Christmas the season of joy

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Christmas is one of the most important times of the year for people in the United States because it is a time to celebrate with family and friends. The Christmas season in the United States begins with the celebration of Thanksgiving a day prior to Christmas. Although, in reality, Christmas decorations and music begin shortly after Halloween and end with the first days of the year. So, if you plan to visit the United States for Christmas, you can enjoy the festive atmosphere all month long!

Thanksgiving day

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One of the most popular and important holidays in the country, on the fourth Thursday of November . Thanksgiving is a day in the United States when people give thanks for what they have. A roast turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, gravy, and pumpkin pie are traditionally served to families and friends.

During the Thanksgiving weekend, some cities and towns hold parades. In most areas, these celebrations also signal the start of the Christmas shopping season.

Christmas Eve

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Christmas Day, December 25th, is the most important day in the United States. It is typically observed with a large family dinner in the style of Thanksgiving dinner, which includes roast turkey, mashed potatoes, and salty meat pies.

It’s also the day Santa Claus arrives! That is why families usually eat breakfast together while opening all of the gifts he left the night before.

The most common Christmas customs in the United States

Because of the country’s multiculturalism, the United States has many traditional Christmas traditions. Many will sound familiar to you because they are similar to those in other areas; here are a few examples!

Stockings for Christmas

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One of the most recognizable Christmas symbols is the stocking. Each member of the family hangs a sock in the fireplace, and Santa leaves candy and small gifts that fit inside. The history of Saint Nicholas is where the custom of the Christmas stocking is believed to have started. In some Christmas tales, Santa Claus only leaves toys in the child’s stocking; however, in other tales (and according to tradition), he also leaves some presents wrapped up and placed under the Christmas tree. Western tradition forebodes that a child who misbehaves throughout the year will only receive a piece or pile of coal.  Even some people hang their Christmas stockings from their bedposts so that Santa Claus can stuff it while they sleep and leave it by the bed.

Christmas Tree from Nature

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One of America’s great Christmas traditions is the Christmas tree. And, because it is usually a natural tree, decorating it is an annual ritual in which the entire family participates. Santa Claus must leave all the gifts beneath it. An evergreen tree that is typically a pine, spruce, or fir that is decorated for Christmas with lights and ornaments. Freshly cut, potted, or artificial Christmas trees are used as decorations both inside and outside. Although the trees have historically been used as Christian symbols, their use today is largely secular. Around an indoor Christmas tree, many families place gifts that will be opened on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Lights and decorations

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It is very common in the United States to decorate the outside of houses at Christmas with colorful lights that usually form figures such as Christmas trees or Santa Claus. A very Christmassy family tradition, as you may have seen in many movies, is to go out and walk around the streets and see the neighbors’ light displays.

Mistletoe

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We’ve all heard of mistletoe, right? It is typically hung on front doors or in living rooms. And it is said that if two people meet under it, they must kiss… So you’ll remember that for the next time! Mistletoe is a plant that can be found on a variety of trees, such as oak, willow, and apple trees. There isn’t much proof that the custom of hanging it in the home dates back to the era of the Druids, but it is said to have originated then. It is also supposed to have mystical abilities that ward off evil spirits and bring luck to the home. It appears in the Norse mythology tale “The Death of Baldur” and was also used as a symbol of friendship and love.

Gingerbread cookies

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Sweets, as in any country, must be present during this festive season. Gingerbread and cinnamon cookies shaped like dolls are popular in the United States, as are the famous gingerbread houses to assemble and place next to the tree. To distinguish it from the harder varieties, this type of gingerbread is sometimes referred to as “gingerbread cake” or “ginger cake” in the US. Similar to other breads in this category, the French pain d’épices is typically drier and uses honey rather than treacle and less spice.

Best towns to visit for Christmas in the United States

  • Leavenworth, Washington

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                                                                                             image via Red Tricycle

This Bavarian-inspired town might end up being the best destination for the holidays because it elevates Christmas to a whole new level. At the very least, you must visit Leavenworth for its annual Christmas Lighting Festival, during which more than 500,000 Christmas lights illuminate the city and are accompanied by themed events like sledding, holiday concerts, and cider tastings. The Christkindlmarkt in Bavarian style, which offers one-of-a-kind and handcrafted gifts for everyone on your Christmas list, is one of the best holiday shopping destinations in the United States if you plan to stay in the area for an extended period of time.

The Icicle Village Resort, which is in the center of Leavenworth, is a great place to stay during the winter because it has a cosy atmosphere and a tonne of amenities like a sports bar, on-site dining options, and a gym.

Santa Claus, Indiana

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                                                                                              image via pinterest.com

Louisville International Airport is the place to fly. Santa Claus, Indiana, lives up to its name by becoming popular during the holidays. In fact, this location has everything you need for those of you who want to celebrate Christmas all year long, including year-round Christmas-themed entertainment like the Santa Claus Museum & Village and the Santa Claus Christmas Store, which is brimming with thousands of one-of-a-kind holiday treasures. During one of the first three weekends in December, the Santa Claus Christmas Celebration puts on a spectacular display of lights, holiday-themed activities, and all the milk you can drink. If you’re planning to visit Santa Claus, Indiana during that month, make sure to do so.

Arlington, Virginia

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        image via www.arlnow.com

Alexandria, Virginia, which is only a short drive from Washington, D.C., has emerged as a top holiday travel destination for Americans. A stroll down King Street offers an impressive atmosphere, a variety of unique restaurants and shops, and historical buildings and a canopy of twinkling lights. The Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights and The District’s Holiday Boat Parade, which employ thousands of lights to create a truly festive collection of lights against the water, are the next events to see after this land-based excursion.
For those seeking to indulge in the finer things that this southern state has to offer, RT’s Restaurant in downtown Alexandria, which serves up some of the most authentic Cajun and Creole food in the south, is a must-visit.

Virginia’s Williamsburg

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image via Pinterest

A stroll through Williamsburg, Virginia, during the height of the holiday season, is sure to enchant anyone—especially those with a penchant for Christmas lights—and ranks as one of the most picturesque Christmas experiences on the list. It may be in your best interest to visit Colonial Williamsburg on December 2 for the Grand Illumination, which kicks off a month of festivities related to the holiday season there. The Yankee Candle Village flagship store, where Santa’s workshop is constantly busy, has an equally impressive lighting display.

The Food For Thought restaurant in Williamsburg is truly unique in its conception for those philosophers and inventors in your life because there are quotes from philosophers, scientists, and social leaders posted on the walls, and there are discussion cards set out at each table to encourage intellectual conversation.

Pennsylvania’s Bernville

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image via www.pinterest.com

A trip to Bernville, Pennsylvania, is really just a trip to the Koziar’s Christmas Village in the town. Visitors and locals alike enjoy the one million twinkle lights that illuminate the structures and surrounding valleys, making it a truly authentic experience. For those who can’t get enough of beautiful Christmas light displays, this is a must-see.

The Overlook Mansion Bed & Breakfast, located in the Centre Park Historic District, offers a truly captivating stay complete with 19th-century charm and a sizable wraparound porch.

The Christmas celebration in the USA

The holiday season unites families everywhere, including in the United States. Christmas dinner is shared by all, along with listening to holiday music and exchanging gifts. What makes Christmas in America unique? Here is a quick summary:

Rudolph, Santa Claus, and company
In America, Santa Claus is in charge of giving gifts. He enters the house on the night of December 24 to 25, slides through the chimney, and stuffs the Christmassy-decorated living room with gifts.

A charming tale, but where do American Christmas legends originate? The stories of the various characters are motivated by this:

Santa Claus
Did Coca-Cola invent Santa Claus? Yes and no, the Santa Claus legend has its origin in Turkey, more precisely in the figure of St. Nicholas. The story was brought to America by Dutch immigrants and gained popularity through the stories of author Washington Irving. In the 1930s, the Coca-Cola brand shaped today’s characteristic look of Santa Claus: friendly features, white beard, and red clothing.

Rudolph
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, was invented in 1938 by the department store Montgomery Ward as a marketing trick to get children to buy coloring books. An advertiser invented Rudolph for a painting-book Christmas story, which the department store wanted to give away for promotion.

The other reindeers
The eight reindeer who pull Santa’s sleigh together with Rudolph got their names from a poem written by Clement Moore. They are called Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Duner, and Blixem (who later became Donder and Blitzen)

Christmas cards

In the United States, it is a wonderful tradition to send greeting cards to family and friends. Many Americans also take an annual Christmas photo of the whole family and print it on a personalized Christmas greeting card. Between Thanksgiving and New Year alone, the U.S. Postal Service delivers approximately 15 billion letters and cards, plus some 910 million parcels.

By the way, children can write to Santa Claus before the feast and tell him their Christmas wishes by sending a letter to the postal code H0H0H0. The letters are even answered by employees of the Canadian postal service.

Christmas in America: Interesting FACTS

You’re simply unable to get enough of Christmas. Following are some fascinating details about the holiday season:

  • On December 25, 336 AD, the first Christmas celebration ever took place in Rome.
  • Christmas is the day on which Christians around the world commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, but the Bible makes no mention of that day as the day of his birth. According to historians, Christmas and the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which celebrated and gave gifts to the farming god Saturn, were combined.
  • Franklin Pierce served as president when the first Christmas tree was decorated in the White House.
  • Christmas was not made a recognized public holiday in the United States until 1870.
  • The Greek abbreviation “X-mas” is where the spelling “Christmas” originated. The word “Christ” is represented by the X or cross.
  • Frigga, the Nordic goddess of love, whose sacred plant was mistletoe, is associated with the practice of kissing under the mistletoe.
  • Kanakaloka is the Hawaiian name for Santa Claus. And a Hawaiian wishes you a Merry Christmas if he greets you with the words “Mele Kalikimaka.”
  • The tallest Christmas tree ever cut, according to Guinness World Records, was a Douglas fir that stood more than 67 m tall and was installed in the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle in 1950.
  • The bright green, perpetually irritable Grinch is a figure that Christmas haters everywhere can relate to.