The Origins of Christmas

From a religious standpoint, Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. In addition, Christmas has become a cultural holiday for many over the years with the evolution of St. Nicholas into Santa Claus.

When Christmas is Observed

The Christmas season begins for Western Christianity and some of the Eastern Churches on December 24 with Christmas Eve followed by Christmas Day on December 25 and runs through either the Epiphany or the Baptism. The Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian Evangelical Church, and some Anabaptists recognize January 6 as Christmas. Most Oriental Orthodox and some of the Eastern Orthodox churches recognize Christmas on January 7. 

How Christmas is Celebrated

Christmas Day is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in countries around the world, including many whose populations are mostly non-Christian. Popular traditions include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends, and waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.