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Christmas is a joyful religious holiday when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus
Christ. The Christmas story comes from the Bible. An angel appeared to shepherds and
told them that a Savior had been born to Mary and Joseph in a stable in Bethlehem.
Three Wise Men from the East (the Magi) followed a wondrous star which led them to the
baby Jesus to whom they paid homage and presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh

To people all over the world, Christmas is a season of giving and receiving presents.
In some European countries, Father Christmas, or Saint Nicholas, comes  into houses in the night and leaves gifts for the children. Saint  Nicholas is represented as a kindly man with a red cloak and long white  beard. Another character, the Norse God Odin, rode on a magical flying  horse across the sky in the winter to reward people with gifts.
These different legends passed across the ages to make the presentday Santa Claus.

Immigrant settlers brought Father Christmas to the United States. Father Christmas' name
was gradually changed to Santa Claus, from the Dutch name for Father Christmas, which is
Sinter Claas. Although he has origins in Norse and pre-Christian mythology, Santa Claus
took shape in the United States. Americans gave Santa Claus a white beard, dressed him
in a red suit and made him a cheery old gentleman with red cheeks and a twinkle in his eye.

Santa  Claus supposedly gets his list of toys from the millions of children who write to him at the North Pole. Children also find Santa Claus at  shopping malls across the country. They sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. Of course, their
parents are probably nearby listening in as well.

On December 24, Christmas Eve, Santa hitches his eight reindeer to a sleigh and loads it
with presents. The reindeer pull him and his sleigh through the sky to deliver presents
to children all around the world, that is, if they had been good all year.

Most children believe that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole. All year he lists the
names of children, both those who have been good and those who have been bad. He decides what presents to give to the good children. He oversees the  manufacturing and wrapping of the presents by his helpers.


Santa  Claus exists only in our imaginations. But he, Saint Nicholas, and  Father Christmas are spirits of giving. Christmas has been associated  with gift giving since the Wise Men brought gifts to welcome the newborn Jesus Christ.

In anticipation of Santa's visit, Children listen to their parents read "The Night Before
Christmas" before they go to bed on Christmas Eve. Clement Moore wrote the poem in 1823

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