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圣诞节习俗与圣诞音乐

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  Millions of Americans will celebrate Christmas on Decemb。er twenty-fifth. It is the most wide。ly celebrated religious holiday in the United Stat。es.

  People buy gifts to give。 to fa。mily members and friends. They fill homes and stores with evergreen1 trees an。d bright, colored lights. They go t。o parties and prepare special Christmas food. Many people th。in。k Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.

  Ma。ny Christians go to church the night before t。he holiday or on Christmas Day. They celebrate Christmas。 as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Christian2 ministers3 speak about the need for peace a。nd understanding in the world. This is the spiritual4 message of Christmas. Church s。ervices include tradition。al religious songs for the holiday. One of t。he most popular is "Silent Night."

  Many other Americans c。elebrate Christmas as an important,。 but non-religious holiday. To all, however, it。 is。 a special day of family, food, and exchanging gifts.

  Christmas is probably the most special day of th。e year for children. One thing that makes it special is the popular tradition of Santa Claus5.

  Young children believe th。at Santa Claus is a fa。t, kind, old man in a red suit with white fur. They believe th。at-on the night before Christmas-h。e travels through the air in a sleigh6 pulled by reindeer7. He enters each house from the top by sliding down the hole in the fireplace8. He leaves gifts for the children unde。r the Christmas tree.

  Amer。icans spend a lot。 of time and money buyin。g Christmas presents. The average American family spends about 800 dollars. Stores and shopping。 centers are crowded at this time of year. More than。 20% of goods sold。 du。ring the year are sold during the weeks before Christmas. This is go。od for stores and for the Amer。ican econ。omy.

  Some people object to spending all this money. They s。a。y it is not the real meaning of Christma。s. So, they celebrate in other ways. For example, they make Christma。s pr。esents, instead of buying them. Or they volunteer to help s。erve meals to people who have no homes. Or they give money to organizations that help poor people in the United Sta。tes and around the world.

  H。ome and family are the center。 of the Christmas holiday。. For many people, the most enjoyable tradition is buying a Christ。mas tree and decorati。ng9 it with lights and beautiful objects. On Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, people gather around the tr。ee to open th。eir presents.

  Another important Christma。s tradition invo。l。ves food. Famili。es prepare many kinds of holiday foods, especially sweets。. They eat these foods on the night before Christmas and on Christmas day.

  For man。y people, Christmas means t。raveling long distances to be with their families. An。other Christmas tradition is to go "carol。ing10."A group of people walk along the street. At each house, they stop and sing a




Christmas song, called carol. Student groups also sing carols at schools and shopping centers.

   Not everyone in the United St。ates celebrates Christmas. Members of the Jewish11 and Musli。m12 religions, for example, generally do not. Yet many Amer。icans do take part in some of the traditional。 performances of the

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