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Evolution of Christmas


While Christmas originates as a celebration of the Christian faith, the way that it is celebrated and who celebrates it has changed over time. Whether they are Christian or not, most Americans observe Christmas. But how did this religious holiday turn into one of the largest commercial holidays of the year?

In the Christian faith, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. The Bible does not give an exact date for Jesus’s birthday. However, Roman church official, Pope Julius I, settled on December 25. During the mid 1800’s, Christmas celebrations like parties were seen as unchristian. It wasn’t until 1840 that the celebrations were more widespread. In 1870, it was declared a federal holiday in America. After this, Christmas became more consistently celebrated.

A survey from Pew Research Center survey showed that out of 2,001 adults nationwide, nine out of every ten Americans celebrate Christmas. Out of those people, only half view it as a religious holiday. Instead one third of those asked said they see Christmas as a “cultural holiday.” So despite it’s origins, Christmas has transformed into a secular holiday celebrated by all.

In addition, regardless of what religion practiced, the Pew survey found that most celebrate Christmas the same way. The survey showed many surround themselves with family and exchange gifts. Santa Claus was also popular with all Christmas celebrators.

Officially, Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’s birth. However, it has become more inclusive to non-religious people. There are many Americans who connect Christmas with the birth of Jesus and many who do not. In conclusion, the Christmas holiday has changed throughout the years to be what it is today.

•Allison Clark, allison.clark@student.pella.k12.ia.us

About Brenna Hildebrand

Webmaster. A senior in Pella Community High School. Wishes to grow up to be something that deals with history, simply enjoys writing. If you have any complaints just go talk to her or contact the staff at pelladium@gmail.com, she's gotchya covered.