Christmas is a traditional Christian festival marking the birth of Jesus. Most, although not all, Christians observe this festival on December 25th. However, Christmas is now celebrated as a holiday by many people and cultures besides Christians, and indeed many Christmas traditions originated with pre-Christian observances that were subsumed into Christianity (e.g. Saturnalia, Yule or the Winter Solstice).
In predominantly Christian countries, Christmas has become the most economically significant holiday of the year, and it is also celebrated as a secular holiday in many countries with small Christian populations like Japan. It is largely characterized by gifts being exchanged within families and being brought by Santa Claus, Father Christmas or by other mythical figures. Local and regional Christmas traditions are still rich and varied, despite the widespread influence of American and British Christmas motifs disseminated by globalisation, popular literature, television, and other media.
The word Christmas is a contraction of Christ’s Mass, derived from the Old English Cristes maesse. It is often abbreviated Xmas, the X originates from the Greek letter X (chi) which has often historically been used as an abbreviation for Christ.
HistoryPodcast 39 – Christmas.mp3 22:06 – 20.4MB
Wikipedia’s Christmas Entry
A Christmas Carol Podcast From Penguin Books
History of Christmas from History News Network
Inventing Christmas : How Our Holiday Came to Be — by Jock
Christmas in America : A History — by Penne L.
Songs Played this Episode:
Number One Fan – Christmas is here
gidgets ga ga – Christmas Wish
Natalie Brown – Jingle Bells – Public Domain Carol
Geoff Smith – My Own Merry Christmas
Matthew Ebel – Christmas 2004 Live – Walk A Thousand Miles
Jill Parr – Do You Hear What I Hear