Christmas Activities for Children

While adults indulge in the festivities and revel in enjoying the spirit of Christmas, undoubtedly it is more fun for children because they are able to lose themselves in the wide-eyed wonders and glorious splendor of the season. Activities at Christmas that children can enjoy include all of the sights, sounds and scents that put the magic and a festive spirit into Christmas.

At major shopping centers like malls, children can enjoy various window displays and arrangements inside stores that show Christmas sceneries. The displays, which can be moving, stationary or interactive, can be so numerous and mesmerizing that parents often arrange a trip to such malls just for children to view the many displays.

Shopping malls are also a popular place where Santa Claus is sure to be found. For a small fee, children can get to sit or stand with Santa Claus, talk with him and most importantly, get a picture taken with Santa. Those children, like pre-teens and teenagers, who may be too old for Santa Claus can also be entertained by the various grand Christmas displays as well as one of their favorite activity – shopping.

Various colorful and twinkling lights is certain to be a part of the displays at malls and shopping centers, but other arrangements of Christmas lighting can also be a delightful activity for children to enjoy. Because Christmas displays have become so common, everyone has some form of lighting arrangement at their houses. This has led to neighborhoods where it is common to see an increase in traffic during the Christmas season because of the fanciful, landscaped displays of outdoor Christmas light decorations. These usually include figures of reindeers, Santa, sleighs, angels, shepherds and animals that are a part of the story of Jesus’ birth. It can therefore become an activity to take a tour of these neighborhoods with children for them to feast their eyes.

In a similar manner to the grand Christmas lighting that can be found in some neighborhoods and the occasional home, there are also themed-lighting at quaint villages and special large, Christmas light displays at venues like some public parks. The displays can be similar to those seen in neighborhoods except that they are usually on a larger and grander scale. As an example, a typical home lawn display will have a Christmas display that includes Santa, a sleigh and a reindeer or two all as separate pieces. A Christmas display at a themed-village or park would have a large and possibly moving display of Santa Claus with elf-like figures in a sleigh that is being pulled by reindeers as one big structure. These Christmas sights are what often bring out the wide-eyed wonder in children as their faces express awe and amazement.

While children will have a beautifully decorated Christmas tree at home to enjoy, it will also be fun for them to go to other lightings of Christmas tree because again, those trees are usually bigger and decorated on a grander scale than the ones in their living rooms at home. Just about every town, city or municipality will have a Christmas tree lighting in a central location.

Sometimes local firehouses will also have a special Christmas tree lighting. At these events, children can see a local official or personality flip a switch to symbolically turn on the Christmas tree, in a similar like they would have seen the President do on television.

Those local events are likely to include Christmas treats and goodies, a Santa Claus to present Christmas gifts to children and the singing of Christmas carols.

Taking time out to engage in activities just for the enjoyment of children will make them feel special, experience the magic of Christmas and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Christmas Movies

Movies related to Christmas help to create a fun atmosphere and can also teach moral lessons related to Christmas. While everyone will have different Christmas movies that are most enjoyable, there are some that remain favorites.

‘A Christmas Story’ is told from the point of view of a little boy in the days before Christmas and on Christmas Day. It shows him doing routine things each day but against the backdrop of the Christmas season with the decorated store windows, Santa Claus, the snow and frostiness, and of course his wish for a Christmas toy. But his parents disapprove of the toy that he desired. The movie is good in showing the innocence of the Christmas season.

‘A Christmas Carol,’ written by noted author Charles Dickens, tells the story of old Scrooge whose only purpose in life is to make money. Scrooge puts making money above his family, friends and everyone who cares about him. His response to Christmas is a grumpy, ‘Bah Humbug.’ He gets a different experience however, when ghosts appear to him and try to point out the error of his ways. The movie’s lesson is about the importance of appreciating people in your life.

‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ is a story about hope and the worthiness of everyone. It tells the story of a man experiencing despair and self-destruction because he thinks he is of no worth to those around him, and they would be better off if he didn’t exist. An angel grants him his desire and he gets to see what he contributes and what life would be like without him.

Every Christmas, ‘A Miracle on 34th Street’ can be seen on television. It asks and answers the question ‘Is there really a Santa Claus?’ The movie is about a man who claims to be Kris Kringle, or Santa Claus, but is not believed and so he has to prove his identity claim.

‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ is about the Griswold family with Mr. Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, who gets into silly accidents that provide a lot of humor. The movie shows the lives of the family as they celebrate Christmas and the difficulties that arise when their entire family comes to visit for Christmas.

‘Home Alone’ is about a large and chaotic family with lots of kids who are going on Christmas vacation. Amid the chaos of leaving on the morning of the trip, one child is left behind and must stay and fend for himself in a very large house during the Christmas season. At first he was happy to be alone but then two thieves break in and he has to fight them off. The movie shows the importance of family and loved ones. A sequel, ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’ tells of the boy who was left alone going to an aunt and uncle’s home and again encountering the two thieves who are seeking revenge.

‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ was first made as an animation for television but other versions have since been done as motion pictures. The Grinch is a grouchy, green man who lives in the mountains above the small town of Whoville where residents, called The Whos, celebrate Christmas enthusiastically every year. The Grinch who doesn’t like Christmas wants to spoil it for Whoville and so he tries to steal all the toys, food and gifts that The Whos have accumulated for Christmas. The movie provides a lesson on the true meaning of Christmas.

‘A Charlie Brown Christmas is an animated television movie about the popular Peanuts comic strip. The movie is about the comic strip’s main character, Charlie Brown, and tells of the experience with his friends for Christmas. It also has Biblical references that relates to the true meaning of Christmas.

‘Frosty The Snowman’ is an animated story about a snowman, named Frosty, that comes to life and who must avoid a greedy musician who is trying to get the magic that brought Frosty to life. The movie is very funny and has lots of wonderful songs.

‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is also an animation about the reindeer with a shiny nose that kisses a pretty girl and also helps out his friends.

General Festivities and Entertainment at Christmas

Christmas is described as a festive season therefore we should all engage in activities during the season that provide entertainment, merriment and which give pleasure. Because Christmas is about celebration, many types of festivities can be found to suit all preferences to make the season a joyful one.

A readily available option is watching Christmas movies. This can be done from the comfort of home or by spending a few hours out at the theater. A wonderful option now available for obtaining movies is to rent them via the Internet. It’s an option that allows you to get any movie you want to see – whether traditional, popular or a remake of an original title. There’s also fairly easy access to obscure movie titles, as well as movies with holiday or Christmas themes.

Although Christmas movies embody the spirit of the season, you can also take time out during Christmas to enjoy new releases that may or may not have a holiday theme. Christmas is a good time to catch notable new releases because they are timed to be shown in theaters before the end of the year to be considered for prestigious Oscar nominations.

Performances of Christmas plays that depict the Nativity scene are also another popular entertainment during Christmas. Although these performances are done year after year, they never grow old because of creative difference in interpreting the story, and also in how each role is acted by different actors every year.

The dramatization of the Nativity demonstrates the meaning of Christmas and can also simplify the meaning of Christmas for children. Participation in the Nativity is also an important activity for children in drama groups at schools and church groups.

Along with depicting the meaning of Christmas, the Nativity play also portrays moral lessons that can serve as an inspiration for the way to become a more spiritual person and to live a better life. Watching or taking part in the Nativity play at Christmas time can therefore affect your attitude and outlook on life.

Musical entertainment at Christmas can come from pausing during shopping to listen to a choral group at the mall or downtown. It can also be entertaining to simply hum along to a Christmas carol or song being played on the radio. Carols as a tradition at Christmas is said to originate in England and France in the Middle Ages. At the time, carols were dances accompanied by singing. The tradition that Anglo-Saxons preferred was to have small choirs gather on the village green and sing carols and Christmas songs to passersby. Over time, the meaning of the word changed to refer to only certain types of songs.

The tradition of carols is also believed to evolve from the angels, shepherds and Wise Men who bowed down to sing praises and to worship Baby Jesus.

For those who are really lovers of the arts, professional groups like Orchestras, Symphonies, Conservatories and Choirs also offer splendid concerts during Christmas. They will also sing Christmas carols and songs. But the harmony of their voices accompanied by a full compliment of instruments provides a richer and more melodious rendition of the carols that is unlikely to be heard anywhere else.

Probably the most popular festivities at Christmas are parties, which seem to happen everywhere all the time at Christmas. There are parties at work, home, with friends and class parties at school. Even social hubs such as bars may have special nights with different food and lower-priced drinks during Christmas. It seems there is no end to the festivities during Christmas. It’s always important however to have a good time, to remember the unfortunate and to reach out to them and to have fun but in a responsible manner.

Making Gift Selections at Christmas

Many people adore Santa Claus because he brings them the perfect that often produces squeals of joy. Individuals, especially children, are often thrilled to get what they want and need from Santa. To bring joy to others, you also need to not only give a Christmas gift but to also try to get an item that will be a good match for the individual by selecting a gift that suits the person.

It is possible to find the right Christmas gift without having to fall for the easy way out by giving a ‘sweater.’ To find the right gift for Christmas for anyone means a gift has to capture one or both of the following qualities – something that you know the person will like or desire, or something with useful purpose that will captivate the person. A Christmas gift that captivates the receiver will produce a ‘wow’ reaction or comments of ‘that’s cool’ from others, who will be wishing silently that they had gotten such a gift.

The key to selecting a wonderful Christmas gift that will produce a ‘wow’ reaction is to make sure the item is one that will appear interesting to others. The gift itself may have limits to its use. That means it may not be something that will be used frequently, such as a sweater or other clothing. The ‘wow’ factor or coolness of the gift must however overshadow it’s possible limited usefulness.

Selecting a Christmas gift that is desired can prove to be difficult if you think you don’t know what the person wants or needs. But when we think that we don’t really know what someone wants for a Christmas gift, our real thought is that we haven’t really heard the person specifically say they want or desire a particular item. That however is not an obstacle to truly knowing what someone may desire for a Christmas gift.

To help to identify an item that will make a perfect Christmas gift, you need to focus on what you know about the person – various qualities, what leisure activity the person likes, what type of books, art and music for example, do they like. To focus on what you know about the person, think about conversations you have engaged in with the individual. Conversations in general can often give splendid ideas of good gifts to give for Christmas because oftentimes people will say ‘I wish for …..’ when talking with someone else.

The character of the person is also a good indicator of items that will make wonderful Christmas gifts. Remember, a gift for Christmas is a token to show love, fondness or appreciation or some combination of those qualities. An item that captures a quality of a person is therefore likely to be much appreciated. So, for example, books make good gifts for someone who likes to read. But if the person also has a humorous persona, a book on jokes would be a desirable Christmas gift.

For someone who likes to drive, a travel book on scenic routes is likely to create a large amount of interest. A Christmas gift like that also could stir some ‘wow’ remarks as it could easily cause others to want become engrossed in browsing it. A Christmas gift like that also is an example of something that is very useful but which may not get a lot of frequent use.

Another strategy for selecting a perfect Christmas gift is to think of how something will fit into someone’s lifestyle. A friend once recalled that wish another friend often expressed in conversation was for a playstation. But knowing that the friend also didn’t have much leisure time to actually sit and use a playstation, a hand-held game gadget was given instead that could be used during commute on public transportation or in 10-15 minutes of short downtime. Selecting Christmas gifts for friends, acquaintances and loved ones that will be remembered and treasured is therefore not too much of a difficult task if the strategies previously mentioned are kept in mind.

Where To Do Christmas Shopping

Christmas shopping can be seen as an absolute thrill and to some extent, as a necessary evil. It’s a thrill to be out and about amid the sights and sounds of the season and the jovial crowds. But for the same reasons, others dread shopping at Christmas time. These days, you don’t have to leave your home much or at all to get your Christmas and holiday shopping done. That’s because the Internet puts shopping at your fingertips. And rather than competing with traditional retail stores, the Internet has actually expanded the ability of traditional stores to sell more merchandise to a larger number of people in various locations.

Both large and small retailers can be found at their specialized Web sites on the Internet. Most will also offer selections that can be found in the store. Many times online retail sites will have additional items available, or access to additional items, that aren’t found in the store.

Another advantage of shopping by the Internet is that it offers access to stores that are located anywhere. It’s therefore becomes easier to order a unique gift from niche or specialty boutique stores in locations that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. It is also easy to do comparison shopping using ‘shop bots’ or simply comparing prices yourself.

If Christmas shopping is done through the Internet, you have to pay careful attention to the order times and any cutoff dates to get an item delivered in time for Christmas. Based on anticipated volume, most sites will give a date or the number of hours within which orders have to be confirmed for guaranteed delivery of the items before Christmas.

The mall is a popular place for traditional Christmas and holiday shopping to be done. Malls offer one-stop shopping and have a large variety and wide selection of merchandise, which can minimize endless searching of several stores for some items. They will also be beautifully decorated for Christmas, have splendid displays and a Santa Claus to interact with children. These and other activities that are usually at the mall during Christmas and the holidays also make them an interesting place to take children to enjoy some of the season’s delights.

To maximize shopping at the mall, you’ll need to know the differences between the mall department stores. You’ll need to find out which stores have certain exclusive brands, which stores are moderately priced and which are more upscale.

There are also the specialty standalone stores and spinoff store branches for children and teenagers that seek to fill a particular niche. As an example, stores have emerged that carry only styles related to hip-hop culture or styles that have an ‘urban’ look. So it may be worth consideration to start your shopping at a specialty store, because they are more focused, and then continue at a department store that has a wider selection.

Another interesting place to shop at malls are the standalone kiosks that are usually located at intervals in the open areas of a mall where there is a lot of foot traffic. These kiosks are more likely to carry one-of-a kind and unique items, which can even provide or inspire ideas for Christmas presents. Also at malls will be specialized that offer home/household items, books, music and movies, electronics, sports gear and shoes.

All of the types of mall stores previously mentioned can also be found at Outlet or Factory Malls or Warehouses, which offer lower prices. These stores often carry clearance items from their related mall store, merchandise with minor flaws and merchandise that is made for the outlet. Those merchandise usually have slight style variations from what is found in mall stores and may also be made from different materials.

A final place to consider for Christmas shopping is downtown businesses. They are usually small and intimate, have unique offerings and offer more personalized assistance. Although downtown businesses are also likely to be crowded at Christmas time, there likely will be less of a crush of people like that found at malls.

Shopping During the Prime of the Christmas Season

The saying that goes, ‘The early bird catches the worm,’ is in part true for those who get Christmas shopping off to an early start before the season actually begins. Most of us however, are likely to be average shoppers who wait until that time when the season officially begins. Maybe we don’t have any time before then and we have to wait for a day off from work after Thanksgiving. Or maybe we simply procrastinate and can’t get going until the frenzy starts or until when the stores are all fully decorated and Christmas songs and Carols are playing non-stop to put the thrill and magic into the festive season that is Christmas.

Average Christmas holiday shoppers go out in force and are primarily motivated by the sales that occur during the official Christmas shopping season. These shoppers fully believe they are getting good prices and bargains from Christmas and holiday sales. But it is unlikely that retailers will offer the lowest prices during a time that is prime shopping season.

The lesson for the average and for all shoppers during the traditional Christmas shopping season is to carefully evaluate prices and consider if the item is fairly priced when compared to a the price during other times of the year. If items are simply snapped up during Christmas and the holidays because they are being offered in a ‘sale,’ the shopper may end up busting his or her budget or having ‘buyers regret’ about a purchase.

Those who are average and early shoppers have some time however to get over any unwise purchases because such purchases can be returned and a better choice can be made.

There is however another type of shopper. The late or chronically late shopper is stuck with hoping that ‘Aunt Sally’ or Grandma will like the gift selected, even if the buyer had second thoughts about it after the purchase was made. The late shopper is one who realizes that there us a mere five (5) days – less than a week to go – before Christmas and not a single gift has been bought. Worse off than the late shopper is the chronically late Christmas shopper who is in a mad frenzy two (2) days before Christmas and faces a crisis when a desired gift such as a book has to be ordered and won’t be shipped in time for Christmas.

While those shoppers can get comfort from knowing they will likely benefit from the lowest markdowns of the period, they will also find scanty selections and some items, primarily clothing, that appear a bit worn from all the looking over and handling done by the hordes of Christmas shoppers. But even these late shoppers, who are often procrastinators and who can only be spurred into action by a looming deadline, can execute a strategy to make their Christmas shopping successful. Such a strategy involves more don’ts than things to do.

Late Christmas shoppers should try to avoid having lists that have unusual or hard-to-get items that will need to be ordered. While retailers will offer shipping in time for Christmas, orders usually have to be made before a certain time, for example at least 36-72 hours before Christmas. If items aren’t ordered within that timeframe, there is no guarantee that they will arrive for the big day.

Those who do their Christmas shopping late should also be prepared to find items on their own in stores and not expect to get ‘hand-holding help’ from sales clerks. With only days to go before Christmas and with everyone trying to get their last minute shopping done, it is impossible for most retailers to have enough staff to offer expert or even meaningful help to please the majority of Christmas shoppers.

Soon after the excitement of Christmas Day passes, what frequently is the topic of conversations and what remains memorable in the New Year, is what gifts were received and given. So, in the coming days, it may be worth it to assess the type of shopper that you are and create a plan and strategy to make sure you will be a perfect Santa who will deliver the right gifts to friends and loved ones.

Making an Early Start to Christmas Shopping

Many radio stations have started playing Christmas songs so early in November in the past few years that one wonders if we may soon start hearing Christmas songs around Halloween time. That would be a bit weird, even creepy perhaps. But some early Christmas shoppers likely will have Christmas Carols silently playing in their heads even before then.

That’s because shopping, much like Santa Claus, is a staple of Christmas. Santa never gives away any secrets to shopping for all those gifts, but he must certainly have a strategy to be so successful every Yuletide season. The early Christmas shopper is someone who is very organized and has a strategy to fulfill Christmas shopping before the season kicks into high gear.

The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, is the official retail start to a shopping season that is always hoped to be a robust one. The strategy of retailers is to advertise Christmas sales, specials, pre-Christmas markdowns, giveaways, special-hour sales and other promotions. The reason for the frenzy of retail advertising during Christmas season is because it is the single biggest shopping time of the year. Christmas shopping that begins the day after Thanksgiving accounts for well over half – with some estimates of up to 70% — of annual revenue for stores.

Since retailers clearly have a strategy for Christmas shoppers seeking the perfect gift, then shoppers also need to implement their own strategy.The savvy and early Christmas shopper is the one who may start silently singing Christmas Carols and songs very early to get in gear for shopping. Starting from as early as the beginning of October, the early Christmas shopper can begin to make lists of gifts and begin browsing to check the availability, variety, and most important, the price of items.

By browsing before the Christmas shopping season officially kicks off, the early Christmas shopper is more likely to get more bargains, better prices, and is also better able to do comparison shopping when the season officially kicks off.

It’s important to know that retailers won’t offer true ‘rock bottom’ or ‘close-out’ sales, or the very lowest prices during Christmas sales. It’s also important to remember that retailers are likely to offer earlier sales starting in early October to near mid-November.

Two significant pre-Christmas sales are for Columbus Day, which falls on Monday, Oct. 9, and Veterans Day, which will be on Saturday Nov. 11. The early Christmas shopper who already has gifts in mind can benefit from price markdowns during both sales periods. And of course the early Christmas shopper will also have the benefit of shopping during the season, therefore extending the thrill and joy of shopping.

If there is any disadvantage to being an early Christmas shopper and doing Christmas shopping very early, it is that some retailers, particularly makers and sellers of toys, wait until the official start of the season to introduce some new items into stores. The strategy in doing this is to build anticipation for a new toy that they hope will be very popular and to also target and capture a larger majority of shoppers.

During every Christmas season there always is one, or maybe two toys, that are regarded as the ‘must-have’ toys for Christmas. And it has become a present-day phenomenon for shoppers to arrive from the wee hours in the morning to get a prime spot near the doors of some stores so that they can be among the first in those stores to make a mad dash for the ‘hot’ toy of the season.

But being doing or starting Christmas shopping early does not mean that it has to be over before the Christmas shopping season starts. What it means is that most or a significant part of your shopping will be done by the time Black Friday rolls around.

What is most important to making an early start to your Christmas shopping is to get the best deal and to do so with as little hassle as possible, by avoiding a crowded store for example. Both of those will be accomplished for those who are organized and motivated to get into the spirit of Christmas before the season really begins.

Why Christmas is Really All About Children

It could be said that since it was the birth of a baby as a gift to mankind that gave rise to Christmas, then children should also and always be the primary focus of the season. Individual families will say they have always put children first and parents will sacrifice seeking their desires at Christmas to make sure their children are satisfied. And although adults also look forward with much anticipation to the Christmas season, the frenzy that accounts for all the shopping and preparation during the Christmas season is really for the benefit of children.

From a financial perspective, the extensive shopping done at Christmas is really of benefit to businesses. But what really drives the maddening shopping activity is a desire by parents, relatives, friends and acquaintances to play Santa Claus, mainly for children. Within families, children are usually the ones who individually receive the most gifts. And it’s deservedly so because their wide-eyed anticipation, excitement and pure joy when they open their Christmas presents gives everyone an indescribably happy feeling.

Along with playing Santa Claus and secretly getting gifts for children, adults also use the Santa story for all it’s worth as an effective means of discipline. As soon as the Fall season approaches, children will begin to hear warnings about their behavior and the consequence of Santa Claus not leaving any toys or presents like the wonderful ones they received in the prior year. And when the Santa Claus story is not being used to help to get the best behavior from children, it is simply pure fun to delight them by telling them stories about Santa Claus, his elves and reindeers to simply enliven their imagination.The story of Santa Claus is even useful for older children who may just be starting to unravel the mystery of Santa Claus. The stories that tell of different places where Santa Claus actually lives can be a starting point to go on an imaginative journey around the globe and become a geography lesson to learn about those places.

Children are also central to Christmas because the many grand displays of Christmas scenery, colorful lights and sparkling ornaments really target the attention of children. So, if children were not so important at Christmas time, then it is quite possible that many of the traditions that make Christmas what it is would not exist. As an example, Valentine’s Day and holidays related to Easter have a much different mood and atmosphere. Children aren’t the focus in celebrations for those special periods.

Christmas is also an important period for the toy industry whose clients are naturally children. Although the industry is part of the big retail picture and therefore seeks to boost sales during the Christmas season, there is also a deeper meaning for children. Toys are important to entertain, to educate, to help children develop their imagination and to develop coordination and other skills in children. Toys can also help children to play together and learn to share.

The toy industry is therefore important at Christmas time in introducing new products that are integral to the development of children. When children become totally captivated by a new toy at Christmas time, it may help them to learn a new skill or provide new knowledge all in a fun and captivating way that will make it more likely that whatever is learned will be remembered.

Children are also the focus of Christmas celebrations because it is important to create fond childhood memories of the season. These memories are created not by children necessarily receiving a lot, but by enjoying everything about the season. The story of Jesus with the moral of sharing, giving and doing kind deeds for others can also help to build a good character and set a moral foundation that teaches children to have empathy and compassion during the Christmas season and all throughout the year.

Christmas Greetings and Good Cheer

Greetings at Christmas extend beyond a mere wish of ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays.’ Christmas greetings embody a wish that all will go well in whatever preparations need to be made, and a genuine sentiment that much joy, happiness and well being will be experienced by the individual and loved ones during the season.

The season of good cheer and wishes also reflect the jolly ho, ho, ho nature of Santa Claus. To the delight of children, it is very easy for them to run into many jolly fellows dressed as Santa Claus during the Christmas season who will quiz them about whether they have been good or naughty. Many times when friends, relatives and loved ones call each other during the Christmas season, they will speak to the children and wish them Merry Christmas, but not without a warning that they had better be good or else there will be no presents from Santa Claus.

For children therefore, a greeting of Merry Christmas has the purpose of increasing their anticipation for the arrival of Christmas Eve and Santa’s visit to leave toys and Christmas presents under the tree.

Because children also take part in many traditions associated with Christmas, holiday greetings for them is also a reminder of the fun they will have in doing such activities as decorating the tree, helping to bake cookies and wrapping presents. When children have these things to look forward to at Christmas, it creates a lasting memory for them and helps to make their childhood one on which they will later reflect on with much fondness.

The more prevalent greeting of ‘Happy Holidays’ that is used today reflects in part the also prevalent nature to be politically correct in speech and communication. The greeting of ‘Happy Holidays’ can be given to anyone whether or not they celebrate Christmas. It avoids any offense being taken if someone is wished Merry Christmas when it’s a celebration in which they don’t participate or observe.

Happy Holidays is also used to extend a greeting of goodwill beyond Christmas to the coming New Year holiday period. For procrastinators and the chronically late greeting card senders, they can still drop a ‘Happy Holiday’ greeting card in the mail to friends and loved ones close to Christmas Day or even after and it will still be relevant.

Christmas greeting cards play a big role in communicating Christmas greetings and good cheer for the holiday season. It’s a tradition that started in Britain in 1840 with the start of the first public postal deliveries. The production of large numbers of Christmas greeting cards started about twenty years later in 1860 with the improvement of printing methods.

Today, Christmas greetings and greeting cards have further evolved with massive changes and development in technology. The computer, which has become a necessary electronic equipment in just about every home, is commonly used to send Christmas greetings through emailing an online greeting or postcard. Online greeting cards also have brought other changes such as being interactive or animated and they can also be easily personalized with pictures of individuals or families. Online greeting cards can be sent from websites that are accessible to everyone or they can be easily created on a home computer.

Another way in which Christmas greetings are sent is by mailing gifts and presents to relatives and friends who live elsewhere. Except for the dreaded tax season, there is no other time when post offices become more crowded than during the Christmas season. Post Offices therefore play an important role in relaying Christmas greetings by handling thousands of greeting card mailings and gift packages for Christmas.

With just about everyone having a cheerful spirit for the Christmas season, it becomes very easy to pause for even a brief conversation and extend a greeting of goodwill to friends, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbors and others.

Eating Heartily but Consciously During Christmas Season

During the Christmas season, summer and its body-conscious state of mind are distant memories. Hearty indulgence in the many foods shared at Christmas therefore doesn’t produce the same feelings of guilt. Nevertheless, its not a pleasant thought to start the New Year carrying any extra pounds. So why then eat yourself into a resolution to ‘take off a few extra pounds’ if you can smartly avoid it?

Whether it’s sharing cookies and candies at work, or having an evening out at a party or dinner, you can have Christmas food and enjoy it. While you seem to be eating heartily with a smile, the key is to have a secret strategy of moderation. It involves sticking to a plan that can be called ‘Eating on a Budget.’

‘Eating on a Budget’ is not about the cost of what is eaten, but about the quantity of what is eaten. It is important that a ‘budget’ or eating in moderation plan is developed because it is almost impossible to avoid exposure to a lot of cookies, candies and other sweets at Christmas. At work, you may risk appearing like the Grinch who stole Christmas if your response will always be something like, ‘ humbug’ all the time that some Christmas goodies are offered. It will seem as if you aren’t in the spirit of the holidays especially since at that time of year everyone is usually in a festive and more relaxed mood, and the pace at work is usually slower.

A practical way to partake in Christmas goodies, for example, is to substitute some holiday cookies for say the bagel that you usually have with breakfast or for a mid-morning snack. And instead of just taking one cookie, from the platter, which is noticeable and likely will encourage a colleague to tell you to have more, take three instead. That’s where the plan can come into play. You can then enjoy the cookies over two or more hours, because nobody will be watching how you really eat. You can always have a few candies, one cookie or a cookie and a half by your desk and that way it will seem as if you are heartily enjoying the holiday treats.

Another strategy is to bring – bake or buy – low calorie Christmas cookies and candies to work to counteract others that are being offered. Since eating healthy is highly encouraged, health-conscious cookies will not be looked down upon so long as they taste great. A box of sugar-free Christmas chocolate candies for example will look just as delightful as regular chocolate candies. It’s interesting to note that in a poll sponsored by the National Confectioners Association in 2004, chocolate was the favorite food gift that Americans said they preferred to receive for the holidays. The lowly and much maligned fruit cake was last on the list. The second favorite holiday food gift was a fruit basket and a plate of cookies was third on the list, according to the Association.

For an occasion such as a Christmas party or a dinner, including Christmas Dinner, where larger quantities and selection of food is available, the ‘Eating on a Budget’ plan means that serving portions and the choice of food selected should be carefully watched.

At a party where more desserts and sweets are likely to be available, a few of the selections can be sampled. If the urge to try everything can’t be resisted, then do so, but then second helpings have to be severely limited. The same is somewhat true for Christmas Dinners. One big difference is that the food served during Christmas Dinner will be heavier, so by selecting portions wisely, one can always say truthfully that the stomach is full.

And indeed, after a sumptuous Holiday Dinner, your body is likely to be full from food and your soul full of joy from sharing another memorable holiday tradition with family, friends and loved ones.