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Christmas (sometimes written as Xmas) is an aesthetic which celebrates the general idea of Christmas, the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. However, from the mid 19th century onwards, the aesthetic has distanced itself from strictly religious imagery, and the day is celebrated in a mostly non-religious way. The specific day is on December 25th, but the imagery associated with the holiday appears from November to the end of December.
The visuals associated with Christmas originated from various cultural traditions throughout Western Europe and the United States. As globalization, immigration, and cultural sharing occur, the traditions have been assimilated to a more concrete idea of what is expected at Christmas. This is especially true with the popularity of Christmas-related movies, which communicate the spirit and visuals annually.
The holiday is highly anticipated, as the traditions are associated with nostalgia, goodwill, family, tradition, and happiness. However, as gift-giving is one of the largest traditions of the season, there is an incredible amount of commercialism present in the season, which is addressed in the criticism section.
The colors associated with Christmas are red, green, gold, and white. However, in modern times, multiple colors are utilized.
- Candy canes
- Christmas trees
- Cookies, especially sugar with icing
- Fairy Lights
- Manger scenes
- Snow imagery, such as snowmen, snowflakes, and snow angels
- Wrapped Presents
- Toys, specifically recognizable vintage ones such as porcelain dolls, teddy bears, and rocking horses
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- Fair Isle Sweaters
- Ugly Christmas Sweaters
- thick coats
- snow boots
- party clothes
- Santa hats
- plaid skirts and pants
- Family gatherings / family activities
- Making gingerbread houses
- Singing Christmas carols
- Tree decorating
- Drinking hot chocolate
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Because of the Southern Hemisphere having "opposite" seasons to the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas in those areas occur in the summer. Additionally, some fans of the holiday in the Northern Hemisphere have "Christmas in July." As such, the traditions and visuals associated with the wintertime, such as snowflake decorations, are ironic.
This is somewhat related to the Summer Christmas aesthetic, but includes Christmas ornaments that are specifically beach-related, such as seahorses, starfish, and sand-filled glass bulbs. Coloring is usually a cream and aqua, sometimes with a touch of purple.
This aesthetic is influenced by British Christmas traditions from the Victorian era - Christmas stockings with oranges, Christmas crackers, sleigh rides, kissing under mistletoe, going caroling, and trees decorated with cranberries and popcorn. Most of the things associated with Christmas today - such as Santa Claus, Christmas stockings, and gift giving, date back to Victorian times.
Victorian Christmas Gallery
This is an alternate color scheme for Christmas trees, decor, and food. The most commonly used colors are white, pastel pink, and pastel blue. Retro elements like aluminum (tinsel) Christmas trees are sometimes used.
Pastel Christmas Gallery
- The Nutcracker
- A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore
- The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
- The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden
- Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold
- "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
- The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
- Elf (2003)
- A Christmas Carol (many adaptations: 1910, 1923, 1938, 1954, 1984, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2009, 2012)
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
- Last Christmas (2009)
- Santa Clause movie series
- Home Alone (1990)
- Trading Places (1983)
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
- A Christmas Story (1983)
- The Polar Express (2004)
- A Princess for Christmas (2011)
- The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
- Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
- A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
- Many TV shows have a Christmas episode which airs during the month of December. See the TVTropes article on "Christmas Episode" for many examples.
Traditional Christmas music includes songs that there are many different covers/versions of. Many of them have Christian themes. These include:
- It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
- O Little Town of Bethlehem
- Away in a Manger
- What Child is This
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
- Silent Night
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing
- The First Noel
- Joy to the World
- O Come, All Ye Faithful
- O Come, Emmanuel
1940s-50s Christmas Music
Modern Christmas music mainly includes songs that are associated with Christmas, despite not having Christian themes. These include:
- It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
- It's a Marshmallow World
- Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!
- Blue Christmas
- Santa Baby
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
- Jingle Bell Rock
- Sleigh Ride
- Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
- Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer
- Frosty the Snowman
- Winter Wonderland
- Silver Bells
- Baby it's Cold Outside
Contemporary Christmas Music
- All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey
- Santa Tell Me by Ariana Grande
- Christmas With The Rat Pack
Christmas is often criticized for the rampant commercialism associated. Rather than focusing on Christianity, family, and kindness, many critics claim that Christmas has become a holiday overly centered on shopping and capitalism.
Some more devout Christians also dislike the increased secularization of Christmas. In their perspective, emphasizing Santa Claus and festivities takes away from the origin of the holiday as Jesus Christ's birth.
Conversely, Christmas may also be alienating to non-Christians. Because of its ubiquity throughout Western culture, Christmas is expected to be celebrated by all citizens, with those not being able to relate to the traditions being seen as sad and unusual.