American Christmas Traditions
By: Erin Burnett
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the United States of America! Here in the U.S. we have inherited customs, traditions, and legends that are actually from many diverse cultures. We celebrate in every possible way! We include many of the wonderful activities, songs, and stories from all over the world. Just like her people, Christmas in the USA is a rainbow of culture!
Sometimes, though, we form new traditions! American Christmas characters like Rudolph and Frosty are as highly recognized as old St. Nick himself. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is a legend in book, and a new movie version. We have also created cultural Christmas icons in advertising, like the Coca-Cola Polar Bears. And just go ahead and ask Americans how many "would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony"?
For our hopping holiday fun, we do many of the things everyone else in the world does. We have a Christmas tree that we decorate with ornaments and lights, topping it with a star or angel. We have a big holiday dinner and get pinched and hugged ferociously by relatives we haven't seen in ages! There are gifts and sometimes religious services. Festive songs play a huge part in the holiday, permeating from every speaker in our homes, cars, malls, and yes, even the telephone. Some especially American holiday tunes are Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and of course who could forget Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer!
Since the United States is such a big place, we have people celebrating in the snow and others exchanging gifts on a sunny beach. Many of us get snow, ice, or at least cold weather. Then we get snowstorms, we get to build snowmen, and play fun winter sports. Although the snow is always fun, sometimes it causes problems with transportation. When it gets really slick, there is a chance that we will hear on the radio that school is called off. (Oh, shucks! I was looking so forward to that math quiz.)
Unfortunately for the people of the U.S., Christmas has become very commercialized. In many ways this makes the holiday very stressful and expensive for Americans. We have to remember the meaning, toss away our cares, and enjoy the holiday in traditional American style. Embrace brothers and sisters of all shapes, sizes, colors, countries, and cultures and snuggle up with some popcorn for a fifth or sixth showing of "The Grinch"!
American Christmas Legends
Here are a few examples of some totally American stories!
Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus Read an editorial from the New York Sun in 1897. This little girl's innocent question sparked the interest of a new generation of believers.
The Night Before Christmas Celebrate poetically with this well-known Christmas poem!
Elfinize a Chevy Van Decorate an American car with festive fun!
Romuald's Gifts Away Help the reindeer deliver gifts to the correct house!
Download the Coca-Cola polar bears PC screensaver for a Christmas commercial!
Download "Holiday Lights" for PC or for MAC. Electric Lights were also invented in the US at the end of the 19th century to replace the open flame of a candle.