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when does christmas begin and end?

It is no secret that, with each passing year, what is perceived as the "Christmas season" begins earlier and earlier. We've come a long way from the time that hardly anyone really got excited about Christmas until Christmas Eve.

Many of us are old enough to remember a time when most people didn't even put up and decorate the tree until the 24th. It then remained in place until Twelfth Night. On that night, people would bring their trees to the city square or park and have a huge bonfire to celebrate the official end of the Christmas season. The next day, of course, being Epiphany.

Still though, year after year, we hear sermons preached about the secularization of Christmas. We hear loud complaints from the pulpit about the way the commercial world has STOLEN Christmas. Actually, from my point of view, we Christians actually GAVE CHRISTMAS AWAY.

Last year, as way of building my case, I called more than a dozen major American Christian radio stations and networks providing Christian programming. Not one said it planned on playing Christmas music more than just a few days after Christmas. Several said that they planned on putting it away on the night of the 26th. Only one said it MIGHT play a few seasonal songs past the first of January.

What really amazed me was the comment I got from one of the disc- jockeys at one of the largest Christian radio stations in the US. He told me, "Well, the 12 Days of Christmas END on Christmas, don't they?"

Isn't that the problem? Even the Christian media thinks that Christmas is over when Christmas dinner is put in the refrigerator and the dishes are washed. I really don't think that any of us has the right to complain about Christmas being "stolen" when we do little, if anything, to actually keep the religious aspects of the holiday as a counterpoint to the secular.

Isn't a vital part of Christianity, the WITNESSING of our faith? What better way than to actually celebrate Christmas according to the pre- commercial tradition. Not to sound flip, but, think about it. Not only would churches and groups sponsoring Christmas parties find fewer "no vacancy" signs in restaurants and convention centers, but the prices would be less were we to hold our concerts, celebrations and parties AFTER Christmas....between the 25th of December and the 6th of January. And, if we look a little out of place celebrating the Birth of Christ and the Christmas season in early January (while we await the arrival of the Wise Men), maybe our "oddly timed celebration" would tell the commercial world that WE are the ones who really own Christmas, they don't.

Advent was never designed as a time to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. The more that we Christians go along with the all-too- early observance of Christmas, the more we play into the hands of those who are more interested in selling the holiday, not celebrating it. It may be too early for this time around, but it would be an interesting way to ring in the new Millennium.... actually celebrating Christmas beginning with the vigil on Christmas Eve. That's the way they did it when the First Millennium was coming to a close.

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[MOD - quote tags and source added - Bikerman]
Iím not really religious because I think it offends others by what religion I might chose, but in my family they do celebrate Christmas, so you can say I am Christian, but almost everyone either they are Christians or not celebrate it.
Over to what I have to say, it is completely true about the Christmas being commercial, we live in a maternal world so itís unavoidable to not see someone sell something that should be more special and sacred.

Both my mother and I have stopped decorating and following the tradition as people might say it is. Tradition for me is something that means something besides ĎOh my god, presents!í, money is being wasted on things we donít need or think we need before they get thrown away or forgotten after a few weeks or months. I appreciate a card or a letter more than an object I donít find use for and will place in a box and forget about, and if it should be a card I like a home made one.

I have seen Christmas decorations in stress already, and I am pretty sure that if anyone sends me anything like that Iíll send it back to them with a card telling them they wasted their money on something I think is garbage. Iím not cruel; I just see what people are doing to this world.

One of my younger sisters, she is now 12; was asked in class what Christmas was about, all the other kids answered gifts and holyday, but she answered it was about Jesus and his birth. She isnít Christian but she knows what it is about, and I do to.

I donít live in USA so there isnít a lot of Christmas lights, turkey and such here, but a lot of shopping amongst people and travelling.
well these festivals are only about celebrating, remembering a few things. In India we dotn get turkey at all Sad
Beng rasied athiest, christmas was never about Jesus, instead it was about waking up super early and raiding our stockings while my sister and I took turns trying to get our parents up. Then we would open up our presents and have lox and bagels (my mom grew up in a jewish was only when i was 16 that I found out this was not the traditional christmas breakfast). We would then go have dinner with some friends (we have no family close by) and talk and play games. By 11pm chistmas was over and all we had to show for it was a ton of presents. So for me chistmas was about 24 hours. If I wanted it to be would not be to take it away from the commercial industry (I love the cheer of trees in store windows and jolly music) but to prolong the period of warmth and the love i think comes from finding the right present. I know that many think material things are a horrible way to celebrate Chistmas....but I think if you think that you are doing it all wrong. I spend all year gathering gifts and spend a lot of time thinking what people might like. To me, presents are about giving a person the gift they never asked for, didn't know they wanted, but will bring them a ton of happiness. For example my sister got me a weird head massager once (I have really bad migranes). Now I had no idea what this contraption was when I opened it, but when I found out it was an item she got me after hours of searching on amazon and in the store it meant so much to me...and I use it all the time to relieve pain. I would never have done all that searching on my own. I feel like presents are a way to show a person you care about them and want to take the time to find them something that makes them happy. By giving over (or having them steal) chistmas to the commercial business we have found a new way to celebrate (one that us non-believers can participate in) and we have been able to start the holiday in june (okay I am a strong believer that chistmas decorations should not be put up before thanksgiuving...but I love buying candycanes in october too) and share that cheer for a long time. Sure it comes to an abrupt halt on the 26th, but I hope it has given people some cheer and giving spirit so they can spend the non-chistmas time being just a bit more kind.
Is just a celebration for christians but being an important group I thought it was a good idea to put some reference, I'd like to read about other religions, other celebrations.

It should be great to share information about how countries do celebrate Christmas Day.
The commercial "Christmas" has been going now for some time-it seems once the Autumn sales are over shopps gear up for the next big event on the spending calendar -Christmas

BTW Edwil the 12 days of Christmas actually start on the 25th of December and last until the 6th of January(twelveth night). Many of the eastern or orthodox Christian groups still celebate Christmas in this way with the big event being at the end of the period not the start.

I must admit Christmas to many Christians is a time for family to get together and celebrate the birth of Christ in a simple way without the razzamatazz of the secular Christmas. Presents are given but they are often inexpensive, particularly between adults, and just make one think of the gifts of the wise men.
Oh i was not knowing these things Smile, well in India we celebrate on 25th December.We enjoy lot.
our enjoyment lasts till 1st January.We have lots of fun every year.
The whole month of December is a christmas for us. We shop a lot, we eat a lot and we will enjoy the most of our time...we make sure that for we will have a memorable christmas every year.
I gotta say, I don't mind Christmas being extended or commercialized. The decorations are nice (especially all the lights, we make our house the best in the neighborhood!), the music's good, and we get to see family that we don't usually visit. It's all a great time.
I argee with you.
it starts when you wan to listen to christmas songs

and ends when you can`t face left overs or sandwiches any longer
I generally speaking dislike it when any part of Christmas leaks into November. If nothing else, it should stay within it's alloted month, even if we have to have weeks of lead up.

I don't know to what extent all of that build up is Christian vs commercialisation, but I suppose some part of it is at least thinking about the Christian message inherent in the event, and so has some redeeming value there. Yes, I'm Christian, in case you didn't just work it out.
I love Christmas, but I find selling Christmas stuff November 1st is a bit much. The last two weeks would be fine, since a lot of people probably want to get their places decorated for December 1st. For me, the Christmas season runs from December 1st to January 2nd.
For me Christmas generally runs from approx December 16th, when I sort of wake up with a jolt that I have lots of Christmas shopping to do, and it ends at the end of the first week of January. I must say I miss Christmas in South Africa where my family are as well as Canada where many of my friends are. Celebration of Christmas in the Middle East is not the same, but at least we have the freedom to celebrate and most of the big malls in Dubai have some Christmas trimmings here and there. We obviously have to put in leave for Christmas day as usually it is a working day, but this year of course Christmas will fall on a Saturday. I can't believe it is getting close to that time of the year again!

Follow that link to the most tear worthy Christmas song ever sung. Yeah, it gets to me every time. That is what Christmas is about, to me.
Amazed that this thread has resurfaced after three years, but not amazed that folk think that commercial Christmas starts far too early
I think
in every country it is different.
Some countries start at January 6.
Here in centre Europe during August You can buy Xmas things and the people talk in chats about Xmas presents.
We don't have Christmas even I'm a christian, our religion don't believe in that because no one knows the really birthday of Jesus. It is not even written in the bible. I think there's a writings there that make us realize that the day of birth of Jesus is just like summer, so it should not be December cause it is winter. We of our family never celebrate it, it's okay for us, more savings. Just spend on celebrating new year. We believe in New year xD
All days like Easter or Xmas are only for remember. Nothing happened again on this day, You can see
some countries celebrate 24.12.
other countries
because of that.
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