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.

Christmas Drama

For Christmas customs that include an element of playacting, see BLACK PETER

Christmas Crackers

In Great Britain Christmas crackers are a common holiday party favor. Wrapped in colored paper, these cardboard tubes contain a fortune (or motto) and a small toy. When pulled from both ends, they burst open with a popping noise.

Christmas Club

In the United States many banks and credit unions offer their cus-tomers the opportunity to save money for Christmas by opening a special “Christmas club” savings account.

Christmas Carol

Over the centuries Christmas has inspired countless songs. Which of the many pieces of vocal music written for Christmas qualify as true Christmas carols?

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens (1812-1870), is perhaps the best-known and best-loved Christmas story of all time. Some writers even credit the tale with changing the way nineteenth-century Britons and Americans celebrated Christmas.

Christmas Card

Historians credit the English with the invention and popularization of the Christmas card during the early years of the Victorian era (see also CHRISTMAS IN VICTORIAN ENGLAND).

Christmas Candles

In past centuries families throughout the British Isles, IRELAND, FRANCE, DENMARK, and Scandinavia observed Christmas by lighting especially large candles.

Christmas Cakes

Bread is a staple food in European cuisine. Since medieval times European cooks have enriched this everyday food for the Christmas table.