Probably the most celebrated holiday on the Christian calendar, Christmas means many things to many people...memories of days-gone-by, twinkling tree lights, or quiet church services. A child's Christmas wouldn't be complete without Santa Claus. For some, a special meal with family is the most important part of the day, no matter what the menu.
For many, however, Christmas is the time to get in touch with those who are most special, be it through meals shared, parties enjoyed, or gifts, greeting cards, and e-cards exchanged.
There's more to the history of Christmas than just the birth of Jesus Christ. For many centuries prior to his birth, early Europeans celebrated the winter solstice on or around December 21st.
Many believe that Christian rulers organized The Feast of the Nativity to discourage these pagan festivals and in 350 AD, Pope Julius I proclaimed December 25th to be Christmas Day.
Modern celebrations didn't really get their start until the 19th century with the popularity of books like Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
The holiday is celebrated on December 25th, though some continue the celebration up until 12 days later, on the Feast of the Epiphany. Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada continue the festivities on December 26th with the celebration of Boxing Day.