For the past few weeks, Americans have been preparing for Christmas.
People have been buying gifts to give to family members and
friends. They have been filling homes
and stores with
evergreen trees and bright, colored lights. They have
been going to parties and preparing special Christmas foods. Many
people think Christmas is the most wonderful time of the
Many Christians will go to
church the night before the holiday or on Christmas Day.
They will celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Jesus
ministers will speak about the need for peace and
understanding in the world. This is the spiritual message of Christmas.
Church services will include traditional religious songs for
Many other Americans will
celebrate Christmas as an important, but non-religious,
holiday. To all, however, it is a special day of family,
Christmas is probably the most
special day of the year for children. One thing
that makes it special is the popular tradition of Santa Claus.
Young children believe that
Santa Claus is a fat, kind, old man in a red suit with
They believe that – on the night before Christmas – he
travels through the air in a
sleigh pulled by reindeer. He enters each house from the top
by sliding down
the hole in the
fireplace. He leaves gifts for the children under the
Americans spend a lot of time
and money buying Christmas presents. But some people
object to all
They say it is not the real meaning of Christmas. So, they
celebrate in other ways. For example, they make Christmas
presents, instead of buying them. Or they
help serve meals to people who have no homes. Or they give
money to organizations that help poor people in the United
States and around the world.
Home and family are the center
of the Christmas holiday. For many people, the most
tradition is buying a Christmas tree and decorating it with
lights and beautiful objects. On
or Christmas morning, people
the tree to open their presents.
Another important Christmas
tradition involves food. Families prepare many kinds of
especially sweets. They eat these foods on the night before
Christmas and on Christmas day. For many people, Christmas
long distances to be with their families.
Another Christmas tradition is
to go caroling.
A group of people walks along the street. At each house,
they stop and sing a Christmas song, called a carol. Student
groups also sing carols at schools and shopping centers.
Not everyone in the United
States celebrates Christmas. Members of the
religions, for example, generally do not. Jewish people
celebrate the holiday of
some black Americans observe another holiday,
Americans do take part in some of the traditional
performances of the season.