Depending on where you live or what culture you are a part of – your experiences of history and that of your culture is likely to be different. Although, it can be said that it all started with the birth of Jesus. As this is what Christmas symbolises there would not be a Christmas holiday without this event. In saying that (and if we were to produce a timeline based upon the history of Christmas) that is no doubt where we would start. You might actually go back a little further. As you should probably factor in Mary and Joseph’s journey to the manger where Jesus was born and how Mary was told that she would be giving birth to the son of God. Imagine being in that position – it would be an honourable thing to do but you would be frightened by the massive responsibility that you have been entrusted with.
Christmas as a holiday was not celebrated as widely as it is in these modern times until Christianity took a hold of the masses and become as widely followed as it is now. It has even become a holiday celebrated by people who are not Christians as a means to get their family together for the holiday season, eat some food and have a good time. It is important to note (on our time line) that there were festivities prior to the birth of Christ that were about giving gifts and celebrating – but Christmas as we now know it is very specific to the birth of Christ. It was a celebration of the New Year and was a twelve day holiday. The twelve days had a lot of different celebrations for specific purposes. Saturnalia was a Roman festival held each year which falls on to approximately the same time of year as we now celebrate Christmas.
Christmas has gone through many incarnations throughout the ages. A lot of the way that we celebrate it in the west now has a great deal to do with the commerciality of the holiday. It is also due to our modern lifestyle that we neglect a great deal of the traditional aspects when celebrating Christmas. For many people Christmas is now a means to supply their children with gifts and spend some time with the family while taking a break from work. Although the world needs to keep turning so many people are back at work by the 27th of December.