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Christmas[3] or Christmas Day[4][5] is a holiday observed generally on December 25[6] to commemorate the birth of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity.[7][8] Thedate 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 Christiansbelieved Jesus had been conceived,[9] the date of the winter solstice on the ancient Roman calendar,[10] or one of various ancient winter festivals.[9][11] Christmas iscentral to the Christmas and holiday season, and in Christianity marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days.[12]

Although nominally aChristian holiday, Christmas is also widely celebrated by many non-Christians,[1][13] and many of its popular celebratory customs have pre-Christian or secular themes andorigins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, music, an exchange of greeting cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of variousdecorations; including Christmas trees, lights, garlands, mistletoe, nativity scenes, and holly. In addition, several similar mythological figures, known as SaintNicholas, Father Christmas and Santa Claus among other names, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season.[14]

Because gift-giving and many otheraspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, the holiday has become a significant event and a keysales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world
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