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The Christmas season begins in late November or early December with the start of Advent, a period of preparation for Christmas Day. Traditions like decorating Christmas trees, singing carols, attending church services, and waiting for Santa Claus are hallmarks of the Christmas season. On Christmas Eve, children eagerly wait to spot Santa and his reindeer delivering presents. Christmas Day starts with families opening gifts and enjoying festive meals together.

Many of the customs and decorations of Christmas, like mistletoe, holly, and yule logs originated from pre-Christian winter solstice celebrations. When Christianity spread, the Church gave new symbolism and meaning to these old traditions. The giving of gifts may recall the gifts of the Magi to the Christ child. Christmas carols, nativity scenes, and church services help recount and celebrate the story of Christ’s birth.