celebrated the birth of Christ as part of Epiphany (January 6), although this festival emphasized celebration of the baptism of Jesus.
Christmas was promoted in the Christian East as part of the revival of Catholicism following the death of the pro-Arian Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. The feast was introduced to Constantinoplein 379, and to Antioch in about 380. The feast disappeared after Gregory of Nazianzus resigned as bishop in 381, although it was reintroduced by John Chrysostom in about 400.
In the Early Middle Ages, Christmas Day was overshadowed by Epiphany, which in western Christianity focused on the visit of the magi. But the medieval calendar was dominated by Christmas-related holidays. The forty days before Christmas became the "forty days of St. Martin" (which began on November 11, the feast of St. Martin of Tours), now known as Advent.In Italy, former Saturnalian traditions were attached to Advent. Around the 12th century, these traditions transferred again to the Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25 – January 5); a time that appears in the liturgical calendars as Christmastide or Twelve Holy Days.
The prominence of Christmas Day increased gradually after Charlemagne was crowned Emperor on Christmas Day in 800. King Edmund the Martyr was anointed on Christmas in 855 and King William I of England was crowned on Christmas Day 1066.
By the High Middle Ages, the holiday had become so prominent that chroniclers routinely noted where various magnates celebrated Christmas. King Richard II of England hosted a Christmas feast in 1377 at which twenty-eight oxen and three hundred sheep were eaten. The Yule boar was a common feature of medieval Christmas feasts. Caroling also became popular, and was originally a group of dancers who sang. The group was composed of a lead singer and a ring of dancers that provided the chorus. Various writers of the time condemned caroling as lewd, indicating that the unruly traditions of Saturnalia and Yule may have continued in this form. "Misrule"—drunkenness, promiscuity, gambling—was also an important aspect of the festival. In England, gifts were exchanged on New Year's Day, and there was special Christmas ale.
Christmas during the Middle Ages was a public festival that incorporated ivy, holly, and other evergreens. Christmas gift-giving during the Middle Ages was usually between people with legal relationships, such as tenant and landlord. The annual indulgence in eating, dancing, singing, sporting, and card playing escalated in England, and by the 17th century the Christmas season featured lavish dinners, elaborate masques, and pageants. In 1607, King James I insisted that a play be acted on Christmas night and that the court indulge in games. It was during the Reformation in 16th–17th-century Europe that many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve.
Reformation to the 18th century
Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present. From Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, 1843.
Following the Protestant Reformation, many of the new denominations, including the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church, continued to celebrate Christmas. In 1629, the Anglican poet John Milton penned On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, a poem that has since been read by many during Christmastide. Donald Heinz, a professor at California State University, states that Martin Luther "inaugurated a period in which Germany would produce a unique culture of Christmas, much copied in North America." Among the congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church, Christmas was celebrated as one of the principal evangelical feasts.
However, in 17th century England, some groups such as the Puritans, strongly condemned the celebration of Christmas, considering it a Catholic invention and the "trappings of popery" or the "rags of the Beast". In contrast, the established Anglican Church "pressed for a more elaborate observance of feasts, penitential seasons, and saints' days. The calendar reform became a major point of tension between the Anglican party and the Puritan party." The Catholic Church also responded, promoting the festival in a more religiously oriented form. King Charles I of England directed his noblemen and gentry to return to their landed estates in midwinter to keep up their old-style Christmas generosity. Following the Parliamentarian victory over Charles I during the English Civil War, England's Puritan rulers banned Christmas in 1647.
Protests followed as pro-Christmas rioting broke out in several cities and for weeks Canterbury was controlled by the rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and shouted royalist slogans. The book, The Vindication of Christmas (London, 1652), argued against the Puritans, and makes note of Old English Christmas traditions, dinner, roast apples on the fire, card playing, dances with "plow-boys" and "maidservants", and carol singing.
The Restoration of King Charles II in 1660 ended the ban, but many Calvinist clergymen still disapproved of Christmas celebration. As such, in Scotland, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland discouraged the observance of Christmas, and though James VI commanded its celebration in 1618, attendance at church was scant. The Parliament of Scotland officially abolished the observance of Christmas in 1640, claiming that the church had been "purged of all superstitious observation of days". It was not until 1958 that Christmas again became a Scottish public holiday.
Despite the disapproval of many people in Britain, others continued to celebrate the Christmas season. Following the Restoration, Poor Robins Almanack contained the lines:
Now thanks to God for Charles return
Whose absence made old Christmas mourn
For then we scarcely did it know
Whether it Christmas were or no
虽然英国很多人都抵制圣诞节，其他人仍然在庆祝圣诞节。查理二世复辟后，Poor Robins Almanack写了一首诗：
The diary of James Woodforde, from the latter half of the 18th century, details the observance of Christmas and celebrations associated with the season over a number of years.
In Colonial America, the Puritans of New England shared radical Protestant disapproval of Christmas. Celebration was outlawed in Boston from 1659 to 1681. The ban by the Pilgrims was revoked in 1681 by English governor Sir Edmund Andros, however it was not until the mid-19th century that celebrating Christmas became fashionable in the Boston region.
在殖民时期的美国，新英格兰的清教徒和激进的新教徒都否认圣诞节，1659到1681年波士顿禁止任何庆祝活动。1681年，一位英国官员Sir Edmund Andros废除了这项清教徒的禁令，然而直到19世纪中期庆祝圣诞节才真正在波士顿地区流行起来。
At the same time, Christian residents of Virginia and New York observed the holiday freely. Pennsylvania German Settlers, pre-eminently the Moravian settlers of Bethlehem, Nazareth and Lititz in Pennsylvania and the Wachovia Settlements in North Carolina, were enthusiastic celebrators of Christmas. The Moravians in Bethlehem had the first Christmas trees in America as well as the first Nativity Scenes. Christmas fell out of favor in the United States after the American Revolution, when it was considered an English custom. George Washington attacked Hessian (German) mercenaries on the day after Christmas during the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776, Christmas being much more popular in Germany than in America at this time.
Relation to concurrent celebrations
Prior to and through the early Christian centuries, winter festivals—especially those centered on the winter solstice—were the most popular of the year in many European pagan cultures. Reasons included the fact that less agricultural work needs to be done during the winter, as well as an expectation of better weather as spring approached. Many modern Christmas customs have been directly influenced by such festivals, including gift-giving and merrymaking from the Roman Saturnalia, greenery, lights, and charity from the Roman New Year, and Yule logs and various foods from Germanic feasts. Pagan Scandinavia celebrated a winter festival called Yule, held in the late December to early January period. As northern Europe was the last part to Christianize, its pagan traditions had a major influence on Christmas there, an example being the Koleda, which was incorporated into the Christmas carol. Scandinavians still call Christmas Jul. In English, the word Yule is synonymous with Christmas, a usage first recorded in 900.
Dies Natalis Solis Invicti
Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means "the birthday of the Unconquered Sun", a festival inaugurated by the Roman emperor Aurelian to celebrate the sun god and celebrated at the winter solstice, 25 December. During the reign of the emperor Constantine, Christian writers assimilated this feast as the birthday of Jesus, associating him with the 'sun of righteousness' mentioned in Malachi 4:2 (Sol Iustitiae). In his work Adversus Haereses, Irenaeus (c. 130–202) identified the conception of Jesus as March 25 and linked it to the crucifixion, with the birth of Jesus nine months after on December 25. Celebration of the conception of Jesus, known as the Annunciation, became associated with the spring equinox, thus led to Christmas coinciding with the winter solstice. An anonymous work known as De Pascha Computus (243) linked the idea that creation began at the spring equinox, on 25 March with the conception or birth (the wordnascor can mean either) of Jesus on 28 March, the day of the creation of the sun in the Genesis account. One translation reads: "O the splendid and divine providence of the Lord, that on that day, the very day, on which the sun was made, the 28 March, a Wednesday, Christ should be born. For this reason Malachi the prophet, speaking about him to the people, fittingly said, 'Unto you shall the sun of righteousness arise, and healing is in his wings.'
无敌太阳神诞辰意味着“所向披靡太阳神的生日“，由罗马皇帝奥勒良发起，确立在冬至日12月25日太阳神庆生。在康斯坦丁君主统治期间，基督教作家在 《玛拉基书》第 4章第2节中把这个节日规化为耶稣的诞辰.将耶稣与“正义（公义）的太阳神（Sol Lustitiae）”联系起来。在《驳斥异论》中，埃雷尼厄斯（约公元130-202年）证实3月25日耶稣成孕，将这一日与十字架受难相联系（联系起来），9个月之后，即12月25日，耶稣出生。耶稣成孕日，又名天使报喜节，逐渐和春分联系起来，因此圣诞节就和冬至联系到了一起（自然而然地和冬至联系在一起）。一部作者不详称作“ De Pascha Computus(243)”的作品将3月25日春分时节万物复苏和3月28日耶稣成孕联系起来（均与nascor同义），3月28日也是《创世纪》中神创造太阳的日子而这一日正是《创世纪》中神创造太阳的日子）。一段译文写道：“啊，神圣而全能的神，在这一天，就是这一天，太阳被创造出来，3月28日，一个周三，耶稣也应该在这一天降生。因为这个原因，先知玛拉基对世人提起他，适切得说道，‘正义的太阳神为你们升起（公义的太阳神在你的头顶升起），他的羽翼能治愈伤痛。’”。
In the fourth century, John Chrysostom, who promoted the celebration on 25 December, commented on the connection: "But Our Lord, too, is born in the month of December ... the eight before the calends of January [25 December] ..., But they call it the 'Birthday of the Unconquered'. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord ...? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice." With regard to a December religious feast of the sun as a god (Sol), as distinct from a solstice feast of the (re)birth of the astronomical sun, one scholar has commented that, "while the winter solstice on or around December 25 was well established in the Roman imperial calendar, there is no evidence that a religious celebration of Sol on that day antedated the celebration of Christmas". "Thomas Talley has shown that, although the Emperor Aurelian's dedication of a temple to the sun god in the Campus Martius (C.E. 274) probably took place on the 'Birthday of the Invincible Sun' on December 25, the cult of the sun in pagan Rome ironically did not celebrate the winter solstice nor any of the other quarter-tense days, as one might expect." TheOxford Companion to Christian Thought remarks on the uncertainty about the order of precedence between the religious celebrations of the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun and of the birthday of Jesus, stating that the hypothesis that 25 December was chosen for celebrating the birth of Jesus on the basis of the belief that his conception occurred on 25 March "potentially establishes 25 December as a Christian festival before Aurelian's decree, which, when promulgated, might have provided for the Christian feast both opportunity and challenge".
In the early 19th century, writers imagined Tudor Christmas as a time of heartfelt celebration. In 1843,Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol that helped revive the "spirit" of Christmas and seasonal merriment. Its instant popularity played a major role in portraying Christmas as a holiday emphasizing family, goodwill, and compassion.
The Queen's Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, published in the Illustrated London News, 1848, and republished in Godey's Lady's Book, Philadelphia, December 1850.
Dickens sought to construct Christmas as a family-centered festival of generosity, in contrast to the community-based and church-centered observations, the observance of which had dwindled during the late 18th century and early 19th century. Superimposing his humanitarian vision of the holiday, in what has been termed "Carol Philosophy", Dickens influenced many aspects of Christmas that are celebrated today in Western culture, such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games, and a festive generosity of spirit. A prominent phrase from the tale, "Merry Christmas", was popularized following the appearance of the story. This coincided with the appearance of the Oxford Movement and the growth of Anglo-Catholicism, which led a revival in traditional rituals and religious observances.
The term Scrooge became a synonym for miser, with "Bah! Humbug!" dismissive of the festive spirit. In 1843, the first commercial Christmas card was produced by Sir Henry Cole. The revival of the Christmas Carol began with William Sandys "Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern" (1833), with the first appearance in print of ""The First Noel", "I Saw Three Ships", "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen", popularized in Dickens' "A Christmas Carol".
“Scrooge(狄更斯《圣诞颂歌》中的一个角色，是个吝啬鬼)”演变成“miser(守财奴)”的同义词，“呸！走开！”表达了Scrooge对节日的轻蔑情绪。1843年，第一张商业圣诞卡出自Sir Henry Cole之手。圣诞歌曲的再度流行源于1833年William Sandys《古往今来的圣诞颂歌》的出版，此书使《The First Noel》，《 I Saw Three Ships》，《Hark the Herald Angels Sing》，《God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman》这些歌曲首次以印刷形式出现。后来狄更斯的《圣诞颂歌》一书的出版使圣诞歌曲被广为传唱。
In Britain, the Christmas tree was introduced in the early 19th century following the personal union with the Kingdom of Hanover by Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III. In 1832, the future Queen Victoria wrote about her delight at having a Christmas tree, hung with lights, ornaments, and presents placed round it. After her marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert, by 1841 the custom became more widespread throughout Britain.
An image of the British royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle created a sensation when it was published in the Illustrated London News in 1848. A modified version of this image was published in the United States in 1850. By the 1870s, putting up a Christmas tree had become common in America.
A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph Tidemand
In America, interest in Christmas had been revived in the 1820s by several short stories by Washington Irving which appear in his The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. and "Old Christmas". Irving's stories depicted harmonious warm-hearted English Christmas festivities he experienced while staying in Aston Hall, Birmingham, England, that had largely been abandoned, and he used the tract Vindication of Christmas (1652) of Old English Christmas traditions, that he had transcribed into his journal as a format for his stories. In 1822, Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem A Visit From St. Nicholas(popularly known by its first line: Twas the Night Before Christmas).The poem helped popularize the tradition of exchanging gifts, and seasonal Christmas shopping began to assume economic importance. This also started the cultural conflict between the holiday's spiritual significance and its associated commercialism that some see as corrupting the holiday. In her 1850 book The First Christmas in New England, Harriet Beecher Stowe includes a character who complains that the true meaning of Christmas was lost in a shopping spree.
19世纪20年代，受到华盛顿•欧文《见闻札记》里几篇短篇小说的影响，美国人民重新燃起了对圣诞节的兴趣。欧文的小说描绘了他在英国伯明翰阿斯顿宫度过的让人倍感温馨愉悦的英式圣诞节，当时，这种圣诞节已经难寻踪迹了。他借鉴了描写传统英式圣诞节的小册子《 Vindication of Christmas》，将它写进了日记里，以此作为小说的原型。Clement Clarke Moore1822年写下诗歌《A Visit From St. Nicholas》（此诗因第一句而广为人知：Twas the Night Before Christmas）。这首诗让交换礼物这样的传统广为流行，圣诞大采购也由此开始具有重要的经济意义。于是，文化冲突出现了——圣诞节不再仅具精神意义，还融合了商业性——有些人认为商业性毁了节日的本质。1850年，在Harriet Beecher Stowe的《The First Christmas in New England》一书中，有个角色就抱怨圣诞节的真正意义已在购物狂欢中丧失殆尽。
While the celebration of Christmas was not yet customary in some regions in the U.S., Henry Wadsworth Longfellow detected "a transition state about Christmas here in New England" in 1856. "The old puritan feeling prevents it from being a cheerful, hearty holiday; though every year makes it more so." In Reading, Pennsylvania, a newspaper remarked in 1861, "Even our presbyterian friends who have hitherto steadfastly ignored Christmas—threw open their church doors and assembled in force to celebrate the anniversary of the Savior's birth."
当时庆祝圣诞节在美国的一些地区还没有成为一项习俗，但在1856年，Henry Wadsworth Longfellow还是察觉出“新英格兰的圣诞节正处在一个过渡阶段”。“清教徒的传统心理让他们想阻止圣诞节成为喧闹愉快的节日；结果却是这种热闹的节日氛围年复一年的愈演愈烈。”宾夕法尼亚州伯克郡县城1861年的报纸上登过这么一段话：长老会的友人们，尽管他们至今依然坚决对圣诞节不理不睬，却大开教堂之门，聚集大批群众以庆祝这一年一度的救世主的生日。
The First Congregational Church of Rockford, Illinois, "although of genuine Puritan stock", was 'preparing for a grand Christmas jubilee', a news correspondent reported in 1864. By 1860, fourteen states including several from New England had adopted Christmas as a legal holiday. In 1875, Louis Prang introduced the Christmas card to Americans. He has been called the "father of the American Christmas card". In 1885, Christmas was formally declared a United States federal holiday.
Up to the 1950s, in the UK, many Christmas customs were restricted to the upper classes and better-off families. The mass of the population had not adopted many of the Christmas rituals that later became general. The Christmas tree was rare. Christmas dinner might be beef — certainly not turkey. In their stockings children might get an apple, orange and sweets. Full celebration of a family Christmas with all the trimmings only became widespread with increased prosperity from the 1950s. National papers were published on Christmas Day until 1912. Post was still delivered on Christmas Day until 1961. League football matches continued in Scotland until the 1970s while in England they ceased at the end of the 1950s.
Under the state atheism of the Soviet Union, after its foundation in 1917, Christmas celebrations—along with other Christian holidays—were prohibited. The League of Militant Atheists encouraged school pupils to campaign against Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, as well as other Christian holidays, including Easter; the League established an anti-religious holiday to be the 31st of each month as a replacement. Furthermore, on Christmas Day, children in Moscow were encouraged to spit on crucifixes as protest against this holiday. It was not until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 that the persecution ended and Christmas was celebrated for the first time in Russia after seven decades.
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