Christmas or Christmas Day or "x-mas day" is a holiday observed mostly on December 25 to commemorate the birth of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity. The date is not known to be the actual birthday of Jesus, and may have initially been chosen to correspond with either the day exactly nine months after some early Christians believed Jesus had been conceived, the date of the winter solstice on the ancient Roman calendar, or one of various ancient winter festivals. Christmas is central to the Christmas and holiday season, and in Christianity marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days.
Although nominally a
Christian holiday, Christmas is also widely celebrated by many non-Christians, and many of its popular celebratory customs have pre-Christian or secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, music, an exchange of greeting cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various decorations; including Christmas trees, lights, garlands, mistletoe, nativity scenes, and holly. In addition, Father Christmas (or Santa Claus) is a popular folklore figure in many countries, associated with the bringing of gifts for children.
86 days, 3 hours, 34 minutes, 49 seconds until Christmas 2016
, also known as
or simply "
", is the
figure who, in many
to the homes of the good children during the late evening and overnight hours of
or on his
Saint Nicholas Day
). The legend may have part of its basis in
tales concerning the historical figure of gift giver
. While Saint Nicholas was originally portrayed wearing bishop's robes, in modern times, Santa Claus is generally depicted as a plump, jolly, white-bearded man wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots. This image became popular in the
in the 19th century due to the significant influence of caricaturist and political cartoonist
. This image has been maintained and reinforced through
song, radio, television, and films
. In the United Kingdom and Europe, his depiction is often identical to the American Santa, but he is commonly called
The use of decorative, festive
during the Christmas holiday season is a long standing tradition in many Christmas lights Christian cultures, and has been adopted as a secular practice in a number of other non-Christian, or non-predominantly Christian, cultures (notably in Japan).