The Christmas season, also called the festive season, the holiday season or simply the holidays, is an annually recurring period recognized in many Western and Western-influenced countries that is generally considered to run from late November to early January, defined as incorporating at least Christmas, and usually New Year, and sometimes various other holidays and festivals.
In the United States, “Happy Holidays” (along with the similarly generalized “Season’s Greetings”) has become a common holiday greeting in the public sphere of department stores, public schools and greeting cards.
Its use is generally confined to the period between United States Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. American use of the term “Happy Holidays” to replace “Merry Christmas” dates back at least to the 1970s and was a common phrase relating to the Christmas season at least going back to the 1890s. The term may have gained further popularity with the Irving Berlin song “Happy Holiday”
Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a spiritual leader whose teachings form the basis of their religion, Christianity.
Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, setting up a crib, singing carols by candlelight, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.
Christmas (which means “Feast day of Christ”) is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For many centuries, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature.