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Christmas is a religious holiday observed on December 25 to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is also a cultural holiday – marked by exchanging gifts, singing carols, and feasting with family and friends – in which Santa Claus plays a pivotal role.
How is Christmas celebrated?
The tradition of gift giving became popular toward the end of the 18th century as a reminder of the gifts that the Three Wise Men brought to the baby Jesus. Santa came into the picture in 1823 with the publication of "A Visit from St. Nicholas” (more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas”), transforming the Christian saint Nicholas into Santa Claus as the source of Christmas gifts. Leaving cookies and milk for Santa – and a few carrots for his reindeer – became a tradition during the Great Depression to teach children the importance of giving to others and being grateful for the gifts they received.
Christmas presents usually appear under a Christmas tree. The tradition of cutting down an evergreen tree and decorating it for Christmas dates back to 15th-century Germany but became widely popular after an illustration of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert standing around a Christmas tree with their children was published in 1846. Today, Christmas trees – either real evergreens or manufactured ones – are decorated with lights, ornaments, and garlands. The tree topper is often an angel or a star.
Christmas dinner brings family and friends together around a table laden with food. The traditional dinner of roasted turkey with mashed potatoes, gravy, and root vegetables has taken different cultural spins across the country. For example, Virginians often serve oysters, ham, and biscuits. In the upper Midwest, holiday dishes include Scandinavian specialties such as lutefisk and mashed rutabagas. In the South, rice is often served instead of potatoes. Pumpkin and pecan pies are frequent Christmas desserts. And it is a tradition among many Jewish Americans to eat Chinese food on Christmas because these were often the only restaurants open on Christmas Day.
FAACT Christmas Crossword Puzzles and Word Searches
You won't want to miss FAACT's Christmas-themed educational crossword puzzles and word searches. These are fun puzzles to do at home with your family or share with your classmates and friends.
Download 10 FAACTS About Food Allergies to answer questions contained in the crossword puzzles and word searches.
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