Over the past century Americans have turned Christmas into a very expensive holiday. Richard Feinberg, professor of consumer sciences and retailing at Purdue University, estimated that Christmas-related expenses would cost Americans $800 billion in the year 2002.

Christmas Village

For many centuries people have delighted in constructing miniature landscapes for Christmas.

Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree originally hails from GERMANY. Today it is a recognized symbol of the holiday in many parts of the globe. The earliest historical reference to decorated Christmas trees in German homes dates back to the sixteenth century (see also CHRISTMAS VILLAGE; ORNAMENTS).

Christmas Symbols

Over the centuries many Christmas symbols have emerged from the lore, legends, and customs surrounding Christmas.

Christmas Sheaf

One old Scandinavian Christmas custom is for the birds ... literally. Many Nordic families offer food to the birds at Christmas time. The traditional offering consists of a sheaf of grain placed on a pole, fence, or rooftop.

Christmas Season

How long is the Christmas season? The answer varies from place to place and from age to age. In the United States today, the Christmas season is often equated with the shopping and GIFT-return season.

Christmas Seals

Many people embellish the CHRISTMAS CARDS, letters, and packages they send during the holiday season with special, decorative stamps called Christmas seals.

Christmas Rose

This five-petalled rose blooms around Christmas time and so acquired the popular names “Christmas rose,” “winter rose,” and “snow rose.” Although at first glance the flowers appear to be white, the petals also carry a faint hint of pink.

Christmas Markets

In such European countries as GERMANY, Belgium, Austria, Holland, SPAIN, Sweden, and ITALY, special outdoor Christmas markets flourish during the CHRISTMAS SEASON. Local merchants construct stalls in an open square or plaza and decorate them with CHRISTMAS SYMBOLS and themes.

Christmas Lads

In ICELAND thirteen leprechaun-like creatures known as the Jola-Sveinar, or Christmas Lads, visit homes during the CHRISTMAS SEASON. An old Icelandic legend tells us that they are the sons of a giant female troll named Gryla.
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