CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL, CHRISTMAS EXPO, SHRISTMAS CONVENTIONS, CHRISTMAS, ORANGE COUNTY, SAN CLEMENTE, Christmas 2015, Kids, Candy Canes, Santa, Santa Claus, Picture WIth Santa, Egg Nog, Cotton Candy, Cookies, Christmas Cookies, Pretzels, Tacos, Tamales, Chile Rellendos

San Clemente Events Center - 111 W. Avenida Palizada, San Clemente, CA 92672 - Call (714) 399-8910
" With God All Things Are Possible!"
Christmas 2015, December 12 Saturday, Time 8am to 8pm, Christmas For Kids and Adults, Santa, Charity Events, Food & Drink





3pm - 8pm

"Christmas Festival
Orange County"

Christmas BBQ
Christmas Bands
Christmas Snow Cones
Christmas Fashion Show
Living Nativity
Christmas Birthday Cake
Santa Clause
Christmas Tree
Barber Shop Quartet
Mr. & Mrs. Claus Of Christmas
Christmas Train Show
Christmas Candy Cane Hunt
Christmas Gifts
Christmas For Kids
Christmas Foods
And a whole lot more!

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(714) 399-8910

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111 West Avenida Palizada
San Clemente, CA 92672



3pm - 8pm

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About Christmas
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About Jesus Christ
About the Local Communities
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Orange County

San Clemente

NOTE: The information and notices contained on this website are intended as general research and information and are expressly not intended, and should not be regarded, as medical, financial or legal advice. The articles are from free sources.

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A time for beloved traditions that are honored year after year. A time of hope for the future, reminiscing of Christmases past and a place to practice giving with gifts to one another. As we rejoice in the birth of Christ, we're reminded of just how special the day truly is. It's no wonder why Christmas is the most popular holiday of all!

Take the opportunity to TASTE YUMMY SWEETS, see beautiful creations and handywork.


Christmas Muscle Car Park
Meet Santa Clause
Living Nativiity
Elf Games
Christmas Music From Around The World
All You Can Eat Pancakes
Baking Contest
Birthday Cake Eating Contest
Ugly Sweater Contest
Wonderful Christmas Foods
Christmas Decorations
Christmas Boutique
Christmas Lights
The Grinch
Candy Canes
Christmas Fudge
Christmas Trees
Chrismas Caroling
Christmas Ornaments
Christmas Gifts
Hot Apple Cider
Pumpkin Pie Coffee
Christmas Cards
Christmas Movies
Elf Bowling
Cotton Candy
Christmas BBQ And More Fun!

We will have many types of Christmas craft and gift items available. Many will be unique, one-of-a-kind items. There will be music and Santa will be there for the kids and to support the event.

San Clemente Churches have been invited to participate in the event, to extend their Christmas greetings at the event, and invite the public to participate with them during this holiday season.

111 W. Avenida Palizada,
San Clemente CA 92672

DECEMBER 12TH 2015, 3 pm to 8 pm

Various Charities

Local-area One-Of-A-Kind Artists and Creators


Origin of Christmas Festival The word 'Christmas' comes from 'Cristes Maesse', or "Christ's Mass." Historians claim that Christmas Festival was first celebrated in Rome circa 336 AD. In early times, there was a controversy on the date of Christmas celebrations as the exact date of Christ's birth was not known. But in 336 AD, Christian leaders fixed the Christmas date to December 25. This date was mainly an attempt to eclipse Saturnalia - a popular pagan holiday in Rome that celebrated the winter solstice. Gradually, the 25th December got acceptance from the Western World and later even Eastern Churches started celebrating Christmas Day on December 25th.

Christmas Festival Traditions Christmas festival centers around various popular traditions. Adding age old traditions in your Christmas traditions helps you enjoy the festival to the fullest. The most popular tradition of decorating Christmas Tree is followed with great excitement by people across the world. In many countries, people decorate artificial spruce trees to keep alive the spirit of the tradition. Houses are decorated with auspicious mistletoe, lights and display of Nativity scenes.

Christmas is highly enjoyed by young children as it brings along winter holidays and time to perform some traditional activities. They keenly participate in cleanliness and decoration of their house. Children behave very nicely to make their favorite Santa Claus happy who brings gifts for them. Christians actively participate in midnight Christmas Mass and the joyous Christmas carnival. Christmas evening is the time to relish some traditional Christmas food especially the Christmas Cake. Tradition of singing Christmas carols and songs is also practiced with faith and dedication.

Celebrations for Christmas Festival Festive air pervade everywhere when Christmas is near. It is celebrated with high spirits and gusto. Though the way of celebrating Christmas differs in various countries but the fervor and enthusiasm remains the same. Caroling, feasting and gift-giving are the main ingredients of a perfect Christmas celebration. Christmas preparations begin many days before the festival. Markets, streets, homes and churches are illuminated with colorful lights and decorated with Nativity scenes, Christmas trees and artificial snow. Pubs, party halls, restaurants, discotheques and even beaches are thronged by people at the time of Christmas. These celebrations are escalated with multiple fireworks and other festivities. It is celebrated with immense joy and mirth all around. Merry-making with family and friends is the significant part of the Christmas fiesta. No celebration is worth unless spent with loved ones. Some people go to their native place, stay at home or indulge in lavish balls and enjoy get-together with their dear ones.

Workplaces also hold special theme Christmas parties. It gives people a chance to dress in their best. Many Christian schools perform Nativity plays and hold Christmas parties. Sumptuous meals also form an important part of Christmas celebrations. People spend a lot of time preparing their special Christmas delicacies. People are in the fun and frolic mood especially children as they get gifts from their beloved Santa Claus.

Please Come Join Us at Christmas 2015 Orange County
Smile it is Christmas Time!"


What our Customers Say About Us...

I CANNOT WAIT TO GO! - Jan from Mission Viejo
"This looks like it will be an amazing Christmas celebration. Last year, beyond the great gift items available, the food and drink was terrific! I think I will like the people and the artists that I will meet this year; they should be fun! There will be tons of things to do with the kids, and that is great. We don't really have too many of these events you can go to."

HOW EXCITING IS THIS! - Jane from San Clemente
"Wow, I can dress my little fifi up in such a cute Christmas outfit, maybe get first place and the kids will be very ocupied and cheering us on. It is so nice to have a pleace we can take them to celebrate Christmas and have fun. Looking forward to the great food. Thank You!

More to come...

Please give us a call at: (714) 399-8910

Where? When?


Old Town San Clemente
111 W. Avenida Palizada,
San Clemente CA 92672

December 12TH 8 am to 8pm
Admission is $10

Christmas BBQ Charities In San Clemente

Local-area One-Of-A-Kind Artists and Creators

"Click Here for Directions"


Please give us a call at: (714) 399-8910


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Exclusive Christmas Event

You can call and Inside seating tables can be reserved for You and Your Friends or Family

Please give us a call at: (714) 399-8910




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Please give us a call at: (714) 399-8910


Christmas decorations on display.
Also called Christ's Mass
Feast of the Nativity
Observed by Christians
Many non-Christians
Type Christian, cultural
Significance Traditional birthday of Jesus
Date December 25
January 6 (in Armenia)
January 7 (in Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches)
Observances Gift giving, church services, family and other social gatherings, symbolic decorating
Related to Annunciation, Advent, Epiphany, Baptism of the Lord

Christmas or Christmas Day is a holiday observed generally on December 25 to commemorate the birth of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity. The date is not known to be the actual birthday of Jesus, and may have initially been chosen to correspond with either the day exactly nine months after some early Christians believed Jesus had been conceived, the date of the winter solstice on the ancient Roman calendar, or one of various ancient winter festivals. Christmas is central to the Christmas and holiday season, and in Christianity marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days.

Although nominally a Christian holiday, Christmas is also widely celebrated by many non-Christians, and many of its popular celebratory customs have pre-Christian or secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, music, an exchange of greeting cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various decorations; including Christmas trees, lights, garlands, mistletoe, nativity scenes, and holly. In addition, several similar mythological figures, known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas and Santa Claus among other names, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season.

Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.


The word Christmas originated as a compound meaning "Christ's Mass". It is derived from the Middle English Christemasse and Old English Cristes mæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038. "Cristes" is from Greek Christos and "mæsse" is from Latin missa (the holy mass). In Greek, the letter ? (chi), is the first letter of Christ, and it, or the similar Roman letter X, has been used as an abbreviation for Christ since the mid-16th century. Hence, Xmas is sometimes used as an abbreviation for Christmas.


Christmas Day is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in most countries of the world, even in many whose populations are mostly non-Christian. In some non-Christian countries, periods of former colonial rule introduced the celebration (e.g. Hong Kong); in others, Christian minorities or foreign cultural influences have led populations to observe the holiday. Countries such as Japan and Korea, where Christmas is popular despite there being only a small number of Christians, have adopted many of the secular aspects of Christmas, such as gift-giving, decorations and Christmas trees. Notable countries in which Christmas is not a formal public holiday include People's Republic of China, (excepting Hong Kong and Macao), Japan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Thailand, Nepal, Iran, Turkey and North Korea.

Among countries with a strong Christian tradition, a variety of Christmas celebrations have developed that incorporate regional and local cultures. For many Christians, participating in a religious service plays an important part in the recognition of the season. Christmas, along with Easter, is the period of highest annual church attendance. In many Catholic countries, the people hold religious processions or parades in the days preceding Christmas. In other countries, secular processions or parades featuring Santa Claus and other seasonal figures are often held. Family reunions and the exchange of gifts are a widespread feature of the season. Gift giving takes place on Christmas Day in most countries. Others practise gift giving on December 6, Saint Nicholas Day, and January 6, Epiphany.

Jesus was not likely born on December 25 or at any time in the winter season

Date of celebration

For many centuries, Christian writers accepted that Christmas was the actual date on which Jesus was born. In the early 18th century, scholars began proposing alternative explanations. Isaac Newton argued that the date of Christmas was selected to correspond with the winter solstice, which the Romans called bruma and celebrated on December 25. In 1743, German Protestant Paul Ernst Jablonski argued Christmas was placed on December 25 to correspond with the Roman solar holiday Dies Natalis Solis Invicti and was therefore a "paganization" that debased the true church. According to Judeo-Christian tradition, creation as described in the Genesis creation narrative occurred on the date of the spring equinox, i.e. March 25 on the Roman calendar. This date is now celebrated as Annunciation and as the anniversary of Incarnation. In 1889, Louis Duchesne suggested that the date of Christmas was calculated as nine months after Annunciation, the traditional date of the conception of Jesus.

The December 25 date may have been selected by the church in Rome in the early 4th century. At this time, a church calendar was created and other holidays were also placed on solar dates: "It is cosmic symbolism...which inspired the Church leadership in Rome to elect the winter solstice, December 25, as the birthday of Christ, and the summer solstice as that of John the Baptist, supplemented by the equinoxes as their respective dates of conception. While they were aware that pagans called this day the 'birthday' of Sol Invictus, this did not concern them and it did not play any role in their choice of date for Christmas," according to modern scholar S.E. Hijmans.

Orthodox churches

Some Eastern Orthodox national churches, including those of Russia, Georgia, Egypt, Ukraine, the Macedonia, Serbia and the Greek Patriarchate of Jerusalem mark feasts using the older Julian Calendar. December 25 on that calendar currently corresponds to January 7 on the more widely used Gregorian calendar. Oriental Orthodox churches also use their own calendars, which are generally similar to the Julian calendar. The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the nativity in combination with the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. Most Armenian churches use the Gregorian calendar, but some use the Julian calendar and thus celebrate Christmas Day on January 19, and Christmas Eve on January 18 (according to the Gregorian calendar).

Commemorating Jesus’ birth

Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary as a fulfillment of the Old Testament's Messianic prophecy. There are two differing accounts which describe the events surrounding Jesus' birth. These biblical accounts are found in the Gospel of Matthew, namely Matthew 1:18, and the Gospel of Luke, specifically Luke 1:26 and 2:40. According to these accounts, Jesus was born to Mary, assisted by her husband Joseph, in the city of Bethlehem.

According to popular tradition, the birth took place in a stable, surrounded by farm animals, though neither the stable nor the animals are specifically mentioned in the Biblical accounts. However, a manger is mentioned in Luke 2:7, where it states, "She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Early iconographic representations of the nativity placed the animals and manger within a cave (located, according to tradition, under the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem). Shepherds from the fields surrounding Bethlehem were told of the birth by an angel, and were the first to see the child. The Gospel of Matthew also describes a visit by several Magi, or astrologers, who bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the infant Jesus. The visitors were said to be following a mysterious star, commonly known as the Star of Bethlehem, believing it to announce the birth of a king of the Jews. The commemoration of this visit, the Feast of Epiphany celebrated on January 6, is the formal end of the Christmas season in some churches.

Anbetung der Hirten (Adoration of the Shepherds) (c. 1500–10), by Italian painter Giorgio da Castelfranco

Christians celebrate Christmas in many ways. In addition to this day being one of the most important and popular for the attendance of church services, there are numerous other devotions and popular traditions. In some Christian denominations, children perform plays re-telling the events of the Nativity, or sing carols that reference the event. Some Christians also display a small re-creation of the Nativity, known as a Nativity scene or crib, in their homes, using figurines to portray the key characters of the event. Live Nativity scenes and tableaux vivants are also performed, using actors and animals to portray the event with more realism. Prior to Christmas Day, the Eastern Orthodox Church practises the 40-day Nativity Fast in anticipation of the birth of Jesus, while much of Western Christianity celebrates four weeks of Advent. The final preparations for Christmas are made on Christmas Eve.

A long artistic tradition has grown of producing painted depictions of the nativity in art. Nativity scenes are traditionally set in a barn or stable and include Mary, Joseph, the child Jesus, angels, shepherds and the Three Wise Men: Balthazar, Melchior, and Caspar, who are said to have followed a star, known as the Star of Bethlehem, and arrived after his birth.


A home elaborately decorated with Christmas lights

The practice of putting up special decorations at Christmas has a long history. From pre-Christian times, people in the Roman Empire brought branches from evergreen plants indoors in the winter. Decorating with greenery was also part of Jewish tradition : "Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. " (Leviticus 23:40)

Christian people incorporated such customs in their developing practices. In the 15th century, it was recorded that in London it was the custom at Christmas for every house and all the parish churches to be "decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green". The heart-shaped leaves of ivy were said to symbolise the coming to earth of Jesus, while holly was seen as protection against pagans and witches, its thorns and red berries held to represent the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus at the crucifixion and the blood he shed.

Nativity scenes are known from 10th-century Rome. They were popularised by Saint Francis of Asissi from 1223, quickly spreading across Europe. Many different types of decorations developed across the Christian world, dependent on local tradition and available resources. The first commercially produced decorations appeared in Germany in the 1860s, inspired by paper chains made by children.

A Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, New York City

The Christmas tree is often explained as a Christianisation of pagan tradition and ritual surrounding the Winter Solstice, which included the use of evergreen boughs, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship. The English language phrase "Christmas tree" is first recorded in 1835 and represents an importation from the German language. The modern Christmas tree tradition is believed to have begun in Germany in the 18th century though many argue that Martin Luther began the tradition in the 16th century. From Germany the custom was introduced to Britain, first via Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, and then more successfully by Prince Albert during the reign of Queen Victoria. By 1841 the Christmas tree had become even more widespread throughout Britain. By the 1870s, people in the United States had adopted the custom of putting up a Christmas tree. Christmas trees may be decorated with lights and ornaments.

Since the 19th century, the poinsettia, a native plant from Mexico, has been associated with Christmas. Other popular holiday plants include holly, mistletoe, red amaryllis, and Christmas cactus. Along with a Christmas tree, the interior of a home may be decorated with these plants, along with garlands and evergreen foliage.

In Australia, North and South America, and Europe, it is traditional to decorate the outside of houses with lights and sometimes with illuminated sleighs, snowmen, and other Christmas figures. Municipalities often sponsor decorations as well. Christmas banners may be hung from street lights and Christmas trees placed in the town square.

In the Western world, rolls of brightly colored paper with secular or religious Christmas motifs are manufactured for the purpose of wrapping gifts. The display of Christmas villages has also become a tradition in many homes during this season. Other traditional decorations include bells, candles, candy canes, stockings, wreaths, and angels.

In many countries, a representation of the Nativity Scene is very popular and people are encouraged to compete and create the most original or realistic ones. Within some families, the pieces used to make the representation are considered a valuable family heirloom. In some countries, Christmas decorations are traditionally taken down on Twelfth Night, the evening of January 5. The traditional colors of Christmas are green and red.

Music and carols

Christmas carolers in Jersey

The first specifically Christmas hymns that we know of appear in 4th century Rome. Latin hymns such as Veni redemptor gentium, written by Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, were austere statements of the theological doctrine of the Incarnation in opposition to Arianism. Corde natus ex Parentis (Of the Father's love begotten) by the Spanish poet Prudentius (d. 412) is still sung in some churches today.

In the 9th and 10th centuries, the Christmas "Sequence" or "Prose" was introduced in North European monasteries, developing under Bernard of Clairvaux into a sequence of rhymed stanzas. In the 12th century the Parisian monk Adam of St. Victor began to derive music from popular songs, introducing something closer to the traditional Christmas carol.

By the 12th century, in France, Germany, and particularly, Italy, under the influence of Francis of Asissi, a strong tradition of popular Christmas songs in the native language developed. Christmas carols in English first appear in a 1426 work of John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain, who lists twenty-five "caroles of Cristemas", probably sung by groups of wassailers, who went from house to house. The songs we know specifically as carols were originally communal folk songs sung during celebrations such as "harvest tide" as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols began to be sung in church. Traditionally, carols have often been based on medieval chord patterns, and it is this that gives them their uniquely characteristic musical sound. Some carols like "Personent hodie", "Good King Wenceslas", and "The Holly and the Ivy" can be traced directly back to the Middle Ages. They are among the oldest musical compositions still regularly sung. Adeste Fidelis (O Come all ye faithful) appears in its current form in the mid-18th century, although the words may have originated in the 12th century.

Child singers in Bucharest, 1841.

Singing of carols initially suffered a decline in popularity after the Protestant Reformation in northern Europe, although some Reformers, like Martin Luther, wrote carols and encouraged their use in worship. Carols largely survived in rural communities until the revival of interest in popular songs in the 19th century. The 18th century English reformer Charles Wesley understood the importance of music to worship. In addition to setting many psalms to melodies, which were influential in the Great Awakening in the United States, he wrote texts for at least three Christmas carols. The best known was originally entitled "Hark! How All the Welkin Rings", later renamed "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing". Felix Mendelssohn wrote a melody adapted to fit Wesley's words. In Austria in 1818 Mohr and Gruber made a major addition to the genre when they composed "Silent Night" for the St. Nicholas Church, Oberndorf. William B. Sandys' Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833) contained the first appearance in print of many now-classic English carols, and contributed to the mid-Victorian revival of the festival.

Completely secular Christmas seasonal songs emerged in the late 18th century. "Deck The Halls" dates from 1784, and the American, "Jingle Bells" was copyrighted in 1857. In the 19th and 20th century, African American spirituals and songs about Christmas, based in their tradition of spirituals, became more widely known. An increasing number of seasonal holidays songs were commercially produced in the 20th century, including jazz and blues variations. In addition, there was a revival of interest in early music, from groups singing folk music, such as The Revels, to performers of early medieval and classical music.


A special Christmas family meal is an important part of the holiday's celebration for many, and the food that is served varies greatly from country to country. Some regions, such as Sicily, have special meals for Christmas Eve, when 12 kinds of fish are served. In England and countries influenced by its traditions, a standard Christmas meal includes turkey (brought from North America), potatoes, vegetables, sausages and gravy, followed by Christmas pudding, mince pies and fruit cake. In Poland and other parts of eastern Europe and Scandinavia, fish often is used for the traditional main course, but richer meat such as lamb is increasingly served. In Germany, France and Austria, goose and pork are favored. Beef, ham and chicken in various recipes are popular throughout the world. Ham is the main meal in the Philippines.Around the world, Christmas celebrations can vary markedly in form, reflecting differing cultural and national traditions.

Special desserts are also prepared: The Maltese traditionally serve Imbuljuta tal-Qastan, a chocolate and chestnuts beverage, after Midnight Mass and throughout the Christmas season. Slovaks prepare the traditional Christmas bread potica, bûche de Noël in France, panettone in Italy, and elaborate tarts and cakes. The eating of sweets and chocolates has become popular worldwide, and sweeter Christmas delicacies include the German stollen, marzipan cake or candy, and Jamaican rum fruit cake. As one of the few fruits traditionally available to northern countries in winter, oranges were long associated with special Christmas foods.


Christmas cards are illustrated messages of greeting usually exchanged between friends and family members during the weeks preceding Christmas Day. The custom has become popular among a wide cross-section of people, including non-Christians, in Western society and in Asia. The traditional greeting reads "wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year", much like that of the first commercial Christmas card, produced by Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843. However there are innumerable variations of this formula, many cards expressing a more religious sentiment, or containing a poem, prayer or Biblical verse; while others distance themselves from religion with an all-inclusive "Season's greetings".

Christmas cards are purchased in considerable quantities, and feature artwork, commercially designed and relevant to the season. The content of the design might relate directly to the Christmas narrative with depictions of the Nativity of Jesus, or Christian symbols such as the Star of Bethlehem, or a white dove which can represent both the Holy Spirit and Peace on Earth. Other Christmas cards are more secular and can depict Christmas traditions, mythical figures such as Santa Claus, objects directly associated with Christmas such as candles, holly and baubles, or a variety of images associated with the season, such as Christmastime activities, snow scenes and the wildlife of the northern winter. There are also humorous cards and genres depicting nostalgic scenes of the past such as crinolined shoppers in idealized 19th century streetscapes.


A number of nations have issued commemorative stamps at Christmastime. Postal customers will often use these stamps to mail Christmas cards, and they are popular with philatelists. These stamps are regular postage stamps, unlike Christmas seals, and are valid for postage year-round. They usually go on sale some time between early October and early December, and are printed in considerable quantities.

In 1898 a Canadian stamp was issued to mark the inauguration of the Imperial Penny Postage rate. The stamp features a map of the globe and bears an inscription "XMAS 1898" at the bottom. In 1937, Austria issued two "Christmas greeting stamps" featuring a rose and the signs of the zodiac. In 1939, Brazil issued four semi-postal stamps with designs featuring the three kings and a star of Bethlehem, an angel and child, the Southern Cross and a child, and a mother and child.

Both the US Postal Service and the Royal Mail regularly issue Christmas-themed stamps each year.

Gift giving

The exchanging of gifts is one of the core aspects of the modern Christmas celebration, making the Christmas season the most profitable time of year for retailers and businesses throughout the Western world. Gift giving was common in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, an ancient festival which took place on December 25 and may have influenced Christmas customs. Christmas gift giving was banned by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages due to its suspected pagan origins. It was later rationalized by the Church on the basis that it associated St. Nicholas with Christmas, and that gifts of frankincense and myrrh were given to the infant Jesus by the Biblical Magi.

Legendary gift-bringing figures

Sinterklaas or Saint Nicholas, considered by many to be the original Santa Claus.

A number of figures of both Christian and mythical origin have been associated with Christmas and the seasonal giving of gifts. Among these are Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus, Père Noël, and the Weihnachtsmann; Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas; the Christkind; Kris Kringle; Joulupukki; Babbo Natale; Saint Basil; and Father Frost.

The most famous and pervasive of these figures in modern celebration worldwide is Santa Claus, a mythical gift bringer, dressed in red, whose origins have diverse sources. The name Santa Claus is a corruption of the Dutch Sinterklaas, which means simply Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was Bishop of Myra, in modern day Turkey, during the 4th century. Among other saintly attributes, he was noted for the care of Children, generosity, and the giving of gifts. His feast on the 6th of December came to be celebrated in many countries with the giving of gifts. Saint Nicholas traditionally appeared in bishoply attire, accompanied by helpers, and enquired about the behaviour of children during the past year before deciding whether they deserved a gift or not. By the 12th century Saint Nicholas was well known in the Netherlands, and the practice of gift-giving in his name spread to other parts of central and southern Europe. At the Reformation in 16th–17th century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, corrupted in English to Kris Kringle, and the date of giving gifts changed from December the 6th to Christmas Eve.

The modern popular image of Santa Claus, however, was created in the United States, and in particular in New York. The transformation was accomplished with the aid of six notable contributors including Washington Irving and the German-American cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840–1902). Following the American Revolutionary War, some of the inhabitants of New York City sought out symbols of the city's non-English past. New York had originally been established as the Dutch colonial town of New Amsterdam and the Dutch Sinterklaas tradition was reinvented as Saint Nicholas. In 1809, the New-York Historical Society convened and retroactively named Sancte Claus the patron saint of Nieuw Amsterdam, the Dutch name for New York City. At his first American appearance in 1810, Santa Claus was drawn in bishops' robes. However as new artists took over, Santa Claus developed more secular attire. Nast drew a new image of "Santa Claus" annually, beginning in 1863. By the 1880s, Nast's Santa had evolved into the robed, fur clad, form we now recognize, perhaps based on the English figure of Father Christmas. The image was standardized by advertisers in the 1920s.

Santa Claus is famous around the world for giving gifts to good children

Father Christmas, a jolly, well nourished, bearded man who typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, predates the Santa Claus character. He is first recorded in early 17th century England, but was associated with holiday merrymaking and drunkenness rather than the bringing of gifts. In Victorian Britain, his image was remade to match that of Santa. The French Père Noël evolved along similar lines, eventually adopting the Santa image. In Italy, Babbo Natale acts as Santa Claus, while La Befana is the bringer of gifts and arrives on the eve of the Epiphany. It is said that La Befana set out to bring the baby Jesus gifts, but got lost along the way. Now, she brings gifts to all children. In some cultures Santa Claus is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, or Black Peter. In other versions, elves make the toys. His wife is referred to as Mrs. Claus.

There has been some opposition to the narrative of the American evolution of Saint Nicholas into the modern Santa. It has been claimed that the Saint Nicholas Society was not founded until 1835, almost half a century after the end of the American War of Independence. Moreover, a study of the "children's books, periodicals and journals" of New Amsterdam by Charles Jones revealed no references to Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas. However, not all scholars agree with Jones's findings, which he reiterated in a booklength study in 1978; Howard G. Hageman, of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, maintains that the tradition of celebrating Sinterklaas in New York was alive and well from the early settlement of the Hudson Valley on.

Current tradition in several Latin American countries (such as Venezuela and Colombia) holds that while Santa makes the toys, he then gives them to the Baby Jesus, who is the one who actually delivers them to the children's homes, a reconciliation between traditional religious beliefs and the iconography of Santa Claus imported from the United States.

In Alto Adige/Südtirol (Italy), Austria, Czech Republic, Southern Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Slovakia and Switzerland, the Christkind (Ježíšek in Czech, Jézuska in Hungarian and Ježiško in Slovak) brings the presents. The German St. Nikolaus is not identical with the Weihnachtsman (who is the German version of Santa Claus). St. Nikolaus wears a bishop's dress and still brings small gifts (usually candies, nuts and fruits) on December 6 and is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht. Although many parents around the world routinely teach their children about Santa Claus and other gift bringers, some have come to reject this practice, considering it deceptive.


Mosaic of Jesus as Christo Sole (Christ the Sun) in Mausoleum M in the pre-fourth-century necropolis under St Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Pre-Christian background

Dies Natalis Solis Invicti

Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means "the birthday of the unconquered sun" or possibly "anniversary of the consecration of the temple of the unconquered sun".[citation needed]

Modern scholars have argued that the festival was placed on the date of the solstice because this was on this day that the Sun reversed its southward retreat and proved itself to be "unconquered.".[citation needed] Some early Christian writers connected the rebirth of the sun to the birth of Jesus."O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born...Christ should be born", Cyprian wrote. John Chrysostom also commented on the connection: "They call it the 'Birthday of the Unconquered'. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord . . .?"

Although Dies Natalis Solis Invicti has been the subject of a great deal of scholarly speculation,.[citation needed] the only ancient source for it is a single mention in the Chronography of 354, and Hijmans argues that there is no evidence that the celebration precedes that of Christmas."[W]hile the winter solstice on or around the 25th of December was well established in the Roman imperial calendar, there is no evidence that a religious celebration of Sol on that day antedated the celebration of Christmas, and none that indicates that Aurelian had a hand in its institution," according to modern Sol scholar Steven Hijmans.

Winter festivals

A winter festival was the most popular festival of the year in many cultures. Reasons included the fact that less agricultural work needs to be done during the winter, as well as an expectation of better weather as spring approached. Modern Christmas customs include: gift-giving and merrymaking from Roman Saturnalia; greenery, lights, and charity from the Roman New Year; and Yule logs and various foods from Germanic feasts. Pagan Scandinavia celebrated a winter festival called Yule, held in the late December to early January period.[citation needed] As Northern Europe was the last part to Christianize, its pagan traditions had a major influence on Christmas.[citation needed] Scandinavians still call Christmas Jul. In English, the word Yule is synonymous with Christmas, a usage first recorded in 900.

Christian feast

The New Testament does not give a date for the birth of Jesus. Around AD 200, Clement of Alexandria wrote that a group in Egypt celebrated the nativity on 25 Pashons. This corresponds to May 20. Tertullian (d. 220) does not mention Christmas as a major feast day in the Church of Roman Africa. However, in Chronographai, a reference work published in 221, Sextus Julius Africanus suggested that Jesus was conceived on the spring equinox, popularizing the idea that Christ was born on December 25. The equinox was March 25 on the Roman calendar, so this implied a birth in December. De Pascha Computus, a calendar of feasts produced in 243, gives March 28 as the date of the nativity. In 245, the theologian Origen of Alexandria stated that, "only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod)" celebrated their birthdays. In 303, Christian writer Arnobius ridiculed the idea of celebrating the birthdays of gods, which suggests that Christmas was not yet a feast at this time.

Feast established

The earliest known reference to the date of the nativity as December 25 is found in the Chronography of 354, an illuminated manuscript compiled in Rome. In the East, early Christians celebrated the birth of Christ as part of Epiphany (January 6), although this festival emphasized celebration of the baptism of Jesus.

Christmas was promoted in the Christian East as part of the revival of Catholicism following the death of the pro-Arian Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. The feast was introduced to Constantinople in 379, and to Antioch in about 380. The feast disappeared after Gregory of Nazianzus resigned as bishop in 381, although it was reintroduced by John Chrysostom in about 400.

The Examination and Trial of Father Christmas, (1686), published shortly after Christmas was reinstated as a holy day in England.

Middle Ages

In the Early Middle Ages, Christmas Day was overshadowed by Epiphany, which in the west focused on the visit of the magi. But the Medieval calendar was dominated by Christmas-related holidays. The forty days before Christmas became the "forty days of St. Martin" (which began on November 11, the feast of St. Martin of Tours), now known as Advent. In Italy, former Saturnalian traditions were attached to Advent. Around the 12th century, these traditions transferred again to the Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25 – January 5); a time that appears in the liturgical calendars as Christmastide or Twelve Holy Days.

The prominence of Christmas Day increased gradually after Charlemagne was crowned Emperor on Christmas Day in 800. King Edmund the Martyr was anointed on Christmas in 855 and King William I of England was crowned on Christmas Day 1066.

By the High Middle Ages, the holiday had become so prominent that chroniclers routinely noted where various magnates celebrated Christmas. King Richard II of England hosted a Christmas feast in 1277 at which twenty-eight oxen and three hundred sheep were eaten. The Yule boar was a common feature of medieval Christmas feasts. Caroling also became popular, and was originally a group of dancers who sang. The group was composed of a lead singer and a ring of dancers that provided the chorus. Various writers of the time condemned caroling as lewd, indicating that the unruly traditions of Saturnalia and Yule may have continued in this form. "Misrule"—drunkenness, promiscuity, gambling—was also an important aspect of the festival. In England, gifts were exchanged on New Year's Day, and there was special Christmas ale.

Christmas during the Middle Ages was a public festival that incorporated ivy, holly, and other evergreens. Christmas gift-giving during the Middle Ages was usually between people with legal relationships, such as tenant and landlord. The annual indulgence in eating, dancing, singing, sporting, card playing escalated in England, and by the 17th century the Christmas season featured lavish dinners, elaborate masques and pageants. In 1607, King James I insisted that a play be acted on Christmas night and that the court indulge in games. It was during the Reformation in 16th–17th century Europe, that many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve.

Reformation into the 19th century

Following the Protestant Reformation, groups such as the Puritans strongly condemned the celebration of Christmas, considering it a Catholic invention and the "trappings of popery" or the "rags of the Beast." The Catholic Church responded by promoting the festival in a more religiously oriented form. King Charles I of England directed his noblemen and gentry to return to their landed estates in midwinter to keep up their old style Christmas generosity. Following the Parliamentarian victory over Charles I during the English Civil War, England's Puritan rulers banned Christmas in 1647. Protests followed as pro-Christmas rioting broke out in several cities and for weeks Canterbury was controlled by the rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and shouted royalist slogans. The book, The Vindication of Christmas (London, 1652), argued against the Puritans, and makes note of Old English Christmas traditions, dinner, roast apples on the fire, card playing, dances with "plow-boys" and "maidservants", and carol singing. The Restoration of King Charles II in 1660 ended the ban, but many clergymen still disapproved of Christmas celebration. In Scotland, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland also discouraged observance of Christmas. James VI commanded its celebration in 1618, however attendance at church was scant.

In Colonial America, the Puritans of New England shared radical Protestant disapproval of Christmas. Celebration was outlawed in Boston from 1659 to 1681. The ban by the Pilgrims was revoked in 1681 by English governor Sir Edmund Andros, however it was not until the mid-19th century that celebrating Christmas became fashionable in the Boston region. At the same time, Christian residents of Virginia and New York observed the holiday freely. Pennsylvania German Settlers, pre-eminently the Moravian settlers of Bethlehem, Nazareth and Lititz in Pennsylvania and the Wachovia Settlements in North Carolina, were enthusiastic celebrators of Christmas. The Moravians in Bethlehem had the first Christmas trees in America as well as the first Nativity Scenes. Christmas fell out of favor in the United States after the American Revolution, when it was considered an English custom. George Washington attacked Hessian (German) mercenaries on Christmas during the Battle of Trenton in 1777, Christmas being much more popular in Germany than in America at this time.

By the 1820s, sectarian tension had eased in Britain and writers, including William Winstanly, began to worry that Christmas was dying out. These writers imagined Tudor Christmas as a time of heartfelt celebration, and efforts were made to revive the holiday. In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol, that helped revive the 'spirit' of Christmas and seasonal merriment. Its instant popularity played a major role in portraying Christmas as a holiday emphasizing family, goodwill, and compassion. Dickens sought to construct Christmas as a family-centered festival of generosity, in contrast to the community-based and church-centered observations, the observance of which had dwindled during the late 18th century and early 19th century. Superimposing his secular vision of the holiday, Dickens influenced many aspects of Christmas that are celebrated today in Western culture, such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games, and a festive generosity of spirit. A prominent phrase from the tale, 'Merry Christmas', was popularized following the appearance of the story. The term Scrooge became a synonym for miser, with 'Bah! Humbug!' dismissive of the festive spirit. In 1843, the first commercial Christmas card was produced by Sir Henry Cole. The revival of the Christmas Carol began with William B. Sandys Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833), with the first appearance in print of 'The First Noel', 'I Saw Three Ships', 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' and 'God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen', popularized in Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

The Queen's Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, 1848. Republished in Godey's Lady's Book, Philadelphia December, 1850.

In Britain, the Christmas tree was introduced in the early 19th century following the personal union with the Kingdom of Hanover, by Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen to King George III. In 1832 a young Queen Victoria wrote about her delight at having a Christmas tree, hung with lights, ornaments, and presents placed round it. After her marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert, by 1841 the custom became more widespread throughout Britain. An image of the British royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, created a sensation when it was published in the Illustrated London News in 1848. A modified version of this image was published in the United States in 1850. By the 1870s, putting up a Christmas tree had become common in America.

In America, interest in Christmas had been revived in the 1820s by several short stories by Washington Irving which appear in his The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon and "Old Christmas". Irving's stories depicted harmonious warm-hearted English Christmas festivities he experienced while staying in Aston Hall, Birmingham, England, that had largely been abandoned, and he used the tract Vindication of Christmas (1652) of Old English Christmas traditions, that he had transcribed into his journal as a format for his stories. In 1822, Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem A Visit From St. Nicholas (popularly known by its first line: Twas the Night Before Christmas). The poem helped popularize the tradition of exchanging gifts, and seasonal Christmas shopping began to assume economic importance. This also started the cultural conflict of the holiday's spiritualism and its commercialism that some see as corrupting the holiday. In her 1850 book "The First Christmas in New England", Harriet Beecher Stowe includes a character who complains that the true meaning of Christmas was lost in a shopping spree. While the celebration of Christmas wasn't yet customary in some regions in the U.S., Henry Wadsworth Longfellow detected "a transition state about Christmas here in New England" in 1856. "The old puritan feeling prevents it from being a cheerful, hearty holiday; though every year makes it more so". In Reading, Pennsylvania, a newspaper remarked in 1861, "Even our presbyterian friends who have hitherto steadfastly ignored Christmas — threw open their church doors and assembled in force to celebrate the anniversary of the Savior's birth". The First Congregational Church of Rockford, Illinois, 'although of genuine Puritan stock', was 'preparing for a grand Christmas jubilee', a news correspondent reported in 1864. By 1860, fourteen states including several from New England had adopted Christmas as a legal holiday. In 1870, Christmas was formally declared a United States Federal holiday, signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. Subsequently, in 1875, Louis Prang introduced the Christmas card to Americans. He has been called the "father of the American Christmas card".

Controversy and criticism

Throughout the holiday's history, Christmas has been the subject of both controversy and criticism from a wide variety of different sources. The first documented Christmas controversy was Christian-led, and began during the English Interregnum, when England was ruled by a Puritan Parliament. Puritans (including those who fled to America) sought to remove the remaining pagan elements of Christmas. During this period, the English Parliament banned the celebration of Christmas entirely, considering it "a popish festival with no biblical justification", and a time of wasteful and immoral behavior.

Controversy and criticism continues in the present-day, where some Christian and non-Christians have claimed that an affront to Christmas (dubbed a "war on Christmas" by some) is ongoing. In the United States there has been a tendency to replace the greeting Merry Christmas with Happy Holidays. Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union have initiated court cases to bar the display of images and other material referring to Christmas from public property, including schools. Such groups argue that government-funded displays of Christmas imagery and traditions violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits the establishment by Congress of a national religion. In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lynch vs. Donnelly that a Christmas display (which included a Nativity scene) owned and displayed by the city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island did not violate the First Amendment. In November 2009, the Federal appeals court in Philadelphia endorsed a school district's ban on the singing of Christmas carols.

In the private sphere also, it has been alleged that any specific mention of the term "Christmas" or its religious aspects was being increasingly censored, avoided, or discouraged by a number of advertisers and retailers. In response, the American Family Association and other groups have organized boycotts of individual retailers. In the United Kingdom there have also been some controversies, one of the most famous being the temporary promotion of the Christmas period as Winterval by Birmingham City Council in 1998. There were also protests in November 2009 when the city of Dundee promoted its celebrations as the Winter Night Light festival, initially with no specific Christmas references.


Christmas is typically the largest annual economic stimulus for many nations around the world. Sales increase dramatically in almost all retail areas and shops introduce new products as people purchase gifts, decorations, and supplies. In the U.S., the "Christmas shopping season" starts as early as October . In Canada, merchants begin advertising campaigns just before Halloween (October 31), and step up their marketing following Remembrance Day on November 11. In the United States, it has been calculated that a quarter of all personal spending takes place during the Christmas/holiday shopping season. Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that expenditure in department stores nationwide rose from $20.8 billion in November 2004 to $31.9 billion in December 2004, an increase of 54 percent. In other sectors, the pre-Christmas increase in spending was even greater, there being a November – December buying surge of 100 percent in bookstores and 170 percent in jewelry stores. In the same year employment in American retail stores rose from 1.6 million to 1.8 million in the two months leading up to Christmas. Industries completely dependent on Christmas include Christmas cards, of which 1.9 billion are sent in the United States each year, and live Christmas Trees, of which 20.8 million were cut in the USA in 2002.

In most Western nations, Christmas Day is the least active day of the year for business and commerce; almost all retail, commercial and institutional businesses are closed, and almost all industries cease activity (more than any other day of the year). In England and Wales, the Christmas Day (Trading) Act 2004 prevents all large shops from trading on Christmas Day. Scotland is currently planning similar legislation. Film studios release many high-budget movies during the holiday season, including Christmas films, fantasy movies or high-tone dramas with high production values.

One economist's analysis calculates that, despite increased overall spending, Christmas is a deadweight loss under orthodox microeconomic theory, because of the effect of gift-giving. This loss is calculated as the difference between what the gift giver spent on the item and what the gift receiver would have paid for the item. It is estimated that in 2001, Christmas resulted in a $4 billion deadweight loss in the U.S. alone. Because of complicating factors, this analysis is sometimes used to discuss possible flaws in current microeconomic theory. Other deadweight losses include the effects of Christmas on the environment and the fact that material gifts are often perceived as white elephants, imposing cost for upkeep and storage and contributing to clutter.

Further reading

  • Restad, Penne L. (1995). Christmas in America: A History. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509300-3. 
  • The Battle for Christmas, by Stephen Nissenbaum (1996; New York: Vintage Books, 1997). ISBN 0-679-74038-4
  • The Origins of Christmas, by Joseph F. Kelly (August 2004: Liturgical Press) ISBN 978-0-8146-2984-0
  • Christmas Customs and Traditions, by Clement A. Miles (1976: Dover Publications) ISBN 978-0-486-23354-3
  • The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, by Gerry Bowler (October 2004: McClelland & Stewart) ISBN 978-0-7710-1535-9
  • Santa Claus: A Biography, by Gerry Bowler (November 2007: McClelland & Stewart) ISBN 978-0-7710-1668-4
  • There Really Is a Santa Claus: The History of St. Nicholas & Christmas Holiday Traditions, by William J. Federer (December 2002: Amerisearch) ISBN 978-0-9653557-4-2
  • St. Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas, by Jim Rosenthal (July 2006: Nelson Reference) ISBN 1-4185-0407-6
  • Just say Noel: A History of Christmas from the Nativity to the Nineties, by David Comfort (November 1995: Fireside) ISBN 978-0-684-80057-8
  • 4000 Years of Christmas: A Gift from the Ages, by Earl W. Count (November 1997: Ulysses Press) ISBN 978-1-56975-087-2
  • Sammons, Peter (May 2006). The Birth of Christ. Glory to Glory Publications (UK). ISBN 0-9551790-1-7. 


The Bulgarian Detska Kitka Choir at the International Festival of Advent and Christmas Music in Prague (2006).

Christmas music comprises a variety of genres of music normally performed or heard around the Christmas season, which tends to begin in the months leading up the actual holiday and end in the weeks shortly thereafter.



Music was an early feature of the Christmas season and its celebrations. The earliest chants, litanies, and hymns were Latin works intended for use during the church liturgy, rather than popular songs. The 12th century saw the rise of the carol written in the vernacular under the influence of Francis of Assisi.

In the Middle Ages, the English combined circle dances with singing and called them carols. Later, the word carol came to mean a song in which a religious topic is treated in a style that is familiar or festive. From Italy, it passed to France and Germany, and later to England. Christmas carols in English first appear in a 1426 work of John Audelay, a Shropshire priest and poet, who lists twenty five "caroles of Cristemas", probably sung by groups of wassailers, who went from house to house. Music in itself soon became one of the greatest tributes to Christmas, and Christmas music includes some of the noblest compositions of the great musicians.

A Christmas minstrel playing pipe and tabor.

Puritan prohibition

During the Commonwealth of England government under Cromwell, the Rump Parliament prohibited the practice of singing Christmas carols as pagan and sinful. Like other customs associated with popular Catholic Christianity, it earned the disapproval of Protestant Puritans. Famously, Cromwell's interregnum prohibited all celebrations of the Christmas holiday. This attempt to ban the public celebration of Christmas can also be seen in the early history of Father Christmas.

The Westminster Assembly of Divines established Sunday as the only holy day in the calendar in 1644. The new liturgy produced for the English church recognised this in 1645 and so legally abolished Christmas. Its celebration was declared an offence by Parliament in 1647. There is some debate as to the effectiveness of this ban and whether or not it was enforced in the country.

Puritans generally disapproved of the celebration of Christmas — a trend which has continually resurfaced in Europe and the USA through the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Royal restoration

When in May 1660 Charles II restored the Stuarts to the throne, the people of England once again practised the public singing of Christmas carols as part of the revival of Christmas customs, sanctioned by the king's own celebrations. William B. Sandys Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833), contained the first appearance in print of many now-classic English carols, and contributed to the mid-Victorian revival of the holiday. Singing carols in church was instituted on Christmas Eve 1880 (Nine Lessons and Carols) in Truro Cathedral, Cornwall, England, which is now seen in churches all over the world.


The tradition of singing Christmas carols in return for alms or charity began in England in the seventeenth century after the Restoration. Town musicians or 'waits' were licensed to collect money in the streets in the weeks preceding Christmas, the custom spread throughout the population by the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries up to the present day. Also from the seventeenth century, there was the English custom predominantly involving women, taking a 'wassail bowl' round their neighbours to solicit gifts, accompanied by carols. Despite this long history, almost all surviving Christmas carols date only from the nineteenth century onwards, with the exception of some traditional folk songs such as; 'God Rest You Merry Gentlemen', 'As I Sat on a Sunny Bank' and 'The Holly and the Ivy'.

Church feast

The status of Christmas as an important feast within the church year also means there is a long tradition of music specially composed for celebrating the season. The following is a brief and non-exhaustive list of notable compositions:

Handel's Messiah has become inextricably linked with the Christmas season, especially in England. This is in part due to the efforts of amateur choral societies during the nineteenth century. When it was originally composed, it was performed during Passiontide.

'Christmas creep'

In the United States the playing of Christmas music had generally begun after the Thanksgiving holidays, at which point Christmas decorations in stores and on streets would also appear, but in recent decades the music and related decor have been appearing increasingly early. This tendency for the length of the Christmas and holiday season to grow is referred to as 'Christmas creep'. Given the importance of the seasonal gift-giving to the U.S. economy, one driven largely by consumer spending, and with the music industry making at least 40 percent of its annual revenue in the fourth quarter culminating at Christmas, demands for increased revenues motivates the shift. Christmas music best serenades these shopping months, injecting the Christmas spirit and putting shoppers into the proper mood for buying gifts.

Radio stations—responsible for so much of Christmas music broadcasting, popularization, and appreciation—are "going Christmas earlier and earlier", even the day after Halloween, because executives "think that listeners will stick with the first station to change to a seasonal theme." About 400 radio stations "across the United States play Christmas music around the clock." In Chicago, WLIT-FM saw its share of all radio listeners grow from a 2.9/3.6 share earlier in the year to 9.3 during the Nov. 28 to Dec. 11, 2003 Arbitron rating period. A 2002 Arbitron ratings study confirmed holiday-music surges at stations around the country.

Traditional Christmas carols

Songs which are traditional, even some without a specific religious context, are often called Christmas carols. A more or less standard set of these traditional carols might include such titles as:

Each of these has a rich history, some dating back many centuries.

Popular Christmas songs

More recently popular Christmas songs, often introduced through film or other entertainment medium, are specifically about Christmas, but are typically not overtly religious and therefore do not qualify as Christmas carols. The archetypal example is 1942’s “White Christmas”, although many other holiday songs have become perennial favorites in the United States, such as Gene Autry’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.

Most-performed "holiday" songs

A Christmas tree inside a home.

According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the following are the Top 25 most-performed "holiday" songs written by ASCAP members for the first five years of the 21st century. The list does not include songs out of copyright (like "Jingle Bells") or written by members of Broadcast Music, Incorporated, known as BMI.:

  1. "The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) – Mel Tormé, Robert Wells
  2. "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" – Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie
  3. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" – Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin
  4. "Winter Wonderland" – Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith
  5. "White Christmas" – Irving Berlin
  6. "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" – Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
  7. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" – Johnny Marks
  8. "Jingle Bell Rock" – Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe
  9. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" – Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram
  10. "The Little Drummer Boy" – Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone
  11. "Sleigh Ride" – Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish
  12. "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" – Edward Pola, George Wyle
  13. "Silver Bells" – Jay Livingston, Ray Evans
  14. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" – Johnny Marks
  15. "Feliz Navidad" – José Feliciano
  16. "Blue Christmas" – Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson
  17. "Frosty the Snowman" – Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins
  18. "A Holly Jolly Christmas" – Johnny Marks
  19. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" – Tommie Connor
  20. "Here Comes Santa Claus" (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) – Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman
  21. "It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas" – Meredith Willson
  22. "(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays" – Bob Allen, Al Stillman
  23. "Carol of the Bells" – Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich
  24. "Santa Baby" – Joan Ellen Javits, Philip Springer, Tony Springer
  25. "Wonderful Christmastime" – Paul McCartney

"For Americans and many others around the world, these classic lyrics and melodies are inseparable from the celebration of the holiday season – brightening lives year after year, and serving as a cornerstone of the ASCAP repertory.”

Marilyn Bergman, ASCAP President and Chairman

Of these, the oldest songs are "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "Winter Wonderland" which were both published in 1934. The newest song is Mark Lowry's "Mary, Did You Know" from 1984. Songs introduced through motion pictures in the top 25 are: "White Christmas" from Holiday Inn (1942), "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" from Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), and "Silver Bells" in The Lemon Drop Kid (1950).

Johnny Marks has three top Christmas songs, the most for any writer—"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", and "A Holly Jolly Christmas". By far the most recorded Christmas song is "White Christmas" with well over 500 versions in dozens of languages.

While the ASCAP list is relatively popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland, it remains largely overshadowed by a collection of chart hits recorded in a bid to be crowned the UK Christmas number one single during the 1970s and 80s. The vast majority of these songs played heavily to a party or novelty feel and were recorded by a full range of artists from major global stars, artists that were enjoying great success in the UK at the time, bands that otherwise scored only a handful of minor hits and a host of novelty acts that recorded only one song. These songs have gone on to dominate the UK and Ireland Christmas music traditions and have largely overshadowed their often less party orientated ASCAP songs, although Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmastime has managed to span both groups.

Adopted Christmas music

Much of what is known as Christmas music today was adopted from music initially created for other purposes. Retroactively these were applied to Christmas, or came to be associated with the holiday in some way.

Many secular songs are regarded as “Christmas” songs due to the time of year they are most often heard or sung, despite never mentioning anything about the holiday. These songs include favorites such as “Winter Wonderland”, “Let it Snow”, and "Baby, It's Cold Outside". “Sleigh Ride”'s standard lyrics mention not a holiday party but a birthday party. The now hugely popular Christmas standard "Jingle Bells" was originally written to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Many of these songs fall into the generic “winter” classification, as they carry no Christmas connotation at all. To popularize a winter-themed song, especially in the United States, without its being regarded as a “Christmas” song, would be difficult. In fact, winter-themed songs are generally not played on the radio in the U.S. during the larger part of the winter after the Christmas season has ended, in marked contrast to their counterparts, summer hits, which receive airplay throughout their season. They may receive limited radio airplay on some stations, particularly after a significant snow event.

In the United Kingdom, the terms "Christmas number one single" and "Christmas number two single" denote songs released around the time of the Christmas holiday and that reach the top of the UK Singles Chart. Though some of these songs do tend to develop an association with Christmas or the holiday season, such an association tends to be much shorter lived than the more traditionally themed Christmas songs such as "Merry Xmas Everybody", "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday", "Mistletoe and Wine" and ""Merry Christmas Everyone", and the songs may have nothing to do with Christmas or even winter. Some songs will be "tweaked" to make them more related to Christmas. This is almost exclusively a British cultural phenomenon, and some notable examples include Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?", John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", and Wham!'s "Last Christmas". Since the debut of the TV series The X Factor, which ends in December, the debut song from that series' winner generally is released at a time conducive to it becoming the Christmas number one, and most of the songs are unrelated to Christmas. (In response, in 2009, a song by Rage Against the Machine entitled "Killing in the Name" was promoted, through an Internet campaign, to the Christmas number one position for the express purpose of preventing the winner of The X Factor from attaining the post. A related campaign is seeking to promote John Cage's silent "4'33"" to the Christmas number one spot.)

The phenomenon is not limited to popular music: classical music, too, has been adopted to the Christmas canon. Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker comprises a set of secular orchestral pieces often performed at Christmastime. Perhaps the most famous Christmas music of all, Handel's "Messiah", was written for an Easter performance in 1742 in Ireland, and performed from 1750 until Handel's death for the Foundling Hospital for orphans around Eastertime.

Novelty songs

Another form of popular Christmas song are those musical parodies performed solely for comical effect, usually classified as "novelty songs". These range from those sung by children, or largely for their enjoyment, to those with a distinctly adult theme.



The number of Christmas novelty songs is so immense that radio host Dr. Demento devotes an entire month of weekly two-hour episodes to the format each year, and the novelty songs receive frequent requests at radio stations across the country. The Dan Band released several adult-oriented Christmas songs on their 2007 album "Ho: A Dan Band Christmas" which included "Ho, Ho, Ho" (ho being slang for a prostitute), "I Wanna Rock You Hard This Christmas", "Please Don't Bomb Nobody This Holiday" and "Get Drunk & Make Out This Christmas". Christmas novelty songs can involve gallows humor and even morbid humor like that found in "Christmas at Ground Zero" and "The Night Santa Went Crazy", both by "Weird Al" Yankovic. Radio personality Bob Rivers has parlayed the format into several albums in the Twisted Christmas line.

Radio broadcasting

Radio broadcasting of Christmas music has been around for several decades. Traditionally, U.S. radio stations (particularly those with such formats as adult contemporary, top 40, adult standards, or easy listening) began adding some Christmas-themed selections to their regular playlists shortly after Thanksgiving each year. Some exclusively aired 36—48 hours of continuous Christmas music between December 24–25. Since the mid-1990s, it has become increasingly common for stations to switch their programming to continuous Christmas music around December 1. This practice became more profound after 9/11, when many radio stations across the United States sought a sort of musical "comfort food".

24/7 Christmas music

The 24/7 all-Christmas format has been generally successful due in large part to Christmas creep. Many radio stations began airing an all-Christmas format by Thanksgiving, starting as early as the Friday one week prior. Several stations have even started the format as early as November 1 (a few, such as KOSI, WNIC, WMYX and WRIT, have earned a reputation for this), although this is generally the exception rather than the norm. Stations that change formats before Thanksgiving sometimes experience backlash from listeners, because this is well outside the traditional Christmas and holiday season.

To accommodate the adult contemporary stations' flip to Christmas music, the syndicated John Tesh and Delilah nighttime shows also play this format around the same time as their respective affiliates. Some radio stations, even those that do not play full-time Christmas music prior to Christmas Eve, play Christmas music commercial-free the entire day on Christmas Day and often a portion of Christmas Eve as well (e.g. KOIT), with only interruptions for Christmas messages from station personnel and personnel from the station's parent company. (This is also the case on home shopping TV networks.)

Some in the industry speculate that more stations may start programming 24/7 Christmas music as early as November 1 each year, which could result in dozens of stations (instead of the half-dozen or so stations in prior years) "taking the plunge" on that first day after Halloween (although November 1 is the Day of the Dead, the reason for Halloween's existence). As of the last week of October 2015, four stations had changed to the format. Two of them (WSMM in South Bend, Indiana and an admittedly-stunting WSHP in Lafayette, Indiana) did so on their analog channel; the other two were automated digital-only channels, WBEB HD2 and WPEN HD2, both in Philadelphia. The number of "all-Christmas" radio stations indeed jumped on November 1; for instance, four stations in upstate New York adopted the format that morning. HD Radio also allows for the expansion of Christmas music beyond Christmas Day and into early January, much as WLIT does after Christmas.

Christmas music as a stunt format

Christmas music is a popular stunt format, used when a station is transitioning to a different format. For instance, a rock music station changing to a rhythmic oldies format will often air Christmas music in-between. This can occur at times when Christmas music seems out of place, such as in summer. The end of the calendar year is a common time of year for format switches. As such, Christmas music may be aired for a prolonged period of time from as early as October and/or extend as late as New Year's Day, while the station prepares the switch. Conversely, when 94.9 in Atlanta changed from adult contemporary to country music in the middle of December 2006, it abruptly stopped playing its annual Christmas music a week before the holiday.

A brief 24/7 Christmas music format is also common during Christmas in July stunts.

Christmas music on satellite & internet radio

Outside of traditional AM/FM radio, satellite radio providers XM and Sirius typically devote multiple channels to different genres of Christmas music during the holiday season. Internet radio services such as AOL Radio, AccuRadio and Live365 also offer Christmas music channels, some of them available year-round. Citadel Media produced The Christmas Channel, a syndicated 24-hour radio network, during the holiday season in past years (though in 2012, Citadel has indicated it will instead include Christmas music on its regular Classic Hits network). Music Choice offers holiday music to its digital cable, cable modem, and mobile phone subscribers between November 1 and Christmas on its "Sounds of the Seasons" channel (Music Choice also mixes Christmas music into the regular playlist on its "Soft Rock" channel during this time). DMX provides holiday music as part of its SonicTap music service for digital cable and DirecTV subscribers, as does Dish Network via its in-house Dish CD music channels. Services such as Muzak also distribute Christmas music to retail stores for use as in-store background music during the holidays.

The growing popularity of Internet radio has inspired other media outlets to begin offering Christmas music. In 2009 Phoenix television station KTVK launched four commercial-free online radio stations including Ho Ho Radio, which streams Christmas music throughout the month of December.

Although the Christmas season by definition runs until January 6 (Epiphany), and is observed until at least New Year's Eve by the public, almost all broadcasters skip the last Twelve Days of Christmas, abruptly ending all holiday music at or even before midnight on December 26, and not playing a single Christmas song again until the next November. (Several radio stations actually promote this, with ads that proudly proclaim to listeners weary of the Christmas music that the station's regular format will indeed return on December 26, as soon as Christmas Day is over.) It is not uncommon for broadcasters to market the twelve-day period leading up to Christmas (December 14 to 25) as the "Twelve Days of Christmas," contrary to the traditional definition. Much Christmas music is so closely associated with the holiday that it would be difficult or impossible to play after Christmas Day without bringing up references that the broadcaster may wish to ignore (such as those that involve Santa Claus, who has already come and gone by Christmas morning). On occasion, some Christmas music stations will continue to play at least some Christmas music through the weekend following Christmas, or even through New Year's Day, but never any later.

In Ireland, a temporary radio station named Christmas FM broadcasts on a temporary license in Dublin and Cork from 28 November to 26 December, solely playing Christmas music.

In the U.K., the Festive Fifty list of indie rock songs is broadcast starting on Christmas Day, originally by BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, and nowadays by Internet radio station Dandelion Radio.

Further reading

  • Stories Behind The Best-Loved Songs Of Christmas by Ace Collins, 160 pages, ISBN 0-7624-2112-6, 2004.
  • The International Book of Christmas Carols by W. Ehret and G. K. Evans, Stephen Greene Press, Vermont, ISBN 0-8289-0378-6, 1980.
  • Victorian Songs and Music by Olivia Bailey, Caxton Publishing, ISBN 1-84067-468-7, 2002.
  • Spirit of Christmas: A History of Our Best-Loved Carols by Virginia Reynolds and Lesley Ehlers, ISBN 0-88088-414-2, 2000.
  • Christmas Music Companion Fact Book by Dale V. Nobbman, ISBN 1-57424-067-6, 2000.

External links


An oven-roasted brine-soaked turkey.

This page is a list of Christmas dishes as eaten around the world. These food items are traditionally eaten at or associated with the Christmas season.


  • Roast pork with crackling
  • Glazed baked ham leg
  • Roast leg of spring lamb
  • Roast chickens
candy canes




Gingerbread house


Pan de pascua


Colombian Buñuelos
Colombian natilla

Colombian Christmas dishes are mostly sweets and desserts. Some of the most popular dishes include:


Czech Republic

Christmas cookies (vánoc(ní cukroví)

The traditional meal (served as dinner on Christmas Eve) consists of either fish soup or pea soup and fried fish (traditionally carp) served with potato salad. The recipe for potato salad differs slightly among every Czech family. The main ingredients are: potato cooked with jacket, canned peas, onions, cooked carrots, parsley and celery, pickled gherkins, cooked eggs and mayonnaise. Some families may add grated apples or salami. The best potato salad is prepared a day before Christmas Eve so that all the ingredients can "mellow" for a day. The Christmas dinner should be the first food consumed that day. Those who do not break the Christmas shrove are believed to be able to see a golden pig on a wall.

Before the Christmas holidays, many kinds of sweet biscuits are prepared. Traditionally, the more kinds the housewife prepares, the greater appreciation she gets. The Christmas cookies are then served during the whole Christmas period and exchanged among friends and neighbours. Very popular is also a preparation of small ginger breads garnished by sugar icing.


Danish Christmas meal
  • æbleskiver - traditional Danish spherical pancakes (a type of doughnut with no hole), sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with raspberry or strawberry jam
  • roasted chestnuts with salt and butter
  • boiled whole potatoes
  • brun sovs (brown sauce) - a traditional dark gravy, used to cover meat dishes like roasted pork and duck (flæskesteg, andesteg) and the boiled potato
  • brunede kartofler - caramelised potatoes
  • Julebryg - Christmas beer
  • gløgg - mulled red wine combined with spices and sugar, typically served warm.
  • risalamande - rice pudding. A dish made from rice, whipped cream and almonds, served cold with cherry sauce (kirsebærsauce)
  • flæskesteg - roast pork steak with cracklings
  • andesteg - roast duck with apple and prune stuffing
  • rødkål - red cabbage pickled, sweet-sour red cabbage served as a side dish
  • Christmas cookies - Vaniljekranse, jødekager, pebernødder, honningkager og finskbrød.
  • konfekt, marcipan, caramelised fruits, nougat and chocolate-covered nuts.

Dominican Republic


Christmas Chocolate Santa

Christmas smorgasbord from Finland, "Joulupöytä", (translated "Yule table"), a traditional display of Christmas food) served at Christmas in Finland, similar to the Swedish smörgåsbord, including:

Other meat dishes could be:

  • Karelian hot pot, traditional meat stew originating from the region of Karelia (Karjalanpaisti)
  • reindeer (in northern Finland) (poro)
  • cold smoked salmon (kylmäsavulohi)


  • rice pudding or rice porridge topped with cinnamon, sugar and cold milk or with mixed fruit soup (riisipuuro)
  • gingerbread, sometimes in the form of a gingerbread house or gingerbread man (piparkakut)
  • chocolate (given as presents, eaten in-between meals, called suklaa)
  • prune jam pastries (Joulutortut)
  • mixed fruit soup or prune soup (sekahedelmäkiisseli, luumukiisseli)


  • glogg or mulled wine (glögi)
  • Christmas beer (Jouluolut)
  • home beer (non-alcoholic beer-like drink) (kotikalja)
  • red wine (punaviini)
  • Marski's tipple (akvavit, vermouth and gin) (Marskin ryyppy)
  • milk (maito)
  • sour milk (often drunk by older people)
  • Coca-Cola (often drunk by children)
  • coffee (kahvi)


Foie gras en cocotte


A Christmas Stollen
  • Christstollen Stollen is a fruitcake with bits of candied fruits, raisins, walnuts and almonds and spices such as cardamom and cinnamon; sprinkled with icing sugar. Often there's also a core of marzipan.
  • Pfefferkuchenhaus - a gingerbread house decorated with candies, sweets and sugar icing (in reference to the gingerbread house of the fairy tale Hänsel und Gretel)
  • Weisswurst - sausages with veal and bacon, usually flavoored with parsley, lemon, mace, onions, ginger and cardamom
  • Kartoffelsalat (potato salad) with Wiener (sausages) is traditionally eaten in northern Germany for lunch on Christmas Eve
  • Schäufele (a corned, smoked ham) usually served with potato salad in southern Germany for dinner on Christmas Eve.
  • Printen
  • Oblaten Lebkuchen
  • Springerle
  • Weihnachtsplätzchen (Christmas cookies)
  • Roasted goose
  • Carp


  • tamales
  • ponche (Christmas fruit punch served hot with lots of fruits)
  • pavo (Turkey)
  • buñuelos (Fluffy sweet dessert made with corn with maple syrup)
  • chicken (Prepared with different stuffings and accompanied with various side dishes such as salads or rice)
  • chuchitos
  • fish (Prepared with different spices and side dishes based on rice and coconut, very typical of the northern areas of Guatemala)

Hong Kong


Töltött káposzta
  • fish soup (halászlé) various recipes
  • stuffed cabbage (töltött káposzta)
  • roast goose
  • roast duck
  • roast turkey
  • pastry roll filled with walnut or poppy seed (bejgli)
  • bread pudding with poppy seed (mákos guba or bobájka)
  • szaloncukor





  • Christmas cake - Different from a UK Christmas cake or American fruitcake, the Japanese style Christmas cake is a white cream cake, often sponge cake frosted with whipped cream, topped with strawberries and with a chocolate plate that says Merry Christmas.


  • twelve-dish Christmas Eve supper - twelve dishes representing the twelve Apostles or twelve months of the year - plays the main role in Lithuanian Christmas tradition. The traditional dishes are served on December 24.
    • poppy milk (aguonu; pienas)
    • slizikai ( or ku-c(iukai) - slightly sweet small pastries made from leavened dough and poppy seed
    • ausele.s (Deep fried dumplings or pierogi)
    • herring with carrots (silke. su morkomis')
    • herring with mushrooms (silke. su grybais')
    • spanguoliu; kisielius - cranberry and milk sauce dessert


Christmas roast
  • Ensalada de Noche Buena - Christmas Eve Salad
  • bacalao - clipfish or cod
  • romeritos - small green leaves of a particular type mixed generally with mole and potatoes; generally accompanied with "tortitas de camarón" (shrimp bread)
  • pavo - Turkey
  • tamales - Some Mexican families, particularly in the northern part of Mexico and southern American states have tamales only at Christmas Eve instead of the typical Bacalao, Romeritos and/or Turkey.
  • ponche - a hot, sweet drink made with apples, sugar cane, prunes and tejocotes. For grown-ups, ponche is never complete without its "piquete" - either tequila or rum

New Zealand

A homemade Christmas pavlova decorated with pomegranate seeds and Chantilly cream.


Scandinavian-style gingerbread
  • gløgg - mulled wine
  • Julepølse - Pork sausage made with powdered ginger, cloves, mustard seeds and nutmeg. Served steamed or roasted.
  • lutefisk - fish preserved with lye that has been washed and boiled
  • pinnekjøtt - salted, dried, and smoked lamb's ribs which are rehydrated and then steamed, traditionally over birch branches
  • svineribbe - pork ribs roasted whole with the skin on, rather than spare ribs
  • Julegrøt - Christmas rice pudding with an almond hidden inside
  • sossiser - small Christmas sausages
  • medisterkaker - Large meatballs made from a mix of pork meat and pork fat
  • rødkål - sweet and sour red cabbage, as a side dish
  • pepperkake - gingerbread-like spice cookies flavoured with black pepper
  • lussekatter - St. Lucia Buns


Large bibingka from the Philippines
  • ham
  • queso de bola (edam cheese)
  • puto bumbong - a purple-coloured Filipino dessert made of sweet rice cooked in hollow bamboo tubes placed on a special steamer-cooker. When cooked, they are spread with margarine and sprinkled with sugar and grated coconut.
  • bibingka - traditional dessert made with rice flour, sugar, clarified butter and coconut milk. baked in layers and topped with butter and sugar.
  • Lechon
  • salads(either fruit, coconut or garden)
  • Filipino style spaghetti


See also: Twelve-dish Christmas Eve supper


  • perú assado - roasted turkey
  • bacalhau – codfish (any recipe - there are more than 1001 ways to prepare it)
  • cabrito assadao - roasted goat
  • borrego assado - roasted lamb
  • polvo cozido - boiled octopus
  • Bolo Rei (King Cake) - a beautifully decorated fluffy fruitcake
  • Bolo-Rei Escangalhado (Broken King Cake)- it is like the first one, but has also cinnamon and chilacayote jam (doce de gila)
  • Bolo-Rei de Chocolate (Chocolate King Cake) - it is like the King Cake, but only has chilacayote jam, nuts, raisins and less (or no) fruit, which is replaced by lots of chocolate chips
  • Bolo-Rainha (Queen Cake) - similar to Bolo-Rei, but with only nuts, raisins and almonds
  • Bolo-Rei Escangalhado (Broken King Cake) - similar to the Bolo-Rei, but in its recipe are added cinnamon and chilacayote jam (gila)
  • Bolo-Rei de Chocolate - it is like the Bolo-Rei, but has less (or no) fruit, nuts, chilacayote jam and lots of chocolate chips
  • broa castelar - a small, soft and thin cake made of sweet potato and orange
  • fatias douradas - golden slices, known as french toast - slices of pan bread, soaked in egg with sugar, fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon
  • rabanadas - they are like fatias douradas, but made with common bread
  • formigos - a delicious dessert made with sugar, eggs, pieces of bread, almonds, port wine and powdered with cinnamon
  • filhoses - depending on the region, the may be thin or fluffy pieces of a fried dough made of eggs, honey, orange, lemon, flour and anise, sprinkled - or not with icing sugar
  • coscorões - thin squares of a fried orange flavoured dough
  • azevias de grão, batata-doce ou gila - deep fried thin dough pastries filled with a delicious cream made of chickpea, sweet potato or chilacayote, powdered with sugar and cinnamon
  • tarte de amêndoa - almond pie
  • tronco de Natal - Christmas log - a delicious Swiss roll, resembling a tree's trunk, filled with chocolate cream, decorated with chocolate and mini - 2 cm Christmas trees
  • brigadeiros - creamy chocolate balls
  • lampreia de ovos - a sweet made of eggs, well decorated
  • sonhos - an orange flavoured fried yeast dough, powdered with icing sugar
  • velhoses - they are like the sonhos, but made with pumpkin
  • bolo de Natal - Christmas cake
  • pudim de Natal - Christmas pudding
  • chocolate quente - hot chocolate
  • vinho quente - eggnog made with boiled wine, egg yolk, sugar and cinnamon

Puerto Rico


  • piftie - pork and beef based aspic, with pork meat, vegetables and garlic
  • cârnat,i - pork-based sausages
  • toba- - various cuttings of pork, liver boiled, diced and "packed" in pork stomach like a salami
  • sarmale - rolls of cabbage pickled in brine and filled with meat and rice (see sarma)
  • cozonac, sort of Romanian equivalent of panettone
  • caltaborsh
  • coada de porc


  • fish soup for the Christmas Eve
  • koljivo - boiled wheat which is used liturgically in the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic churches
  • C(esnica - Christmas soda bread with a silver coin to bring health and good luck baked in the bread



Julbord Christmas dinner in Sweden

United Kingdom & Ireland

Christmas pudding

In the United Kingdom, what is now regarded as the traditional meal consists of roast turkey, served with roast potatoes and parsnips and other vegetables, followed by Christmas pudding, a heavy steamed pudding made with dried fruit, suet, and very little flour. Other roast meats may be served, and in the nineteenth century the traditional roast was goose. The same carries over to Ireland with some variations.

United States

Roast turkey

See also: Thanksgiving (the dishes tend to be similar)


  • hallaca - rectangle-shaped meal made of maize, filled with beef, pork, olives, raisins and caper, and wrapped in plantain leaves
  • pan de jamón - ham-filled bread with olives and raisins
  • dulce de lechosa - dessert made of cooked sliced unripe papaya in sugar syrup
  • ensalada de gallina - salad made of potato, carrot, apple and shredded chicken
  • pernil - roast pork shoulder

San Clemente is a city in Orange County, California, United States. As of 2005, the city population was 65,338. Located six miles south of San Juan Capistrano at the southern tip of the county, it is roughly equidistant from San Diego and Los Angeles. The north entrance to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton (known as the "Christianitos Gate") is located in San Clemente.

Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, the area was inhabited by what came to be known as the Juaneño Indians. After the founding of Mission San Juan Capistrano, the local natives were conscripted to work for the mission. The city of San Clemente was founded in 1925 by real estate developer (and former mayor of Seattle) Ole Hanson who named it San Clemente after a town in Spain. As it were, San Clemente Island was named after the city later since it is directly west of the coast. Hanson envisioned it as a Spanish-style coastal resort town, a "Spanish Village by the Sea." In an unprecedented move, he had a clause added to the deeds requiring all building plans to be submitted to an architectural review board in an effort to ensure that future development would retain some Spanish-style influence (for example, for many years it was required that all new buildings in the downtown area have red tile roofs). It was incorporated in 1928 with a council-manager government.

Nixon's "Western White House"
In 1968 President Richard Nixon bought the H. H. Cotton estate, one of the original homes built by one of Hanson's partners. Nixon called it "La Casa Pacifica," but it was nicknamed the "Western White House", a term now commonly used for a President's vacation home. It sits above one of the West Coast's premier surfing spots, Trestles, and just north of historic surfing beach San Onofre. During Nixon's tenure it was visited by many world leaders , including Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev, Mexican President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato, and Henry Kissinger, as well as businessman Bebe Rebozo. Following his resignation, Nixon retired to San Clemente to write his memoirs. He later sold the home and moved to Park Ridge, New Jersey. The property also has historical tie to the democratic side of the aisle; prior to Nixon's tenure at the estate, H.H. Cotton was known to host Franklin D. Roosevelt, who would visit to play cards in a small outbuilding overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Surfing legacy San Clemente catches swells all year long. Going from South to North, they include Trestles (technically just south of the city line), North Gate, State Park, Riviera, Lasuen, The Hole, Beach House, T-Street, The Pier, 204, North Beach, and Poche. San Clemente is also the surfing media capital of the world as well as a premier surfing destination. It is home to Surfing Magazine, The Surfer's Journal, and Longboard Magazine, with Surfer Magazine just up the freeway in San Juan Capistrano. The city has a large concentration of surfboard shapers and manufacturers. Additionally, many world renowned surfers were raised in San Clemente or took up long-term residence in town, including Hobie Alter, Jr., Shane Beschen, Gavin Beschen, Matt Archbold, Christian Fletcher, Mike Parsons (originally from Laguna Beach), Colin McPhillips, Rocky Sabo, Colleen Mehlberg, Greg Long, Dino Andino, Chris Ward, and many, many others. San Clemente High School has won 6 out of 7 most recent NSSA national surfing titles.

Education The city is served by Capistrano Unified School District. Within the city, there are 5 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, and 1 high school. Elementary Schools: Concordia Elementary, Truman Benedict, Vista Del Mar, Las Palmas, and Lobo Elementary. Middle Schools: Bernice Ayer, Shorecliffs, and Vista Del Mar. High Schools: San Clemente High San Clemente High School is the only high school in San Clemente. Ranked in the top 1.3% of schools nationwide, San Clemente also has an IB (International Baccalaureate) Program, a vast number of AP Courses. The music program also boasts a nationally recognized Vocal Arts Program with award-winning Madrigals, Women's Ensemble, and A Cappella choirs. San Clemente's IB students rank in the top 3% of the World for their IB scores and the program has expanded vastly in the past few years under the direction of Patrick Harris and Kathleen Sigafoos, the IB Coordinators of the School.

* City of San Clemente official website
* The San Clemente Sun Post News, the town's oldest newspaper
* San Clemente Times community newspaper



Orange County is a county in Southern California, United States. Its county seat is Santa Ana. According to the 2000 Census, its population was 2,846,289, making it the second most populous county in the state of California, and the fifth most populous in the United States. The state of California estimates its population as of 2007 to be 3,098,121 people, dropping its rank to third, behind San Diego County. Thirty-four incorporated cities are located in Orange County; the newest is Aliso Viejo.

Unlike many other large centers of population in the United States, Orange County uses its county name as its source of identification whereas other places in the country are identified by the large city that is closest to them. This is because there is no defined center to Orange County like there is in other areas which have one distinct large city. Five Orange County cities have populations exceeding 170,000 while no cities in the county have populations surpassing 360,000. Seven of these cities are among the 200 largest cities in the United States.

Orange County is also famous as a tourist destination, as the county is home to such attractions as Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm, as well as sandy beaches for swimming and surfing, yacht harbors for sailing and pleasure boating, and extensive area devoted to parks and open space for golf, tennis, hiking, kayaking, cycling, skateboarding, and other outdoor recreation. It is at the center of Southern California's Tech Coast, with Irvine being the primary business hub.

The average price of a home in Orange County is $541,000. Orange County is the home of a vast number of major industries and service organizations. As an integral part of the second largest market in America, this highly diversified region has become a Mecca for talented individuals in virtually every field imaginable. Indeed the colorful pageant of human history continues to unfold here; for perhaps in no other place on earth is there an environment more conducive to innovative thinking, creativity and growth than this exciting, sun bathed valley stretching between the mountains and the sea in Orange County.

Orange County was Created March 11 1889, from part of Los Angeles County, and, according to tradition, so named because of the flourishing orange culture. Orange, however, was and is a commonplace name in the United States, used originally in honor of the Prince of Orange, son-in-law of King George II of England.

Incorporated: March 11, 1889
Legislative Districts:
* Congressional: 38th-40th, 42nd & 43
* California Senate: 31st-33rd, 35th & 37
* California Assembly: 58th, 64th, 67th, 69th, 72nd & 74

County Seat: Santa Ana
County Information:
Robert E. Thomas Hall of Administration
10 Civic Center Plaza, 3rd Floor, Santa Ana 92701
Telephone: (714)834-2345 Fax: (714)834-3098
County Government Website:


Noteworthy communities Some of the communities that exist within city limits are listed below: * Anaheim Hills, Anaheim * Balboa Island, Newport Beach * Corona del Mar, Newport Beach * Crystal Cove/Pelican Hill, Newport Beach * Capistrano Beach, Dana Point * El Modena, Orange * French Park, Santa Ana * Floral Park, Santa Ana * Foothill Ranch, Lake Forest * Monarch Beach, Dana Point * Nellie Gail, Laguna Hills * Northwood, Irvine * Woodbridge, Irvine * Newport Coast, Newport Beach * Olive, Orange * Portola Hills, Lake Forest * San Joaquin Hills, Laguna Niguel * San Joaquin Hills, Newport Beach * Santa Ana Heights, Newport Beach * Tustin Ranch, Tustin * Talega, San Clemente * West Garden Grove, Garden Grove * Yorba Hills, Yorba Linda * Mesa Verde, Costa Mesa

Unincorporated communities These communities are outside of the city limits in unincorporated county territory: * Coto de Caza * El Modena * Ladera Ranch * Las Flores * Midway City * Orange Park Acres * Rossmoor * Silverado Canyon * Sunset Beach * Surfside * Trabuco Canyon * Tustin Foothills

Adjacent counties to Orange County Are: * Los Angeles County, California - north, west * San Bernardino County, California - northeast * Riverside County, California - east * San Diego County, California - southeast

Orange County is home to many colleges and universities, including:

" With God All Things Are Possible! "
Christmas Orange County Serves the Orange County and Southern California Area
and receives patrons from the following cities:

Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Brea, Buena Park, Capistrano Beach, Cerritos, Corona Del Mar, Costa Mesa, Coto De Caza, Cowan Heights, Crystal Cove, Cypress, Dana Point, Dove Canyon, El Toro, Foothill Ranch, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Huntington Harbour, Irvine, La Habra, La Habra Heights, La Palma, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Lakewood, Las Flores, Lemon Heights, Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Midway City, Mission Viejo, Modjeska Canyon, Monarch Beach, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Orange, Orange, Park Acres, Peralta Hills, Placentia, Portola Hills, Rancho Santa Margarita, Rossmoor, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Silverado Canyon, Stanton, Sunset Beach, Surfside, Trabuco Canyon, Tustin, Villa Park, Wagon Wheel, Westminster, Yorba Linda,
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Hosted by Los Patios - 111 W. Avenida Palizada, San Clemente, CA 92672

Call (714) 399-8910

"Your Christmas Smile is Valuable!"



Copyright © 2015 Christmas Orange County CA, Orange County, California

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