What is Christmas: Definition and 140 Discussions

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration by billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season organized around it.
The traditional Christmas narrative, the Nativity of Jesus, delineated in the New Testament says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in accordance with messianic prophecies. When Joseph and Mary arrived in the city, the inn had no room and so they were offered a stable where the Christ Child was soon born, with angels proclaiming this news to shepherds who then spread the word. Although the month and date of Jesus' birth are unknown, the church in the early fourth century fixed the date as December 25. This corresponds to the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar. Most Christians celebrate on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, which has been adopted almost universally in the civil calendars used in countries throughout the world. However, part of the Eastern Christian Churches celebrate Christmas on December 25 of the older Julian calendar, which currently corresponds to January 7 in the Gregorian calendar. For Christians, believing that God came into the world in the form of man to atone for the sins of humanity, rather than knowing Jesus' exact birth date, is considered to be the primary purpose in celebrating Christmas.The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving; completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreath; Christmas music and caroling; viewing a Nativity play; an exchange of Christmas cards; church services; a special meal; and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly. In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.

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  1. ergospherical

    Christmas Presents: What Did Santa Bring You?

    Alright guys, spill the tea... what'dya get? Santa gave me a neat little periodic table paperweight-thing with some samples inside. 😄 Happy Christmas!
  2. George Keeling

    B Happy Christmas: Is it Really True?

    Is this really true? It resembles the binomial theorem. I've posted it twice which might be breaking rules. Happy Christmas PF.
  3. DennisN

    Are you ready to celebrate with fellow PF members this Christmas?

    Merry Christmas PF members! Thanks everyone for another interesting and fun year! And thanks to @Greg Bernhardt for keeping the forum alive! (especially during these trying times we have lived, and are living, with the corona virus)
  4. M

    MHB Burning time of Christmas Tree

    Hey! :giggle: The burning time of an electric candle is between $60$ and $80$ hours. It is considered to be continuously uniformly distributed over this period. A Christmas tree with $12$ candles (independent of the burning time), only lights up as long as all candles are working. Determine...
  5. D.S.Beyer

    I Observing Christmas Lights in a Black Hole: What You See

    If a string of blinking Christmas lights extends from the center of a black hole out to a large radius r. What do I see, if I am perpendicular to the line of lights, at radius r? Experiment specifics 3 solar mass, non-charged, non spinning black hole. Observer is 1,000 Au from the center of...
  6. Janus

    Got the new Microsoft Flight Sim for Christmas

    It was a gift from my daughter and her boyfriend. I had the older Flight Simulator X, and the timing of the release of this new version coincided with my getting a new computer. I'll have to say that I am impressed. Even though I'm not running the graphics at the full realism setting, I was...
  7. StevieTNZ

    Merry Christmas 2020 | Wishes to All

    Merry Christmas to all!
  8. jim mcnamara

    Cost of 2020 '12 days of christmas' presents

    https://journalstar.com/lifestyles/this-is-how-much-all-the-12-days-of-christmas-gifts-would-cost-in-2020/collection_28e0c5e7-247c-56a3 It is less than 2019 because live performances violate CDC pandemic social limits - still $US105k ... you know the 10 lords a-leaping, etc. :biggrin:
  9. sysprog

    Who is singing O Holy Night for Christmas?

    My niece, Nora Rodes, singing O Holy Night
  10. StevieTNZ

    What would you like for Christmas this year?

    For me, this song sums it up quite nicely: What do you hope for Christmas this year?
  11. davenn

    How Big is Australia Compared to Texas?

    With now over 800 homes destroyed, 300+ damaged and countless numbers of wildlife lost. Welcome to Christmas 2019 in Australia :cry::frown: from my Facebook
  12. wolram

    Happy Christmas & New Year: Share Your Accomplishments!

    Hope you all have a happy Christmas and a fruitful new year, may be you can post your accomplishments for the new year?
  13. Imager

    LaTeX Math Equation Christmas Tree and Graph

    I posted this link a couple years ago, but just in case you need to draw a Christmas Tree: https://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/39149/how-can-we-draw-a-christmas-tree-with-decorations-using-tikz There are a lot of interesting variations posted, maybe PF could have our own contest! Here's...
  14. J

    A one light-year circuit of christmas lights

    I have a bit of a puzzle I'm trying to answer. A K2 civ decides to celebrate Christmas, so they build a circuit of trillions of Christmas lights 1 LY in circumference. When they flip the on switch, what happens? Do the lights come turn on one after the other in response to the electrical...
  15. J

    Calculating Image Distance Using a Christmas Tree Ball

    Homework Statement You look at yourself in a shiny Christmas tree ball, which has a diameter of 9.63 cm. If your face is 7.81 cm away from the shiny ball, calculate the image distance. Homework Equations ? Thinking I would use magnification = di/d0 di = 0.0781m d0 = 0.0963m The Attempt at a...
  16. Willow Wanda

    Why do Christmas lights glow green near a Tesla coil?

    Homework Statement For a high school physics class, I chose to build a tesla coil for a real world application assignment. I was able to build it fairly easily and it turned out great. Before presenting to the class next week, I've been seeing its effect on different types of light bulbs and...
  17. epenguin

    Music Listening to Corelli's Christmas Music for the Holidays

    I was sure there were one or two threads on in this forum on “what music are you listening to now?“ or favourite tunes or similar title title that was quite active, sure because I intended to post there when I got round to it. But I can’t find it now. But never mind for : This is the time for...
  18. wolram

    Wishing Everyone a Joyful Christmas & Prosperous New Year!

    For all of you that celebrate Christmas, Have a happy one and a great new year Christmas is all ways a good time for us as this is the only time all the family get together. We usually hire the caff or the church hall so we can all fit in, in our house is way to small to fit every one in For...
  19. DrClaude

    Problem transformer and Christmas lights

    I have a very nice Christmas electric candlestick that is I can no longer get to work properly. Originally, it came with incandescent light bulbs running in 6 V DC. Some of the lights have burned out, so I looked for replacements and can now only find LED lights. The ones I got are labelled...
  20. wolram

    Christmas card list -- refreshing my address book

    I have lost all my addresses for my Christmas cards to be sent, would you please PM your addresses so i can send you a card, I will gladly send a card to anyone who was not on my original list. Robin.
  21. Imager

    LaTeX Learn How to Draw a Christmas Tree with Latex | Stack Exchange

    I was looking for something else at Stack Exchange and found a how to draw a Christmas tree with Latex thread. I thought the one by Loop Space was the best! http://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/39149/how-can-we-draw-a-christmas-tree-with-decorations-using-tikz
  22. G

    Christmas lights: Why in series?

    Hi. I helped my neighbour putting up (quite old, no LEDs) strings of Christmas lights and noted that some of them (different brands) are connected in parallel, others in series. Inevitably, we found several of the serial strings not working due to defective bulbs. We replaced the visibly...
  23. wolram

    Xmas Card Exchange: Send & Receive Cards

    I am very happy to receive and send Xmas cards:biggrin:. I still have some addresses, so please let me know is you want a card from me.
  24. R

    What are the best Christmas Decoration Ideas for 2017

    Hi, I want some suggestion about christmas decorations, Because I`ll guest a party with my family & friends, So, I need some help. Cheers, Rebeca
  25. ckirmser

    Can a Christmas Tree have evenly spaced lights with no leftover string?

    Got a question: I've got a Christmas tree that needs lights strung on it, but I want to know how to hang the lights so that the entire string is spaced evenly and it ends at the top with nothing left over. I figure there's a formula to derive this, but I don't know what it may be. Any...
  26. Saracen Rue

    Probability of Vacation Employment During Christmas Holidays

    Homework Statement During the Christmas holidays, 42 students from a group of 85 students found vacation employment while 73 students went away for holidays. Assuming that every student had at least a job or went on a holiday, what is the probability that a randomly selected student worked...
  27. dlgoff

    Merry Christmas Physics Forums

    Background image compliments of Teacher Juanfran
  28. wolram

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to All!

    I hope everyone has a happy xmas and a fruitful new year, To all the female type people hugs and kisses., to all the male type people hand shakes and salutations..
  29. Delta31415

    What should I do for a three week break for Christmas?

    what should i do for a three week break for Christmas?
  30. B

    What should I get Greg for Christmas?

    Seeking awesome gift ideas for an awesome dude.
  31. Evo

    Got a Kindle HD 8.9 for Christmas

    Now what? It's a Kindle HD 8.9 with 64g memory. Got a great price on it and it came with 24/7 lifetime tech support so it's like the "Mayday" service, except I have to call them instead of press a button. But I don't know what to do with it. I tried reading a book with it and it sucks...
  32. A

    Jussi Björling's classic Christmas carol

    The legendary Swedish opera singer Jussi Björling recorded what has become a very beloved version of Adolphe Adam's (1847) "O helga natt" ("O, holy night!") here in Scandinavia. Enjoy! :smile:
  33. davenn

    An engineering perspective on christmas

    AN ENGINEERING PERSPECTIVE ON CHRISTMAS There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist (except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of...
  34. DennisN

    Merry Christmas! A Big Thank You to Our Forum!

    Merry Christmas to you all! And thanks to all administrators, mentors and members for making this forum into a very useful, helpful, educational, interesting, inspiring and fun place to be!
  35. T

    That annoying Christmas LED light string question.

    Hello, my name is Mike, and I have just enough electrical engineering knowledge to be dangerous. This season I have inherited a programmable LED Christmas light set up from my father-in-law who is no longer with us to help guide me with his EEngeneering knowledge. Here's the issue. I have...
  36. Borek

    Is an Arduino starter kit a great Christmas gift for a tech-savvy teenager?

    This is not engineering (perhaps a social engineering :wink:). I am thinking about Christmas gifts and I decided one of those I have to buy can be some reasonable Arduino starting kit. Question is - what does it mean "reasonable starting kit"? Target: bright teenager with some programming...
  37. S

    MHB Mondegreens: The Misheard Christmas Songs

    . . . . . . . . . . Mondegreens - 2Christmas songs are mined with modegreen opportunities. Many are created by children, but we adults are also guilty. Here are some well-known yuletide mondegreens. We already know this one: . . Olive, the other reindeer, . . used to laugh and call him names...
  38. D H

    Christmas at Kmart (in September)

    Here it is, 105 days until Christmas, and Kmart has already started bombarding us with Christmas ads. http://www.cnbc.com/id/101023738 Walmart and others are apparently about to follow suit. This Christmas creep is starting to get old. Time for some old-fashioned Christmas music! (1978...
  39. B

    Amps through Christmas tree lights

    I always wanted to know how this worked? I know AMPs is how many Electrons move past one point in a SEC. I know that Voltage is the Force that drives the AMPs. I know that a House Outlet will supply 120 Volts at 15 Amps. Now take Christmass Tree Lights and to keep this easy let's...
  40. D

    Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays .

    "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays". What's with all this objection to saying "Merry Christmas"? What's next? Objecting to saying "happy Halloween" because people who don't celebrate Halloween might get offended?
  41. Weissritter

    Calculators A proper calculator for Christmas

    Hai, calculators connoiseurs, hope you can help this lost lamb. Non-connoiseurs, come in, you might learn something from our experts in the field :biggrin: Now...I've used a Sharp EL-506W for four and half years. Its main drawback is the lack of a proper way of representing big huge equations...
  42. Ascendant78

    What Are Affordable Gift Ideas for a Physics Enthusiast?

    I am a freshman in physics at this point, and looking to get some ideas of some things that I might want to add to my Christmas wish list involving my profession? Although this probably won't make much of a difference, I am a 34 year old adult changing professions to one I have always loved...
  43. J

    Gift Ideas for Physics Lovers - My Cousin & Me

    My cousin, like me, is interested in physics. She, also like me, aspires to become a physicist. For Christmas she wanted a telescope, unfortunately, the one she wanted was $2000, and her mother was not willing to buy her something so expensive as they had just recently returned from a very...
  44. S

    A Christmas tree ball hangs from a hook in the ceiling.

    Homework Statement A Christmas tree ball hangs from a hook in the ceiling. If the radius of the ball is 8 cm, find the period of the ball's oscillation as it swings on the hook. Homework Equations T=2pi*√L/g The Attempt at a Solution I tried pluggin the number and I'm way off...
  45. L

    Christmas Tree Light: Investigating the Math Behind Its Curve

    Forgive the sloppy use of math and inability to produce an image. I noticed this last christmas. If you have a fairy light ( or perhaps any LED etc), and shine it normal to a surface, you see a circle. If you place the light flat on the surface you see a curve - to me the fairy lights' curve...
  46. N

    Are You Ready to Become an Astrophysicist with Your New Telescope?

    You should have seen my face when I tore open one of my christmas presents this year. I got a MEADE ETX-80 Refracting Telescope. Last night the sky was a bit cloudy, thus we could not see any stars, or the moon, thus we couldn't use the telescope. But tonight it was a perfect night. Me and my...
  47. turbo

    What did you get for Christmas this year?

    What did you or your significant other get for Xmas this year? Anything surprising, anything unexpected or over-the-top or just totally unexpected? My wife got fuzzy sandals from her sister that make her look like the Energizer Bunny, but she wore them last night. Duke got a tug-toy that...
  48. BobG

    Christmas season temporary jobs

    Tis almost the season when all of the folks hired temporarily for the Christmas season get tossed out on the streets, to wander aimlessly about until they find the unemployment line. I wonder what it must be like to be a Christmas season temporary employee. Finally, someone has captured the...
  49. D

    What Are the Best Science Books to Get for Christmas?

    Hello, I'm new to these forums and not 100% sure of where this type of thread would go. I have decided that this year, for Christmas, I would be getting a bunch of books on science :cool:. I got up to $200 dollars to spend, including shipping, and want to know if there are any books that...