Christmas: A big holiday with big traditions

With the winter season quickly approaching there are plenty of different celebrations and holidays that students around DHS celebrate. According to Pew Research Center, Christianity is by far the most defined religion in Michigan with 70% of the population following it, making it a prominent part of the holiday season.

Christmas is a Christian holiday, always observed on Dec. 25, that celebrates the birth of Jesus. Although the holiday comes from Christian beliefs and origins, some non-Christians choose to celebrate the widely known holiday. Christmas is most popularly known as the holiday filled with presents, both receiving and giving, but more importantly, it gives a reason to get together with family. Christmas brings many families that may not see each other often together to celebrate. 

“On the morning of Christmas day, we go to families’ houses to celebrate,” sophomore Caleb Wolok said. “We do presents in the morning and then a big breakfast after with all of my family that’s in town.”

Christmas is filled with many traditions and backstories. The central symbol of the holiday is the Christmas tree. Some families cut down their tree of choice from tree farms, and some choose to go with plastic trees. Either way, decorating the tree is one of the most popular ways to get ready for Christmas. The Christmas tree originated in Strasbourg in 1605 and was decorated with apples in order to bring out the Christmas spirit. 

The most well-known and exciting part of Christmas, the part that most people are looking forward to, is exchanging gifts. The practice of giving gifts dates back to the 15th century when Christians were reminded of God’s gift of Jesus to mankind. The coming of the Wise Men to Bethlehem to gift baby Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh, all of which tell something about Jesus’ identity, also encouraged the tradition of exchanging presents on Christmas.

“On a weekend leading up to Christmas we throw a huge party with my dad’s side of the family,” freshman Madeline Everett said. “Then on Christmas Eve we go to church and then we come home and watch a Christmas movie as a family, and sometimes we get to open one present the night of Christmas Eve, then we go to sleep and on Christmas morning we open the rest of our presents.”

One of the most common things to do to get in the Christmas spirit is to do an advent calendar. An advent calendar is a calendar with 24 openings and inside each door is a little gift, differing depending on which advent calendar was bought. The doors are opened each day of December leading up to Christmas. There is a large variety of advent calendars available. Chocolate, makeup, socks, or pretty much anything sold regularly is sold in an advent calendar too. This tradition came from the 19th century and was created by a housewife in Germany. She made a cardboard calendar with 24 candies attached to it for each day before Christmas and gave it to her son. 

Christmas is celebrated differently from family to family. Some traditions almost every family practices and others are unique for each household. No matter what way it is celebrated, Christmas is a big holiday with lots of big traditions.

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Hailey Deitsch

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