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The History of ChristmasChristmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Roman Catholics and Protestants believe the day falls on December 25, while Orthodox Christians follow the Julian Calendar, and place the day on January 6. Christians are divided as to whether Christmas should be a day of celebration or a day of somber observance. Today, it is the most popular holiday in the world, and millions of people celebrate it in many different ways.
Christmas did not gain recognition as a prominent national holiday until the late nineteenth century. Before this time, Congress met on December 25, many people still worked, and the celebration was even banned in some areas.
During World War II, it became necessary for the American public to mail Christmas gifts to soldiers several weeks in advance to ensure timely arrival. Many shopkeepers and stores attempted to remind the public of this important event. Soon, merchants realized that this extended shopping time heavily increased their holiday business. And thus, the lengthened shopping season became the norm. Some stores started publicizing Christmas this year before Halloween!
The Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol helped popularize Christmas as a time for giving, and emphasized family involvement.
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