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The History of Christmas: How It Became a Global Holiday

Real Estate Agent with Better Living Real Estate, LLC 9152684

Christmas is one of the most popular and celebrated holidays in the world. It is a time of joy, peace, and love for millions of people who commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But how did Christmas come to be? What are the origins and traditions of this festive occasion? In this blog post, I will explore the history of Christmas and how it evolved over the centuries.


The Origins of Christmas


The exact date of Jesus' birth is unknown, but most scholars agree that it was sometime between 6 and 4 BC. The first recorded celebration of Christmas was in Rome on December 25, 336 AD, during the reign of Emperor Constantine, who converted to Christianity. December 25 was chosen as the date because it coincided with the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which honored the god of agriculture and harvest. By adopting this date, the early Christians hoped to attract more converts and assimilate the existing customs and rituals.


However, not all Christians celebrated Christmas on December 25. Some Eastern churches, such as the Armenian and Coptic churches, celebrated it on January 6, which was also the date of Epiphany, the manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles. This date was also associated with the baptism of Jesus and the visit of the Magi, the wise men who brought gifts to the newborn king. Other churches, such as the Ethiopian and Russian Orthodox churches, celebrated Christmas on January 7, due to the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars.


The Traditions of Christmas


Over the centuries, Christmas developed into a rich and diverse holiday, with various traditions and customs from different cultures and regions. Some of the most common and familiar ones are:

  • The Christmas tree: The origin of the Christmas tree can be traced back to the ancient Germans, who decorated evergreen trees with candles and fruits to celebrate the winter solstice. The tradition was later adopted by the Christians, who saw the tree as a symbol of eternal life and the light of Christ. The first recorded use of a Christmas tree in a church was in 1521 in Germany, by Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant Reformation. The custom spread to other parts of Europe and America, where it became popular in the 19th century, thanks to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who introduced it to England from Germany.
  • The Christmas wreath: The Christmas wreath is another ancient symbol of the winter solstice, representing the cycle of the seasons and the renewal of life. The wreath is usually made of evergreen branches, such as holly, ivy, or mistletoe, and decorated with ribbons, berries, or pine cones. The wreath is often hung on the door or the window, as a sign of welcome and hospitality. The circular shape of the wreath also symbolizes the unity and harmony of the family and the community.
  • The Christmas carols: The Christmas carols are songs of praise and joy that celebrate the birth of Jesus and the message of the gospel. The word "carol" comes from the French word "carole", which means a circle dance with singing. The first Christmas carols were sung in Latin by the early Christians, who used them as a way of spreading their faith and expressing their emotions. The carols became more popular and diverse in the Middle Ages, when they were sung in the vernacular languages and incorporated folk melodies and instruments. Some of the oldest and most famous carols are "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel", "Silent Night", "O Holy Night", and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing".
  • The Christmas gifts: The Christmas gifts are a way of showing love and gratitude to the people who are important in our lives. The tradition of giving gifts at Christmas is inspired by the gifts that the Magi brought to Jesus, as well as the gift of God's Son to the world. The gifts are usually wrapped in colorful paper and placed under the Christmas tree or in stockings. The gifts are usually opened on Christmas morning or on Christmas Eve, depending on the family's preference and tradition.

The Meaning of Christmas


Christmas is more than just a holiday. It is a celebration of the greatest gift of all: Jesus Christ, who came to earth as a baby, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again on the third day, defeating death and sin. Christmas is a reminder of God's love and grace for us, and His invitation to have a personal relationship with Him. Christmas is also a time to share this love and grace with others, by being generous, kind, and compassionate. Christmas is a time to rejoice in the hope and peace that we have in Christ, and to look forward to His return and the glory of His kingdom.


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Lew Corcoran
Licensed Massachusetts Real Estate Agent
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Better Living Real Estate, LLC
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Hello Lew - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year.  The spirit of events remains interesting.

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Merry Christmas! John 3:16

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Thank you very much for this special post.

Best wishes to you and your family for a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and yours's on this special day.

Bill Salvatore Arizona Elite Properties 

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Lew Corcoran wishing you also a very special and Merry Christmas.

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Well done, a great recap of such a celebrated holiday. Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas Lew,

Wishing you and your loved ones many blessings this Christmas!



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Lew, such a beautiful post today, and know not everyone celebrates Christmas.   Hope you enjoyed yours.

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Lew Corcoran - thank you for summarizing the history of why Christmas is celebrated. Most of what you shared resonated with my background of studying and practicing religion. My family celebrated Christmas on the 25th of December, January 6 & 7th. 

Your summary of the meaning of Christmas was beautifully written. 

Merry Christmas! Congratulations of having your blog post featured. What an honor, and I was proud to read it. I wish you many more featured stories on ActiveRain. 




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 As I live more life, I have discovered a lot of wonderful traditions from friends and family and acquaintances. Merry Christmas again to everybody! :

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This was an exceptional post on the history of Christmas meaning and celebrations around the world. 

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Many believe that Jesus was born between March and April . It is interesting how the  Church blended holidays with the heathen in order to gain membership 

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Great history of Christmas.  Thank you so much for sharing. I figured it had to be created right after AD, given the meaning, but not sure when.  Understanding when it was celebrated and where is very interesting. 

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Season greetings to you all,


cat Shueh

From land of Miao.

Sam Shueh 

Silicon Valley , CA

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Good evening Lew,

I especially liked your recap of the history of the Christmas story! Wishing you and your family a blessed holiday!

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I love this post Lew.  As I was reading about the Christmas tree and knew of my German heritage, maybe that is why I love the trees so much.  Who knows, but I do love the way you ended the post.  This is the true meaning of Christmas and God gave us the best gift of all!  Thank you so much for this post.  Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Christmas is a time to rejoice in the hope and peace that we have in Christ, and to look forward to His return and the glory of His kingdom.


I find it fascinating that so many religions celebrate in some way - with light - at this time of the year. The Hindus have Dewali, the Jews have Hannukah, Christians have Christmas, the Muslims have Eid. We all need the promise of light in the dark of the year.

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Very nice post Lew. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and can't wait to see what you post for Easter.


Happy New Year!


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Such a great post! I'm glad it was featured. Thank you for sharing. It is important to know the origins of our celebrations. Good job! Merry Christmas!!

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