It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Every year on December 25, going back as far as the year 273, Christmas is celebrated by nations and diverse groups of people across the world.
Christmas is the annual celebration of Christ’s birth. The way it is usually celebrated is by setting up a tree and decorating it, most commonly with various festive ornaments. Then on the night before Christmas, known as Christmas Eve, a large man with a white beard dressed in red, sneaks into your house through the chimney and delicately places gifts underneath the tree. No, it’s not a Red Sox fan or a robber trying to draw attention to himself, it’s Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, St. Nick and Kris Kringle. When children wake up on Christmas morning, they get to open the various presents left by jolly ol’ St. Nick.
Santa flies across the globe in his sleigh delivering presents to the nice boys and girls. Unless you’ve been naughty that is, then you’ll get coal. You might be thinking, sleighs can’t fly, can they? Well, you’re right. The sleigh is actually carried across the globe by Santa’s nine magical, flying reindeer. Their names are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.
But the most popular of the bunch is the lead reindeer who steers and doubles in function as a headlight. I’m of course talking about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Originally, Rudolph wasn’t even a member of the crew. He was introduced in a 1964 stop-motion animation film directed by Larry Roemer, named appropriately as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” To this day, the film is regarded as a classic and is watched by millions of people each year.
Many people create events to commemorate this amazing holiday, such as potlucks and competitions on building the best gingerbread house or decorated tree. Many companies manufacture multitude of Christmas related products to get into the “Christmas spirit.” For example, Starbucks takes a festive approach by changing up their cups with red, green and white colors in honor of the holidays.
Another way in which Christmas is celebrated is hanging stockings, basically large socks, over the fireplace. These are where the small gifts are left, like candy or little toys.
Speaking of candy, we can’t forget about candy canes. These delicious little hooks are synonymous with Christmas and are known for never staying intact when their wrapping is taken off.
With a holiday this big, you imagine there would be a lot of movies surrounding it, and you would be 100 percent right. I mentioned “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” earlier, but that was just skimming the surface. Another Christmas movie is “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” Based on the Dr. Suess children’s book, it tells the story of a green guy who hates Christmas and tries to sabotage the holiday for the people living in the fictional town of Whoville. Many versions of this movie have been created over time, with the latest one released just last year.
“Home Alone” just might be my personal favorite Christmas movie of all time. It follows an eight-year-old boy named Kevin McCallister who gets accidentally left behind at home after his family takes a vacation to Paris. As he is left alone, two men try to rob his house, but with a carefully planned out plan, Kevin manages to take them out with some ridiculous traps. One of these traps include a paint bucket hitting the robbers in the head and knocking them down the stairs, which they somehow survive through the power of kids movie logic.
Many, however, do not celebrate Christmas, and instead celebrate other holidays based on their religious or cultural practices. One of these is the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C. after Jewish warriors known as the Maccabees defeated the Syrian Seleucid Empire and regained control of Judea for the Jewish people. Hanukkah traditions include the lighting of candles on each night between Dec. 22 and Dec. 30. According to the Talmud, the primary source of Jewish theology, the Temple was purified and the wicks of the menorah miraculously burned for eight days, thus the reason the event goes on for eight days.
Christmas is beloved by people across the globe and is considered by a large portion of them as the most anticipated and beloved holiday of all. This is not only because it’s at the end of the year. It is most notable because of the joyous memories that families share. After all, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the time I got nunchucks in my stocking.