Crst (genitive Crstes) is from Greek Khrstos , a translation of Hebrew Mîa , "Messiah", meaning "anointed"; and mæsse is from Latin missa, the celebration of the Eucharist. The form Christenmas was also historically used, but is now considered archaic and dialectal.  The term derives from Middle English Cristenmasse, meaning "Christian mass".
 Xmas is an abbreviation of Christmas found particularly in print, based on the initial letter chi in Greek Khrstos , "Christ", though numerous style guides discourage its use.  This abbreviation has precedent in Middle English es masse (where is an abbreviation for).
In addition to "Christmas", the holiday has been known by various other names throughout its history. The Anglo-Saxons referred to the feast as "midwinter",  or, more rarely, as Ntiuiteð (from Latin ntvits below).  "Nativity", meaning "birth", is from Latin ntvits.
 In Old English, Gola (Yule) referred to the period corresponding to December and January, which was eventually equated with Christian Christmas.  "Noel" (or "Nowel") entered English in the late 14th century and is from the Old French noël or naël, itself ultimately from the Latin ntlis (dis) meaning "birth (day)"... The gospels of Luke and Matthew describe Jesus as being born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary. In Luke, Joseph and Mary travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, and Jesus is born there and laid in a manger.
 Angels proclaimed him a savior for all people, and shepherds came to adore him. Matthew adds that the magi follow a star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Jesus, born the king of the Jews. Eastern Orthodox icon of the birth of Christ by Saint Andrei Rublev, 15th century.
Nativity of Christ, medieval illustration from the Hortus deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg (12th century). Adoration of the Shepherds (1622) by Gerard van Honthorst depicts the nativity of Jesus. The nativity sequences included in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke prompted early Christian writers to suggest various dates for the anniversary.  Although no date is indicated in the gospels, early Christians connected Jesus to the Sun through the use of such phrases as Sun of righteousness. The Romans marked the winter solstice on December 25.  The first recorded Christmas celebration was in Rome on December 25, 336.  In the 3rd century, the date of the nativity was the subject of great interest. Around AD 200, Clement of Alexandria wrote. There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord's birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20]...
Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21]. Various factors contributed to the selection of December 25 as a date of celebration: it was the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar and it was nine months after March 25, the date of the vernal equinox and a date linked to the conception of Jesus (now Annunciation). Christmas played a role in the Arian controversy of the fourth century.
After this controversy ran its course, the prominence of the holiday declined for a few centuries. The feast regained prominence after 800 when Charlemagne was crowned emperor on Christmas Day. Later during the Protestant Reformation, the Puritans banned Christmas in England, associating it with drunkenness and other misbehavior.  It was restored as a legal holiday in England in 1660, but remained disreputable in the minds of many people.
In the early 19th century, Christmas was reconceived by Washington Irving, Charles Dickens, and other authors as a holiday emphasizing family, children, kind-heartedness, gift-giving, and Santa Claus. Christmas does not appear on the lists of festivals given by the early Christian writers Irenaeus and Tertullian.
 Origen and Arnobius both fault the pagans for celebrating birthdays, which suggests that Christmas was not celebrated in their time.  Arnobius wrote after AD 297. The Chronography of 354 records that a Christmas celebration took place in Rome in 336.In the East, the birth of Jesus was celebrated in connection with the Epiphany on January 6.  This holiday was not primarily about the nativity, but rather the baptism of Jesus.  Christmas was promoted in the East as part of the revival of Orthodox Christianity that followed the death of the pro-Arian Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. The feast was introduced in Constantinople in 379, in Antioch by John Chrysostom towards the end of the fourth century,  probably in 388, and in Alexandria in the following century.
Mosaic of Jesus as Christus Sol (Christ the Sun) in Mausoleum M in the pre-fourth-century necropolis under St Peter's Basilica in Rome. December 25 was the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar.
 A late fourth-century sermon by Saint Augustine explains why this was a fitting day to celebrate Christ's nativity: Hence it is that He was born on the day which is the shortest in our earthly reckoning and from which subsequent days begin to increase in length. He, therefore, who bent low and lifted us up chose the shortest day, yet the one whence light begins to increase. Linking Jesus to the Sun was supported by various Biblical passages. Jesus was considered to be the "Sun of righteousness" prophesied by Malachi: Unto you shall the sun of righteousness arise, and healing is in his wings.
Such solar symbolism could support more than one date of birth. An anonymous work known as De Pascha Computus (243) linked the idea that creation began at the spring equinox, on March 25, with the conception or birth (the word nascor can mean either) of Jesus on March 28, the day of the creation of the sun in the Genesis account. One translation reads: O the splendid and divine providence of the Lord, that on that day, the very day, on which the sun was made, March 28, a Wednesday, Christ should be born.
In the 17th century, Isaac Newton, who, coincidentally, was born on December 25, argued that the date of Christmas was selected to correspond with the solstice. According to Steven Hijmans of the University of Alberta, It is cosmic symbolism...
Which inspired the Church leadership in Rome to elect the southern solstice, December 25, as the birthday of Christ, and the northern solstice as that of John the Baptist, supplemented by the equinoxes as their respective dates of conception. The calculation hypothesis suggests that an earlier holiday held on March 25 became associated with the Incarnation.  Modern scholars refer to this feast as the Quartodecimal. Christmas was then calculated as nine months later. The calculation hypothesis was proposed by French writer Louis Duchesne in 1889.
 In modern times, March 25 is celebrated as Annunciation. This holiday was created in the seventh century and was assigned to a date that is nine months before Christmas, in addition to being the traditional date of the equinox.It is unrelated to the Quartodecimal, which had been forgotten by this time. Early Christians celebrated the life of Jesus on a date considered equivalent to 14 Nisan (Passover) on the local calendar. Because Passover was held on the 14th of the month, this feast is referred to as the Quartodecimal. All the major events of Christ's life, especially the passion, were celebrated on this date. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul mentions Passover, presumably celebrated according to the local calendar in Corinth.
220, who lived in Latin-speaking North Africa, gives the date of passion celebration as March 25.  The date of the passion was moved to Good Friday in 165 when Pope Soter created Easter by reassigning the Resurrection to a Sunday. According to the calculation hypothesis, the celebration of the quartodecimal continued in some areas and the feast became associated with Incarnation. The calculation hypothesis is considered academically to be "a thoroughly viable hypothesis", though not certain. It was a traditional Jewish belief that great men were born and died on the same day, so lived a whole number of years, without fractions: Jesus was therefore considered to have been conceived on March 25, as he died on March 25, which was calculated to have coincided with 14 Nisan.  A passage in Commentary on the Prophet Daniel (204) by Hippolytus of Rome identifies December 25 as the date of the nativity. This passage is generally considered a late interpellation. But the manuscript does includes another passage, one that is more likely to be authentic, that gives the passion as March 25.
In 221, Sextus Julius Africanus c. 240 gave March 25 as the day of creation and of the conception of Jesus in his universal history. This conclusion was based on solar symbolism, with March 25 the date of the equinox. As this implies a birth in December, it is sometimes claimed to be the earliest identification of December 25 as the nativity. However, Africanus was not such an influential writer that it is likely he determined the date of Christmas.The tractate De solstitia et aequinoctia conceptionis et nativitatis Domini nostri Iesu Christi et Iohannis Baptistae, falsely attributed to John Chrysostom, also argued that Jesus was conceived and crucified on the same day of the year and calculated this as March 25.  This anonymous tract also states: But Our Lord, too, is born in the month of December... The eight before the calends of January [25 December]... But they call it the'Birthday of the Unconquered'. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord... Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice. The rival "History of Religions" hypothesis suggests that the Church selected December 25 date to appropriate festivities held by the Romans in honor of the Sun god Sol Invictus.  This cult was established by Aurelian in 274. An explicit expression of this theory appears in an annotation of uncertain date added to a manuscript of a work by 12th-century Syrian bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi. The scribe who added it wrote. It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries, the Christians also took part. Accordingly, when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day.
In 1743, German Protestant Paul Ernst Jablonski argued Christmas was placed on December 25 to correspond with the Roman solar holiday Dies Natalis Solis Invicti and was therefore a "paganization" that debased the true church.  It has been argued that, on the contrary, the Emperor Aurelian, who in 274 instituted the holiday of the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, did so partly as an attempt to give a pagan significance to a date already important for Christians in Rome.Hermann Usener and others proposed that the Christians chose this day because it was the Roman feast celebrating the birthday of Sol Invictus. Hijmans, however, states that While they were aware that pagans called this day the'birthday' of Sol Invictus, this did not concern them and it did not play any role in their choice of date for Christmas. Talley holds that the Roman Emperor Aurelian placed a festival of Sol Invictus on December 25 in order to compete with the growing rate of the Christian Church, which had already been celebrating Christmas on that date first.  In the judgement of the Church of England Liturgical Commission, the History of Religions hypothesis has been challenged by a view based on an old tradition, according to which the date of Christmas was fixed at nine months after March 25, the date of the vernal equinox, on which the Annunciation was celebrated. With regard to a December religious feast of the deified Sun (Sol), as distinct from a solstice feast of the birth (or rebirth) of the astronomical sun, one scholar has commented that "while the winter solstice on or around December 25 was well established in the Roman imperial calendar, there is no evidence that a religious celebration of Sol on that day antedated the celebration of Christmas".  Thomas Talley has shown that, although the Emperor Aurelian's dedication of a temple to the sun god in the Campus Martius C.
274 probably took place on the'Birthday of the Invincible Sun' on December 25, the cult of the sun in pagan Rome ironically did not celebrate the winter solstice nor any of the other quarter-tense days, as one might expect. " The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought remarks on the uncertainty about the order of precedence between the religious celebrations of the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun and of the birthday of Jesus, stating that the hypothesis that December 25 was chosen for celebrating the birth of Jesus on the basis of the belief that his conception occurred on March 25 "potentially establishes 25 December as a Christian festival before Aurelian's decree, which, when promulgated, might have provided for the Christian feast both opportunity and challenge.
The Nativity, from a 14th-century Missal; a liturgical book containing texts and music necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the year. In the Early Middle Ages, Christmas Day was overshadowed by Epiphany, which in western Christianity focused on the visit of the magi. But the medieval calendar was dominated by Christmas-related holidays. The forty days before Christmas became the forty days of St.
Martin which began on November 11, the feast of St. Martin of Tours, now known as Advent.  In Italy, former Saturnalian traditions were attached to Advent. Around the 12th century, these traditions transferred again to the Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25 January 5); a time that appears in the liturgical calendars as Christmastide or Twelve Holy Days. The prominence of Christmas Day increased gradually after Charlemagne was crowned Emperor on Christmas Day in 800. King Edmund the Martyr was anointed on Christmas in 855 and King William I of England was crowned on Christmas Day 1066. The coronation of Charlemagne on Christmas of 800 helped promote the popularity of the holiday. By the High Middle Ages, the holiday had become so prominent that chroniclers routinely noted where various magnates celebrated Christmas. King Richard II of England hosted a Christmas feast in 1377 at which twenty-eight oxen and three hundred sheep were eaten.  The Yule boar was a common feature of medieval Christmas feasts. Caroling also became popular, and was originally performed by a group of dancers who sang. The group was composed of a lead singer and a ring of dancers that provided the chorus. Various writers of the time condemned caroling as lewd, indicating that the unruly traditions of Saturnalia and Yule may have continued in this form.  "Misrule"drunkenness, promiscuity, gamblingwas also an important aspect of the festival. In England, gifts were exchanged on New Year's Day, and there was special Christmas ale. Christmas during the Middle Ages was a public festival that incorporated ivy, holly, and other evergreens.  Christmas gift-giving during the Middle Ages was usually between people with legal relationships, such as tenant and landlord.
 The annual indulgence in eating, dancing, singing, sporting, and card playing escalated in England, and by the 17th century the Christmas season featured lavish dinners, elaborate masques, and pageants. In 1607, King James I insisted that a play be acted on Christmas night and that the court indulge in games.
 It was during the Reformation in 16th17th-century Europe that many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve. Associating it with drunkenness and other misbehaviour, the Puritans banned Christmas in England in the 17th century. It was restored as a legal holiday in 1660, but remained disreputable. In the early 19th century, the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church ushered in "the development of richer and more symbolic forms of worship, the building of neo-Gothic churches, and the revival and increasing centrality of the keeping of Christmas itself as a Christian festival" as well as "special charities for the poor" in addition to "special services and musical events".  Charles Dickens and other writers helped in this revival of the holiday by "changing consciousness of Christmas and the way in which it was celebrated" as they emphasized family, religion, gift-giving, and social reconciliation as opposed to the historic revelry common in some places. Following the Protestant Reformation, many of the new denominations, including the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church, continued to celebrate Christmas.  In 1629, the Anglican poet John Milton penned On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, a poem that has since been read by many during Christmastide.  Donald Heinz, a professor at California State University, states that Martin Luther inaugurated a period in which Germany would produce a unique culture of Christmas, much copied in North America.
 Among the congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church, Christmas was celebrated as one of the principal evangelical feasts. However, in 17th century England, some groups such as the Puritans, strongly condemned the celebration of Christmas, considering it a Catholic invention and the "trappings of popery" or the "rags of the Beast".  In contrast, the established Anglican Church pressed for a more elaborate observance of feasts, penitential seasons, and saints' days. The calendar reform became a major point of tension between the Anglican party and the Puritan party. The Catholic Church also responded, promoting the festival in a more religiously oriented form. King Charles I of England directed his noblemen and gentry to return to their landed estates in midwinter to keep up their old-style Christmas generosity.  Following the Parliamentarian victory over Charles I during the English Civil War, England's Puritan rulers banned Christmas in 1647.
Protests followed as pro-Christmas rioting broke out in several cities and for weeks Canterbury was controlled by the rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and shouted royalist slogans.  The book, The Vindication of Christmas (London, 1652), argued against the Puritans, and makes note of Old English Christmas traditions, dinner, roast apples on the fire, card playing, dances with "plow-boys" and "maidservants", old Father Christmas and carol singing.
The Examination and Trial of Father Christmas, (1686), published after Christmas was reinstated as a holy day in England. The Restoration of King Charles II in 1660 ended the ban, but many Calvinist clergymen still disapproved of Christmas celebration. As such, in Scotland, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland discouraged the observance of Christmas, and though James VI commanded its celebration in 1618, attendance at church was scant.
 The Parliament of Scotland officially abolished the observance of Christmas in 1640, claiming that the church had been "purged of all superstitious observation of days".  It was not until 1958 that Christmas again became a Scottish public holiday. Following the Restoration of Charles II, Poor Robin's Almanack contained the lines: Now thanks to God for Charles return, / Whose absence made old Christmas mourn. / For then we scarcely did it know, / Whether it Christmas were or no.
 The diary of James Woodforde, from the latter half of the 18th century, details the observance of Christmas and celebrations associated with the season over a number of years. In Colonial America, the Pilgrims of New England shared radical Protestant disapproval of Christmas.  The Plymouth Pilgrims put their loathing for the day into practice in 1620 when they spent their first Christmas Day in the New World working thus demonstrating their complete contempt for the day.
 Non-Puritans in New England deplored the loss of the holidays enjoyed by the laboring classes in England.  Christmas observance was outlawed in Boston in 1659.  The ban by the Puritans was revoked in 1681 by English governor Edmund Andros, however it was not until the mid-19th century that celebrating Christmas became fashionable in the Boston region. At the same time, Christian residents of Virginia and New York observed the holiday freely.
Pennsylvania German Settlers, pre-eminently the Moravian settlers of Bethlehem, Nazareth and Lititz in Pennsylvania and the Wachovia Settlements in North Carolina, were enthusiastic celebrators of Christmas. The Moravians in Bethlehem had the first Christmas trees in America as well as the first Nativity Scenes. Christmas fell out of favor in the United States after the American Revolution, when it was considered an English custom.  George Washington attacked Hessian (German) mercenaries on the day after Christmas during the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776, Christmas being much more popular in Germany than in America at this time. With the atheistic Cult of Reason in power during the era of Revolutionary France, Christian Christmas religious services were banned and the three kings cake was renamed the "equality cake" under anticlerical government policies. Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present.
From Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, 1843. In the UK, Christmas Day became a bank holiday in 1834.Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, was added in 1871. In the early-19th century, writers imagined Tudor Christmas as a time of heartfelt celebration.
In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol, which helped revive the "spirit" of Christmas and seasonal merriment.  Its instant popularity played a major role in portraying Christmas as a holiday emphasizing family, goodwill, and compassion. Dickens sought to construct Christmas as a family-centered festival of generosity, linking worship and feasting, within a context of social reconciliation. " Superimposing his humanitarian vision of the holiday, in what has been termed "Carol Philosophy,  Dickens influenced many aspects of Christmas that are celebrated today in Western culture, such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games, and a festive generosity of spirit.  A prominent phrase from the tale, "Merry Christmas", was popularized following the appearance of the story.
 This coincided with the appearance of the Oxford Movement and the growth of Anglo-Catholicism, which led a revival in traditional rituals and religious observances. The Queen's Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, published in the Illustrated London News, 1848, and republished in Godey's Lady's Book, Philadelphia, December 1850. The term Scrooge became a synonym for miser, with Bah!
Dismissive of the festive spirit.  In 1843, the first commercial Christmas card was produced by Sir Henry Cole.
 The revival of the Christmas Carol began with William Sandys's "Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern" (1833), with the first appearance in print of "The First Noel", "I Saw Three Ships", "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen", popularized in Dickens' A Christmas Carol. In Britain, the Christmas tree was introduced in the early 19th century following the personal union with the Kingdom of Hanover by Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III. In 1832, the future Queen Victoria wrote about her delight at having a Christmas tree, hung with lights, ornaments, and presents placed round it. After her marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert, by 1841 the custom became more widespread throughout Britain. An image of the British royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle created a sensation when it was published in the Illustrated London News in 1848.
A modified version of this image was published in the United States in 1850.  By the 1870s, putting up a Christmas tree had become common in America. In America, interest in Christmas had been revived in the 1820s by several short stories by Washington Irving which appear in his The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.
Irving's stories depicted harmonious warm-hearted English Christmas festivities he experienced while staying in Aston Hall, Birmingham, England, that had largely been abandoned,  and he used the tract Vindication of Christmas (1652) of Old English Christmas traditions, that he had transcribed into his journal as a format for his stories. A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph Tidemand. In 1822, Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem A Visit From St.
Nicholas (popularly known by its first line: Twas the Night Before Christmas).  The poem helped popularize the tradition of exchanging gifts, and seasonal Christmas shopping began to assume economic importance.  This also started the cultural conflict between the holiday's spiritual significance and its associated commercialism that some see as corrupting the holiday. In her 1850 book The First Christmas in New England, Harriet Beecher Stowe includes a character who complains that the true meaning of Christmas was lost in a shopping spree. While the celebration of Christmas was not yet customary in some regions in the U.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow detected "a transition state about Christmas here in New England" in 1856. The old puritan feeling prevents it from being a cheerful, hearty holiday; though every year makes it more so. " In Reading, Pennsylvania, a newspaper remarked in 1861, "Even our presbyterian friends who have hitherto steadfastly ignored Christmasthrew open their church doors and assembled in force to celebrate the anniversary of the Savior's birth. The First Congregational Church of Rockford, Illinois, "although of genuine Puritan stock", was'preparing for a grand Christmas jubilee', a news correspondent reported in 1864.  By 1860, fourteen states including several from New England had adopted Christmas as a legal holiday. In 1875, Louis Prang introduced the Christmas card to Americans. He has been called the "father of the American Christmas card".  On June 28, 1870, Christmas was formally declared a United States federal holiday. The mass of the population had not adopted many of the Christmas rituals that later became general. The Christmas tree was rare. Christmas dinner might be beef or goose certainly not turkey. In their stockings children might get an apple, orange, and sweets. Full celebration of a family Christmas with all the trimmings only became widespread with increased prosperity from the 1950s.  National papers were published on Christmas Day until 1912. Post was still delivered on Christmas Day until 1961. League football matches continued in Scotland until the 1970s while in England they ceased at the end of the 1950s. Under the state atheism of the Soviet Union, after its foundation in 1917, Christmas celebrationsalong with other Christian holidayswere prohibited in public.  During the 1920s,'30s, and'40s, the League of Militant Atheists encouraged school pupils to campaign against Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, as well as other Christian holidays, including Easter; the League established an antireligious holiday to be the 31st of each month as a replacement.  At the height of this persecution, in 1929, on Christmas Day, children in Moscow were encouraged to spit on crucifixes as a protest against the holiday.  It was not until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 that the persecution ended and Orthodox Christmas became a state holiday again for the first time in Russia after seven decades. European History Professor Joseph Perry wrote that likewise, in Nazi Germany, "because Nazi ideologues saw organized religion as an enemy of the totalitarian state, propagandists sought to deemphasizeor eliminate altogetherthe Christian aspects of the holiday" and that Propagandists tirelessly promoted numerous Nazified Christmas songs, which replaced Christian themes with the regime's racial ideologies.
As Christmas celebrations began to be held around the world even outside traditional Christian cultures in the 20th century, some Muslim-majority countries subsequently banned the practice of Christmas, claiming it undermines Islam. Further information: Christmas traditions and Observance of Christmas by country. Dark brown countries that do not recognize Christmas on December 25 or January 7 as a public holiday. Light brown countries that do not recognize Christmas as a public holiday, but the holiday is given observance. Many Christians attend church services to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Christmas Day is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in countries around the world, including many whose populations are mostly non-Christian. In some non-Christian areas, periods of former colonial rule introduced the celebration e. Hong Kong; in others, Christian minorities or foreign cultural influences have led populations to observe the holiday.Countries such as Japan, where Christmas is popular despite there being only a small number of Christians, have adopted many of the secular aspects of Christmas, such as gift-giving, decorations, and Christmas trees. Among countries with a strong Christian tradition, a variety of Christmas celebrations have developed that incorporate regional and local cultures. Christmas Day (inclusive of its vigil, Christmas Eve), is a Festival in the Lutheran Churches, a holy day of obligation in the Roman Catholic Church, and a Principal Feast of the Anglican Communion. Other Christian denominations do not rank their feast days but nevertheless place importance on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, as with other Christian feasts like Easter, Ascension Day, and Pentecost.  As such, for Christians, attending a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day church service plays an important part in the recognition of the Christmas season.
Christmas, along with Easter, is the period of highest annual church attendance. A 2010 survey by LifeWay Christian Resources found that six in ten Americans attend church services during this time.
 In the United Kingdom, the Church of England reported an estimated attendance of 2.5 million people at Christmas services in 2015. A typical Neapolitan presepe or presepio, or Nativity scene. Local crèches are renowned for their ornate decorations and symbolic figurines, often mirroring daily life.Nativity scenes are known from 10th-century Rome. They were popularised by Saint Francis of Assisi from 1223, quickly spreading across Europe.  Different types of decorations developed across the Christian world, dependent on local tradition and available resources, and can vary from simple representations of the crib to far more elaborate sets renowned manger scene traditions include the colourful Kraków szopka in Poland,  which imitate Kraków's historical buildings as settings, the elaborate Italian presepi (Neapolitan, Genoese and Bolognese),  or the Provençal crèches in southern France, using hand-painted terracotta figurines called santons.  In certain parts of the world, notably Sicily, living nativity scenes following the tradition of Saint Francis are a popular alternative to static crèches.  The first commercially produced decorations appeared in Germany in the 1860s, inspired by paper chains made by children.  In countries where a representation of the Nativity scene is very popular, people are encouraged to compete and create the most original or realistic ones. Within some families, the pieces used to make the representation are considered a valuable family heirloom. The traditional colors of Christmas decorations are red, green, and gold.
Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion, while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter, and gold is the first color associated with Christmas, as one of the three gifts of the Magi, symbolizing royalty. The official White House Christmas tree for 1962, displayed in the Entrance Hall and presented by John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie. The Christmas tree was first used by German Lutherans in the 16th century, with records indicating that a Christmas tree was placed in the Cathedral of Strassburg in 1539, under the leadership of the Protestant Reformer, Martin Bucer.  In the United States, these German Lutherans brought the decorated Christmas tree with them; the Moravians put lighted candles on those trees. When decorating the Christmas tree, many individuals place a star at the top of the tree symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem, a fact recorded by The School Journal in 1897.  Professor David Albert Jones of Oxford University writes that in the 19th century, it became popular for people to also use an angel to top the Christmas tree in order to symbolize the angels mentioned in the accounts of the Nativity of Jesus.  The Christmas tree is considered by some as Christianisation of pagan tradition and ritual surrounding the Winter Solstice, which included the use of evergreen boughs, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship; according to eighth-century biographer Æddi Stephanus, Saint Boniface (634709), who was a missionary in Germany, took an ax to an oak tree dedicated to Thor and pointed out a fir tree, which he stated was a more fitting object of reverence because it pointed to heaven and it had a triangular shape, which he said was symbolic of the Trinity.  The English language phrase "Christmas tree" is first recorded in 1835 and represents an importation from the German language. On Christmas, the Christ Candle in the center of the Advent wreath is traditionally lit in many church services.
Since the 16th century, the poinsettia, a native plant from Mexico, has been associated with Christmas carrying the Christian symbolism of the Star of Bethlehem; in that country it is known in Spanish as the Flower of the Holy Night.  Other popular holiday plants include holly, mistletoe, red amaryllis, and Christmas cactus.Other traditional decorations include bells, candles, candy canes, stockings, wreaths, and angels. Both the displaying of wreaths and candles in each window are a more traditional Christmas display. The concentric assortment of leaves, usually from an evergreen, make up Christmas wreaths and are designed to prepare Christians for the Advent season. Candles in each window are meant to demonstrate the fact that Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the ultimate light of the world. Christmas lights and banners may be hung along streets, music played from speakers, and Christmas trees placed in prominent places.  It is common in many parts of the world for town squares and consumer shopping areas to sponsor and display decorations.
Rolls of brightly colored paper with secular or religious Christmas motifs are manufactured for the purpose of wrapping gifts. In some countries, Christmas decorations are traditionally taken down on Twelfth Night. Children in Oklahoma reenact a Nativity play. For the Christian celebration of Christmas, the viewing of the Nativity play is one of the oldest Christmastime traditions, with the first reenactment of the Nativity of Jesus taking place in A.
 In that year, Francis of Assisi assembled a Nativity scene outside of his church in Italy and children sung Christmas carols celebrating the birth of Jesus.  Each year, this grew larger and people travelled from afar to see Francis' depiction of the Nativity of Jesus that came to feature drama and music.
 Nativity plays eventually spread throughout all of Europe, where they remain popular. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day church services often came to feature Nativity plays, as did schools and theatres.  In France, Germany, Mexico and Spain, Nativity plays are often reenacted outdoors in the streets.
The earliest extant specifically Christmas hymns appear in fourth-century Rome. Latin hymns such as "Veni redemptor gentium", written by Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, were austere statements of the theological doctrine of the Incarnation in opposition to Arianism. "Corde natus ex Parentis" ("Of the Father's love begotten") by the Spanish poet Prudentius d.413 is still sung in some churches today.  In the 9th and 10th centuries, the Christmas "Sequence" or "Prose" was introduced in North European monasteries, developing under Bernard of Clairvaux into a sequence of rhymed stanzas. In the 12th century the Parisian monk Adam of St. Victor began to derive music from popular songs, introducing something closer to the traditional Christmas carol. Child singers in Bucharest, 1841. The songs now known specifically as carols were originally communal folk songs sung during celebrations such as "harvest tide" as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols began to be sung in church. Traditionally, carols have often been based on medieval chord patterns, and it is this that gives them their uniquely characteristic musical sound. Some carols like "Personent hodie", "Good King Wenceslas", and "The Holly and the Ivy" can be traced directly back to the Middle Ages.
They are among the oldest musical compositions still regularly sung. "Adeste Fideles" (O Come all ye faithful) appears in its current form in the mid-18th century, although the words may have originated in the 13th century.
The singing of carols initially suffered a decline in popularity after the Protestant Reformation in northern Europe, although some Reformers, like Martin Luther, wrote carols and encouraged their use in worship. Carols largely survived in rural communities until the revival of interest in popular songs in the 19th century. The 18th-century English reformer Charles Wesley understood the importance of music to worship. In addition to setting many psalms to melodies, which were influential in the Great Awakening in the United States, he wrote texts for at least three Christmas carols.
The best known was originally entitled Hark! How All the Welkin Rings", later renamed "Hark! Completely secular Christmas seasonal songs emerged in the late 18th century. "Deck the Halls" dates from 1784, and the American "Jingle Bells" was copyrighted in 1857. In the 19th and 20th centuries, African American spirituals and songs about Christmas, based in their tradition of spirituals, became more widely known.An increasing number of seasonal holiday songs were commercially produced in the 20th century, including jazz and blues variations. In addition, there was a revival of interest in early music, from groups singing folk music, such as The Revels, to performers of early medieval and classical music. John Rutter has composed many carols including "All Bells in Paradise", "Angels' Carol", "Candlelight Carol", "Donkey Carol", "Jesus Child", "Shepherd's Pipe Carol" and "Star Carol". Christmas pudding cooked on Stir-up Sunday, it is traditionally served in the UK, Ireland and in other countries. A special Christmas family meal is traditionally an important part of the holiday's celebration, and the food that is served varies greatly from country to country.
Some regions have special meals for Christmas Eve, such as Sicily, where 12 kinds of fish are served. In the United Kingdom and countries influenced by its traditions, a standard Christmas meal includes turkey, goose or other large bird, gravy, potatoes, vegetables, sometimes bread and cider. Special desserts are also prepared, such as Christmas pudding, mince pies, fruit cake, Panettone and Yule log cake. Traditional Christmas meal in Central Europe is fried carp or other fish. A 1907 Christmas card with Santa and some of his reindeer. Christmas cards are illustrated messages of greeting exchanged between friends and family members during the weeks preceding Christmas Day. The traditional greeting reads "wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year", much like that of the first commercial Christmas card, produced by Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843.  The custom of sending them has become popular among a wide cross-section of people with the emergence of the modern trend towards exchanging E-cards.
The content of the design might relate directly to the Christmas narrative, with depictions of the Nativity of Jesus, or Christian symbols such as the Star of Bethlehem, or a white dove, which can represent both the Holy Spirit and Peace on Earth. Other Christmas cards are more secular and can depict Christmas traditions, mythical figures such as Santa Claus, objects directly associated with Christmas such as candles, holly, and baubles, or a variety of images associated with the season, such as Christmastide activities, snow scenes, and the wildlife of the northern winter. There are even humorous cards and genres depicting nostalgic scenes of the past such as crinolined shoppers in idealized 19th-century streetscapes. Some prefer cards with a poem, prayer, or Biblical verse; while others distance themselves from religion with an all-inclusive "Season's greetings". A number of nations have issued commemorative stamps at Christmastide.They usually go on sale sometime between early October and early December and are printed in considerable quantities. Christmas gifts under a Christmas tree. The exchanging of gifts is one of the core aspects of the modern Christmas celebration, making it the most profitable time of year for retailers and businesses throughout the world. Main articles: Santa Claus, Father Christmas, and Christkind.
A number of figures are associated with Christmas and the seasonal giving of gifts. Among these are Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus (derived from the Dutch for Saint Nicholas), Père Noël, and the Weihnachtsmann; Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas; the Christkind; Kris Kringle; Joulupukki; tomte/nisse; Babbo Natale; Saint Basil; and Ded Moroz. The Scandinavian tomte (also called nisse) is sometimes depicted as a gnome instead of Santa Claus.The best known of these figures today is red-dressed Santa Claus, of diverse origins. The name Santa Claus can be traced back to the Dutch Sinterklaas, which means simply Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was a 4th-century Greek bishop of Myra, a city in the Roman province of Lycia, whose ruins are 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from modern Demre in southwest Turkey.  Among other saintly attributes, he was noted for the care of children, generosity, and the giving of gifts. His feast day, December 6, came to be celebrated in many countries with the giving of gifts. Saint Nicholas traditionally appeared in bishop's attire, accompanied by helpers, inquiring about the behaviour of children during the past year before deciding whether they deserved a gift or not. By the 13th century, Saint Nicholas was well known in the Netherlands, and the practice of gift-giving in his name spread to other parts of central and southern Europe. At the Reformation in 16th17th-century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, corrupted in English to Kris Kringle, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve. The modern popular image of Santa Claus, however, was created in the United States, and in particular in New York. The transformation was accomplished with the aid of notable contributors including Washington Irving and the German-American cartoonist Thomas Nast (18401902). Following the American Revolutionary War, some of the inhabitants of New York City sought out symbols of the city's non-English past. New York had originally been established as the Dutch colonial town of New Amsterdam and the Dutch Sinterklaas tradition was reinvented as Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas, known as Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, is considered by many to be the original Santa Claus. Current tradition in several Latin American countries (such as Venezuela and Colombia) holds that while Santa makes the toys, he then gives them to the Baby Jesus, who is the one who actually delivers them to the children's homes, a reconciliation between traditional religious beliefs and the iconography of Santa Claus imported from the United States. In South Tyrol (Italy), Austria, Czech Republic, Southern Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, and Switzerland, the Christkind (Jeíek in Czech, Jézuska in Hungarian and Jeiko in Slovak) brings the presents. Greek children get their presents from Saint Basil on New Year's Eve, the eve of that saint's liturgical feast. Nikolaus is not identical with the Weihnachtsmann (who is the German version of Santa Claus / Father Christmas).
Nikolaus wears a bishop's dress and still brings small gifts (usually candies, nuts, and fruits) on December 6 and is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht. Although many parents around the world routinely teach their children about Santa Claus and other gift bringers, some have come to reject this practice, considering it deceptive. Multiple gift-giver figures exist in Poland, varying between regions and individual families. St Nicholas (wity Mikoaj) dominates Central and North-East areas, the Starman (Gwiazdor) is most common in Greater Poland, Baby Jesus (Dziecitko) is unique to Upper Silesia, with the Little Star (Gwiazdka) and the Little Angel (Anioek) being common in the South and the South-East. Grandfather Frost (Dziadek Mróz) is less commonly accepted in some areas of Eastern Poland.
 It is worth noting that across all of Poland, St Nicholas is the gift giver on the Saint Nicholas Day on December 6. Date according to Julian calendar. Some jurisdictions of the Eastern Orthodox Church, including those of Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Jerusalem, mark feasts using the older Julian calendar.
As of 2020, there is a difference of 13 days between the Julian calendar and the modern Gregorian calendar, which is used internationally for most secular purposes. As a result, December 25 on the Julian calendar currently corresponds to January 7 on the calendar used by most governments and people in everyday life. Therefore, the aforementioned Orthodox Christians mark December 25 (and thus Christmas) on the day that is internationally considered to be January 7. However, other Orthodox Christians, such as those belonging to the jurisdictions of Constantinople, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Antioch, Alexandria, Albania, Cyprus, Finland, and the Orthodox Church in America, among others, began using the Revised Julian calendar in the early 20th century, which at present corresponds exactly to the Gregorian calendar.  Therefore, these Orthodox Christians mark December 25 (and thus Christmas) on the same day that is internationally considered to be December 25, and which is also the date of Christmas among Western Christians.A further complication is added by the fact that the Armenian Apostolic Church continues the original ancient Eastern Christian practice of celebrating the birth of Christ not as a separate holiday, but on the same day as the celebration of his baptism (Theophany), which is on January 6. This is a public holiday in Armenia, and it is held on the same day that is internationally considered to be January 6, because the Armenian Church in Armenia uses the Gregorian calendar. However, there is also a small Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which maintains the traditional Armenian custom of celebrating the birth of Christ on the same day as Theophany (January 6), but uses the Julian calendar for the determination of that date. As a result, this church celebrates "Christmas" (more properly called Theophany) on the day that is considered January 19 on the Gregorian calendar in use by the majority of the world... Main article: Economics of Christmas. Christmas decorations at the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris, France. The Christmas season is the busiest trading period for retailers. Christmas market in Jena, Germany. In the United States, the "Christmas shopping season" starts as early as October.  In Canada, merchants begin advertising campaigns just before Halloween (October 31), and step up their marketing following Remembrance Day on November 11. In the UK and Ireland, the Christmas shopping season starts from mid-November, around the time when high street Christmas lights are turned on.  In the United States, it has been calculated that a quarter of all personal spending takes place during the Christmas/holiday shopping season.  Figures from the U. In the same year employment in American retail stores rose from 1.6 million to 1.8 million in the two months leading up to Christmas.  Industries completely dependent on Christmas include Christmas cards, of which 1.9 billion are sent in the United States each year, and live Christmas Trees, of which 20.8 million were cut in the U. In most Western nations, Christmas Day is the least active day of the year for business and commerce; almost all retail, commercial and institutional businesses are closed, and almost all industries cease activity (more than any other day of the year), whether laws require such or not.
In England and Wales, the Christmas Day (Trading) Act 2004 prevents all large shops from trading on Christmas Day. Scotland is currently planning similar legislation. Film studios release many high-budget movies during the holiday season, including Christmas films, fantasy movies or high-tone dramas with high production values to hopes of maximizing the chance of nominations for the Academy Awards. One economist's analysis calculates that, despite increased overall spending, Christmas is a deadweight loss under orthodox microeconomic theory, because of the effect of gift-giving. This loss is calculated as the difference between what the gift giver spent on the item and what the gift receiver would have paid for the item. Because of complicating factors, this analysis is sometimes used to discuss possible flaws in current microeconomic theory. Other deadweight losses include the effects of Christmas on the environment and the fact that material gifts are often perceived as white elephants, imposing cost for upkeep and storage and contributing to clutter.
A 1931 edition of the Soviet magazine Bezbozhnik, published by the League of Militant Atheists, depicting an Orthodox Christian priest being forbidden to take home a tree for the celebration of Christmastide, which was banned under the MarxistLeninist doctrine of state atheism. Further information: Persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union, Kirchenkampf, Antireligious campaigns in China, and Christmas in Puritan New England.
Christmas has at times been the subject of controversy and attacks from various sources. Historically it was prohibited by Puritans when they briefly held power in England (16471660), and in Colonial America where the Puritans outlawed the celebration of Christmas in 1659.  The Parliament of Scotland, which was dominated by Presbyterians, passed a series of acts outlawing the observance of Christmas between 1637 and 1690; Christmas Day did not become a public holiday in Scotland until 1958.
 Christmas celebrations have also been prohibited by atheist states such as the Soviet Union and more recently majority Muslim states such as Somalia, Tajikistan and Brunei. Some Christians and organizations such as Pat Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice cite alleged attacks on Christmas (dubbing them a "war on Christmas"). Such groups claim that any specific mention of the term "Christmas" or its religious aspects is being increasingly censored, avoided, or discouraged by a number of advertisers, retailers, government (prominently schools), and other public and private organizations. One controversy is the occurrence of Christmas trees being renamed Holiday trees.
There has been a tendency to replace the greeting Merry Christmas with Happy Holidays, which is considered inclusive at the time of the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah,  Kwanzaa, and Humanlight. And Canada, where the use of the term "Holidays" is most prevalent, opponents have denounced its usage and avoidance of using the term "Christmas" as being politically correct.  In 1984, the U. Supreme Court ruled in Lynch v.Donnelly that a Christmas display (which included a Nativity scene) owned and displayed by the city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, did not violate the First Amendment.  American Muslim scholar Abdul Malik Mujahid has said that Muslims must treat Christmas with respect, even if they disagree with it. The government of the People's Republic of China officially espouses state atheism,  and has conducted antireligious campaigns to this end.  In December 2018, officials raided Christian churches just prior to Christmastide and coerced them to close; Christmas trees and Santa Clauses were also forcibly removed. Cast iron is a group of iron-carbon alloys with a carbon content greater than 2%.
 Its usefulness derives from its relatively low melting temperature. The alloy constituents affect its colour when fractured: white cast iron has carbide impurities which allow cracks to pass straight through, grey cast iron has graphite flakes which deflect a passing crack and initiate countless new cracks as the material breaks, and ductile cast iron has spherical graphite "nodules" which stop the crack from further progressing. Carbon (C) ranging from 1.8 to 4 wt%, and silicon (Si) 13 wt%, are the main alloying elements of cast iron.Iron alloys with lower carbon content are known as steel. Cast iron tends to be brittle, except for malleable cast irons. With its relatively low melting point, good fluidity, castability, excellent machinability, resistance to deformation and wear resistance, cast irons have become an engineering material with a wide range of applications and are used in pipes, machines and automotive industry parts, such as cylinder heads, cylinder blocks and gearbox cases. It is resistant to damage by oxidation. The earliest cast-iron artefacts date to the 5th century BC, and were discovered by archaeologists in what is now Jiangsu in China. Cast iron was used in ancient China for warfare, agriculture, and architecture.  During the 15th century, cast iron became utilized for cannon in Burgundy, France, and in England during the Reformation. The amounts of cast iron used for cannon required large scale production.
 The first cast-iron bridge was built during the 1770s by Abraham Darby III, and is known as The Iron Bridge in Shropshire, England. Cast iron was also used in the construction of buildings...
Cast iron is made from pig iron, which is the product of melting iron ore in a blast furnace. Cast iron can be made directly from the molten pig iron or by re-melting pig iron,  often along with substantial quantities of iron, steel, limestone, carbon (coke) and taking various steps to remove undesirable contaminants. Phosphorus and sulfur may be burnt out of the molten iron, but this also burns out the carbon, which must be replaced.
Depending on the application, carbon and silicon content are adjusted to the desired levels, which may be anywhere from 23.5% and 13%, respectively. If desired, other elements are then added to the melt before the final form is produced by casting.
Cast iron is sometimes melted in a special type of blast furnace known as a cupola, but in modern applications, it is more often melted in electric induction furnaces or electric arc furnaces.  After melting is complete, the molten cast iron is poured into a holding furnace or ladle.Cast iron's properties are changed by adding various alloying elements, or alloyants. Next to carbon, silicon is the most important alloyant because it forces carbon out of solution. A low percentage of silicon allows carbon to remain in solution forming iron carbide and the production of white cast iron. A high percentage of silicon forces carbon out of solution forming graphite and the production of grey cast iron. Other alloying agents, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, titanium and vanadium counteracts silicon, promotes the retention of carbon, and the formation of those carbides. Nickel and copper increase strength, and machinability, but do not change the amount of graphite formed. The carbon in the form of graphite results in a softer iron, reduces shrinkage, lowers strength, and decreases density. Sulfur, largely a contaminant when present, forms iron sulfide, which prevents the formation of graphite and increases hardness. The problem with sulfur is that it makes molten cast iron viscous, which causes defects. To counter the effects of sulfur, manganese is added because the two form into manganese sulfide instead of iron sulfide. The manganese sulfide is lighter than the melt, so it tends to float out of the melt and into the slag.
The amount of manganese required to neutralize sulfur is 1.7 × sulfur content + 0.3%. If more than this amount of manganese is added, then manganese carbide forms, which increases hardness and chilling, except in grey iron, where up to 1% of manganese increases strength and density. Nickel is one of the most common alloying elements because it refines the pearlite and graphite structure, improves toughness, and evens out hardness differences between section thicknesses. Chromium is added in small amounts to reduce free graphite, produce chill, and because it is a powerful carbide stabilizer; nickel is often added in conjunction.A small amount of tin can be added as a substitute for 0.5% chromium. Copper is added in the ladle or in the furnace, on the order of 0.52.5%, to decrease chill, refine graphite, and increase fluidity. Molybdenum is added on the order of 0.31% to increase chill and refine the graphite and pearlite structure; it is often added in conjunction with nickel, copper, and chromium to form high strength irons. Titanium is added as a degasser and deoxidizer, but it also increases fluidity. 0.150.5% vanadium is added to cast iron to stabilize cementite, increase hardness, and increase resistance to wear and heat. 0.10.3% zirconium helps to form graphite, deoxidize, and increase fluidity. In malleable iron melts, bismuth is added, on the scale of 0.0020.01%, to increase how much silicon can be added.
In white iron, boron is added to aid in the production of malleable iron; it also reduces the coarsening effect of bismuth. Pair of English firedogs, 1576. These, with firebacks, were common early uses of cast iron, as little strength in the metal was needed. Grey cast iron is characterised by its graphitic microstructure, which causes fractures of the material to have a grey appearance.
It is the most commonly used cast iron and the most widely used cast material based on weight. Most cast irons have a chemical composition of 2.54.0% carbon, 13% silicon, and the remainder iron. Grey cast iron has less tensile strength and shock resistance than steel, but its compressive strength is comparable to low- and medium-carbon steel. These mechanical properties are controlled by the size and shape of the graphite flakes present in the microstructure and can be characterised according to the guidelines given by the ASTM.
White cast iron displays white fractured surfaces due to the presence of an iron carbide precipitate called cementite. With a lower silicon content (graphitizing agent) and faster cooling rate, the carbon in white cast iron precipitates out of the melt as the metastable phase cementite, Fe3C, rather than graphite. The cementite which precipitates from the melt forms as relatively large particles. As the iron carbide precipitates out, it withdraws carbon from the original melt, moving the mixture toward one that is closer to eutectic, and the remaining phase is the lower iron-carbon austenite (which on cooling might transform to martensite).
These eutectic carbides are much too large to provide the benefit of what is called precipitation hardening (as in some steels, where much smaller cementite precipitates might inhibit [plastic deformation] by impeding the movement of dislocations through the pure iron ferrite matrix). Rather, they increase the bulk hardness of the cast iron simply by virtue of their own very high hardness and their substantial volume fraction, such that the bulk hardness can be approximated by a rule of mixtures. In any case, they offer hardness at the expense of toughness. Since carbide makes up a large fraction of the material, white cast iron could reasonably be classified as a cermet. White iron is too brittle for use in many structural components, but with good hardness and abrasion resistance and relatively low cost, it finds use in such applications as the wear surfaces (impeller and volute) of slurry pumps, shell liners and lifter barss in ball mills and autogenous grinding mills, balls and rings in coal pulverisers, and the teeth of a backhoe's digging bucket (although cast medium-carbon martensitic steel is more common for this application).It is difficult to cool thick castings fast enough to solidify the melt as white cast iron all the way through. However, rapid cooling can be used to solidify a shell of white cast iron, after which the remainder cools more slowly to form a core of grey cast iron. The resulting casting, called a chilled casting, has the benefits of a hard surface with a somewhat tougher interior. High-chromium white iron alloys allow massive castings (for example, a 10-tonne impeller) to be sand cast, as the chromium reduces cooling rate required to produce carbides through the greater thicknesses of material. Chromium also produces carbides with impressive abrasion resistance.  These high-chromium alloys attribute their superior hardness to the presence of chromium carbides. The main form of these carbides are the eutectic or primary M7C3 carbides, where "M" represents iron or chromium and can vary depending on the alloy's composition. The eutectic carbides form as bundles of hollow hexagonal rods and grow perpendicular to the hexagonal basal plane. Malleable iron starts as a white iron casting that is then heat treated for a day or two at about 950 °C (1,740 °F) and then cooled over a day or two. As a result, the carbon in iron carbide transforms into graphite and ferrite plus carbon (austenite).
The slow process allows the surface tension to form the graphite into spheroidal particles rather than flakes. Due to their lower aspect ratio, the spheroids are relatively short and far from one another, and have a lower cross section vis-a-vis a propagating crack or phonon.
They also have blunt boundaries, as opposed to flakes, which alleviates the stress concentration problems found in grey cast iron. In general, the properties of malleable cast iron are more like those of mild steel. There is a limit to how large a part can be cast in malleable iron, as it is made from white cast iron.Main article: Ductile cast iron. Developed in 1948, nodular or ductile cast iron has its graphite in the form of very tiny nodules with the graphite in the form of concentric layers forming the nodules. As a result, the properties of ductile cast iron are that of a spongy steel without the stress concentration effects that flakes of graphite would produce. The carbon percentage present is 3-4% and percentage of silicon is 1.8-2.8%. Tiny amounts of 0.02 to 0.1% magnesium, and only 0.02 to 0.04% cerium added to these alloys slow the growth of graphite precipitates by bonding to the edges of the graphite planes. Along with careful control of other elements and timing, this allows the carbon to separate as spheroidal particles as the material solidifies. The properties are similar to malleable iron, but parts can be cast with larger sections...
Main article: History of ferrous metallurgy. Further information: Industrial Revolution § Iron process innovations.Cast-iron artifact dated from 5th century BC found in Jiangsu, China. Cast-iron drain, waste and vent piping. Cast-iron plate on grand piano. Cast iron and wrought iron can be produced unintentionally when smelting copper using iron ore as a flux.
The earliest cast-iron artifacts date to the 5th century BC, and were discovered by archaeologists in what is now modern Luhe County, Jiangsu in China. This is based on an analysis of the artifact's microstructures. Because cast iron is comparatively brittle, it is not suitable for purposes where a sharp edge or flexibility is required.It is strong under compression, but not under tension. Cast iron was invented in China in the 5th century BC and poured into molds to make ploughshares and pots as well as weapons and pagodas.  Although steel was more desirable, cast iron was cheaper and thus was more commonly used for implements in ancient China, while wrought iron or steel was used for weapons.  The Chinese developed a method of annealing cast iron by keeping hot castings in an oxidizing atmosphere for a week or longer in order to burn off some carbon near the surface in order to keep the surface layer from being too brittle. In the west, where it did not become available until the 15th century, its earliest uses included cannon and shot. Henry VIII initiated the casting of cannon in England. Soon, English iron workers using blast furnaces developed the technique of producing cast-iron cannons, which, while heavier than the prevailing bronze cannons, were much cheaper and enabled England to arm her navy better. The technology of cast iron was transferred from China. Al-Qazvini in the 13th century and other travellers subsequently noted an iron industry in the Alburz Mountains to the south of the Caspian Sea. This is close to the silk route, so that the use of technology derived from China is conceivable.  The ironmasters of the Weald continued producing cast irons until the 1760s, and armament was one of the main uses of irons after the Restoration. Cast-iron pots were made at many English blast furnaces at the time.
In 1707, Abraham Darby patented a method of making pots (and kettles) thinner and hence cheaper than his rivals could. This meant that his Coalbrookdale furnaces became dominant as suppliers of pots, an activity in which they were joined in the 1720s and 1730s by a small number of other coke-fired blast furnaces. Application of the steam engine to power blast bellows (indirectly by pumping water to a waterwheel) in Britain, beginning in 1743 and increasing in the 1750s, was a key factor in increasing the production of cast iron, which surged in the following decades. In addition to overcoming the limitation on water power, the steam-pumped-water powered blast gave higher furnace temperatures, which allowed the use of higher lime ratios, enabling the conversion from charcoal, supplies of wood for which were inadequate, to coke. See also: The Iron Bridge.
The use of cast iron for structural purposes began in the late 1770s, when Abraham Darby III built the Iron Bridge, although short beams had already been used, such as in the blast furnaces at Coalbrookdale. Other inventions followed, including one patented by Thomas Paine. Cast-iron bridges became commonplace as the Industrial Revolution gathered pace.
Thomas Telford adopted the material for his bridge upstream at Buildwas, and then for Longdon-on-Tern Aqueduct, a canal trough aqueduct at Longdon-on-Tern on the Shrewsbury Canal. It was followed by the Chirk Aqueduct and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, both of which remain in use following the recent restorations. The best way of using cast iron for bridge construction was by using arches, so that all the material is in compression.
Cast iron, again like masonry, is very strong in compression. Wrought iron, like most other kinds of iron and indeed like most metals in general, is strong in tension, and also tough resistant to fracturing.The relationship between wrought iron and cast iron, for structural purposes, may be thought of as analogous to the relationship between wood and stone. Cast-iron beam bridges were used widely by the early railways, such as the Water Street Bridge in 1830 at the Manchester terminus of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, but problems with its use became all too apparent when a new bridge carrying the Chester and Holyhead Railway across the River Dee in Chester collapsed killing five people in May 1847, less than a year after it was opened. The Dee bridge disaster was caused by excessive loading at the centre of the beam by a passing train, and many similar bridges had to be demolished and rebuilt, often in wrought iron.
The bridge had been badly designed, being trussed with wrought iron straps, which were wrongly thought to reinforce the structure. The centres of the beams were put into bending, with the lower edge in tension, where cast iron, like masonry, is very weak. Nevertheless, cast iron continued to be used in inappropriate structural ways, until the Tay Rail Bridge disaster of 1879 cast serious doubt on the use of the material. Crucial lugs for holding tie bars and struts in the Tay Bridge had been cast integral with the columns, and they failed in the early stages of the accident. In addition, the bolt holes were also cast and not drilled.
Thus, because of casting's draft angle, the tension from the tie bars was placed on the hole's edge rather than being spread over the length of the hole. The replacement bridge was built in wrought iron and steel. Further bridge collapses occurred, however, culminating in the Norwood Junction rail accident of 1891. Thousands of cast-iron rail underbridges were eventually replaced by steel equivalents by 1900 owing to the widespread concern about cast iron under bridges on the rail network in Britain.
A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer, such as a spruce, pine or fir, or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas, originating in Northern Europe.  The custom was developed in medieval Livonia (present-day Estonia and Latvia), and in early modern Germany where Protestant Germans brought decorated trees into their homes.  It acquired popularity beyond the Lutheran areas of Germany and the Baltic countries during the second half of the 19th century, at first among the upper classes.  The Catholic Church had long resisted this Protestant custom and the Christmas Tree stood for the first time in Vatican in 1982. The tree was traditionally decorated with "roses made of colored paper, apples, wafers, tinsel, [and] sweetmeats".
In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles, which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the advent of electrification. Today, there is a wide variety of traditional and modern ornaments, such as garlands, baubles, tinsel, and candy canes.
An angel or star might be placed at the top of the tree to represent the Angel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem, respectively, from the Nativity.  Edible items such as gingerbread, chocolate and other sweets are also popular and are tied to or hung from the tree's branches with ribbons. The Christmas tree is sometimes compared with the "Yule-tree", especially in discussions of its folkloric origins... Origin of the modern Christmas tree. Further information: Christmas tree § Religious issues, and Hanging of the greens.
Modern Christmas trees originated during the Renaissance in early modern Germany. Its 16th-century origins are sometimes associated with Protestant Christian reformer Martin Luther, who is said to have first added lighted candles to an evergreen tree. The earliest known firmly dated representation of a Christmas tree is on the keystone sculpture of a private home in Turckheim, Alsace (then part of Germany, today France), with the date 1576. From Northern Antiquities, an English translation of the Prose Edda from 1847.
Painted by Oluf Olufsen Bagge. Modern Christmas trees have been related to the "tree of paradise" of medieval mystery plays that were given on 24 December, the commemoration and name day of Adam and Eve in various countries.
In such plays, a tree decorated with apples (to represent the forbidden fruit) and wafers (to represent the Eucharist and redemption) was used as a setting for the play. Like the Christmas crib, the Paradise tree was later placed in homes. The apples were replaced by round objects such as shiny red balls. . At the end of the Middle Ages, an early predecessor appears referred in the Regiment of the Order of Cister in the 15th century, in Alcobaça, Portugal.The Regiment of the local high-Sacristans of the Cistercian Order refers to what may be considered the oldest references to the Christmas tree: Note on how to put the Christmas branch, scilicet: On the Christmas eve, you will look for a large Branch of green laurel, and you shall reap many red oranges, and place them on the branches that come of the laurel, specifically as you have seen, and in every orange you shall put a candle, and hang the Branch by a rope in the pole, which shall be by the candle of the altar-mor. Resistance to the custom was often because of its supposed Lutheran origins. Other sources have offered a connection between the symbolism of the first documented Christmas trees in Alsace around 1600 and the trees of pre-Christian traditions. For example, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews.
The Vikings and Saxons worshiped trees.  The story of Saint Boniface cutting down Donar's Oak illustrates the pagan practices in 8th century among the Germans.A later folk version of the story adds the detail that an evergreen tree grew in place of the felled oak, telling them about how its triangular shape reminds humanity of the Trinity and how it points to heaven. Chichilaki, a Georgian Christmas tree variety. Georgians have their own traditional Christmas tree called Chichilaki, made from dried up hazelnut or walnut branches that are shaped to form a small coniferous tree.  These pale-colored ornaments differ in height from 20 cm (7.9 in) to 3 meters (9.8 feet).
Chichilakis are most common in the Guria and Samegrelo regions of Georgia near the Black Sea, but they can also be found in some stores around the capital of Tbilisi.  Georgians believe that Chichilaki resembles the famous beard of St. Basil the Great, because Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates St. The hanging of a podaniczka is an old Polish folk custom dating back to Slavic pagan traditions.
In Poland, there is a folk tradition dating back to an old Slavic pagan custom of suspending a branch of fir, spruce or pine from the ceiling, called podaniczka, during the time of the Koliada winter festival.  The branches were decorated with apples, nuts, acorns and stars made of straw. In more recent times, the decorations also included colored paper cutouts (wycinanki), wafers, cookies and Christmas baubles.According to old pagan beliefs, the branch's powers were linked to good harvest and prosperity. The custom lasted among some of the rural peasants into the early 20th century, particularly in the regions of Lesser Poland and Upper Silesia.  Most often the branches were hung above the wigilia dinner table on Christmas Eve from the rafters. Beginning in the mid-19th century, the tradition over time was almost completely replaced by the German practice of decorating a Christmas tree.  The custom was partly revived in the 1970s and continues to the present. Estonia, Latvia and Germany. Girl with Christmas tree, painting 1892 by Franz Skarbina (18491910).
The first evidence of decorated trees associated with Christmas Day are trees in guildhalls decorated with sweets to be enjoyed by the apprentices and children. In Livonia (present-day Estonia and Latvia), in 1441, 1442, 1510 and 1514, the Brotherhood of Blackheads erected a tree for the holidays in their guild houses in Reval and Riga. On the last night of the celebrations leading up to the holidays, the tree was taken to the Town Hall Square, where the members of the brotherhood danced around it.A Bremen guild chronicle of 1570 reports that a small tree decorated with "apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers" was erected in the guild-house for the benefit of the guild members' children, who collected the dainties on Christmas Day.  In 1584, the pastor and chronicler Balthasar Russow in his Chronica der Provinz Lyfflandt (1584) wrote of an established tradition of setting up a decorated spruce at the market square, where the young men "went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame". After the Protestant Reformation, such trees are seen in the houses of upper-class Protestant families as a counterpart to the Catholic Christmas cribs. This transition from the guild hall to the bourgeois family homes in the Protestant parts of Germany ultimately gives rise to the modern tradition as it developed in the 18th and 19th centuries. 18th to early 20th centuries. A little Christmas tree on the table, painting by Ludwig Blume-Siebert in 1888. By the early 18th century, the custom had become common in towns of the upper Rhineland, but it had not yet spread to rural areas. Wax candles, expensive items at the time, are found in attestations from the late 18th century.
Along the lower Rhine, an area of Roman Catholic majority, the Christmas tree was largely regarded as a Protestant custom. As a result, it remained confined to the upper Rhineland for a relatively long period of time. The custom did eventually gain wider acceptance beginning around 1815 by way of Prussian officials who emigrated there following the Congress of Vienna. In the 19th century, the Christmas tree was taken to be an expression of German culture and of Gemütlichkeit, especially among emigrants overseas. A decisive factor in winning general popularity was the German army's decision to place Christmas trees in its barracks and military hospitals during the Franco-Prussian War.
Only at the start of the 20th century did Christmas trees appear inside churches, this time in a new brightly lit form. Adoption by European nobility. Christmas tree painting 1877 by H. In the early 19th century, the custom became popular among the nobility and spread to royal courts as far as Russia.Princess Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg introduced the Christmas tree to Vienna in 1816, and the custom spread across Austria in the following years. In France, the first Christmas tree was introduced in 1840 by the duchesse d'Orléans. In Denmark a Danish newspaper claims that the first attested Christmas tree was lit in 1808 by countess Wilhemine of Holsteinborg. It was the aging countess who told the story of the first Danish Christmas tree to the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen in 1865. He had published a fairy tale called The Fir-Tree in 1844, recounting the fate of a fir tree being used as a Christmas tree. An engraving published in the 1840s of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert created a craze for Christmas trees. The Christmas Tree 1911 by Albert Chevallier Tayler. Although the tradition of decorating churches and homes with evergreens at Christmas was long established,  the custom of decorating an entire small tree was unknown in Britain until some two centuries ago. At the time of the personal union with Hanover, George III's German-born wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, introduced a Christmas tree at a party she gave for children in 1800.  The custom did not at first spread much beyond the royal family.  Queen Victoria as a child was familiar with it and a tree was placed in her room every Christmas.
In her journal for Christmas Eve 1832, the delighted 13-year-old princess wrote:. We then went into the drawing room near the dining room... There were two large round tables on which were placed two trees hung with lights and sugar ornaments. All the presents being placed round the trees.. After Victoria's marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert, by 1841 the custom became even more widespread as wealthier middle-class families followed the fashion.In 1842 a newspaper advert for Christmas trees makes clear their smart cachet, German origins and association with children and gift-giving.  An illustrated book, The Christmas Tree, describing their use and origins in detail, was on sale in December 1844.  On 2 January 1846 Elizabeth Fielding (née Fox Strangways) wrote from Laycock Abbey to William Henry Fox-Talbot: Constance is extremely busy preparing the Bohemian Xmas Tree. It is made from Caroline's description of those she saw in Germany.  In 1847 Prince Albert wrote: "I must now seek in the children an echo of what Ernest [his brother] and I were in the old time, of what we felt and thought; and their delight in the Christmas trees is not less than ours used to be".  A boost to the trend was given in 1848 when The Illustrated London News,  in a report picked up by other papers,  described the trees in Windsor Castle in detail and showed the main tree, surrounded by the royal family, on its cover. In fewer than ten years their use in better-off homes was widespread. By 1856 a northern provincial newspaper contained an advert alluding casually to them,  as well as reporting the accidental death of a woman whose dress caught fire as she lit the tapers on a Christmas tree.
 They had not yet spread down the social scale though, as a report from Berlin in 1858 contrasts the situation there where "Every family has its own" with that of Britain, where Christmas trees were still the preserve of the wealthy or the "romantic". Their use at public entertainments, charity bazaars and in hospitals made them increasingly familiar however, and in 1906 a charity was set up specifically to ensure even poor children in London slums "who had never seen a Christmas tree" would enjoy one that year.  Anti-German sentiment after World War I briefly reduced their popularity but the effect was short-lived,  and by the mid-1920s the use of Christmas trees had spread to all classes.  In 1933 a restriction on the importation of foreign trees led to the "rapid growth of a new industry" as the growing of Christmas trees within Britain became commercially viable due to the size of demand.
 By 2013 the number of trees grown in Britain for the Christmas market was approximately eight million and their display in homes, shops and public spaces a normal part of the Christmas season. First published image of a Christmas tree, frontispiece to Hermann Bokum's 1836 The Stranger's Gift. A Christmas tree from 1951, in a home in New York state.The Queen's Christmas tree at Windsor Castle published in The Illustrated London News, 1848. The tradition was introduced to North America in the winter of 1781 by Hessian soldiers stationed in the Province of Québec (17631791) to garrison the colony against American attack. General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel and his wife, the Baroness von Riedesel, held a Christmas party for the officers at Sorel, Quebec, delighting their guests with a fir tree decorated with candles and fruits. The Christmas tree became very common in the United States in the early nineteenth century. The first image of a Christmas tree was published in 1836 as the frontispiece to The Stranger's Gift by Hermann Bokum. The first mention of the Christmas tree in American literature was in a story in the 1836 edition of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, titled "New Year's Day", by Catherine Maria Sedgwick, where she tells the story of a German maid decorating her mistress's tree.
Also, a woodcut of the British Royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, initially published in The Illustrated London News December 1848, was copied in the United States at Christmas 1850, in Godey's Lady's Book. Godey's copied it exactly, except for the removal of the Queen's tiara and Prince Albert's moustache, to remake the engraving into an American scene.
 The republished Godey's image became the first widely circulated picture of a decorated evergreen Christmas tree in America. Art historian Karal Ann Marling called Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, shorn of their royal trappings, "the first influential American Christmas tree".  Folk-culture historian Alfred Lewis Shoemaker states, "In all of America there was no more important medium in spreading the Christmas tree in the decade 185060 than Godey's Lady's Book". The image was reprinted in 1860, and by the 1870s, putting up a Christmas tree had become even more common in America.
Several cities in the United States with German connections lay claim to that country's first Christmas tree: Windsor Locks, Connecticut, claims that a Hessian soldier put up a Christmas tree in 1777 while imprisoned at the Noden-Reed House,  while the "First Christmas Tree in America" is also claimed by Easton, Pennsylvania, where German settlers purportedly erected a Christmas tree in 1816. In his diary, Matthew Zahm of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, recorded the use of a Christmas tree in 1821, leading Lancaster to also lay claim to the first Christmas tree in America.  Other accounts credit Charles Follen, a German immigrant to Boston, for being the first to introduce to America the custom of decorating a Christmas tree. August Imgard, a German immigrant living in Wooster, Ohio, is said to be the first to popularize the practice of decorating a tree with candy canes.  In 1847, Imgard cut a blue spruce tree from a woods outside town, had the Wooster village tinsmith construct a star, and placed the tree in his house, decorating it with paper ornaments, gilded nuts and Kuchen.  German immigrant Charles Minnigerode accepted a position as a professor of humanities at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1842, where he taught Latin and Greek. Entering into the social life of the Virginia Tidewater, Minnigerode introduced the German custom of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas at the home of law professor St. George Tucker, thereby becoming another of many influences that prompted Americans to adopt the practice at about that time.
Johnson was vice president of the Edison Electric Light Company, a predecessor of Con Edison, he created the first known electrically illuminated Christmas tree at his home in New York City in 1882. Johnson became the "Father of Electric Christmas Tree Lights". The lyrics sung in the United States to the German tune O Tannenbaum begin O Christmas tree... ", giving rise to the mistaken idea that the German word Tannenbaum (fir tree) means "Christmas tree, the German word for which is instead Weihnachtsbaum... In Russia, the Christmas tree was banned after the October Revolution but then reinstated as a New-year spruce (, Novogodnyaya yolka) in 1935.
It became a fully secular icon of the New Year holiday, for example, the crowning star was regarded not as a symbol of Bethlehem Star, but as the Red star. Decorations, such as figurines of airplanes, bicycles, space rockets, cosmonauts, and characters of Russian fairy tales, were produced.
This tradition persists after the fall of the USSR, with the New Year holiday outweighing the Christmas (7 January) for a wide majority of Russian people. The TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) was influential on the pop culture surrounding the Christmas tree. Aluminum Christmas trees were popular during the early 1960s in the US.They were satirized in the Charlie Brown show and came to be seen as symbolizing the commercialization of Christmas. The term Charlie Brown Christmas tree, describing any poor-looking or malformed little tree, also derives from the 1965 TV special, based on the appearance of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. Christmas Tree in the cozy room at the Wisconsin Governor's mansion. Christmas tea with Christmas Tree at an espresso shop in Eugene, Oregon.
A Soviet-era (1960s) New Year tree decoration depicting a cosmonaut. An early example of public Christmas tree for the children of unemployed parents in Prague, 1931.Since the early 20th century, it has become common in many cities, towns, and department stores to put up public Christmas trees outdoors, such as the Macy's Great Tree in Atlanta (since 1948), the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City, and the large Christmas tree at Victoria Square in Adelaide. The use of fire retardant allows many indoor public areas to place real trees and be compliant with code. Licensed applicants of fire retardant solution spray the tree, tag the tree, and provide a certificate for inspection. Real trees are popular with high end visual merchandising displays around the world. Leading global retailers such as Apple often place real trees in their window displays.
In 2009, Apple placed two Fraser fir trees in every one of its retail establishments. The United States' National Christmas Tree has been lit each year since 1923 on the South Lawn of the White House, becoming part of what evolved into a major holiday event at the White House. President Jimmy Carter lit only the crowning star atop the tree in 1979 in honor of the Americans being held hostage in Iran.  The same was true in 1980, except the tree was fully lit for 417 seconds, one second for each day the hostages had been in captivity. During most of the 1970s and 1980s, the largest decorated Christmas tree in the world was put up every year on the property of the National Enquirer in Lantana, Florida.
This tradition grew into one of the most spectacular and celebrated events in the history of southern Florida, but was discontinued on the death of the paper's founder in the late 1980s. In some cities, a charity event called the Festival of Trees is organized, in which multiple trees are decorated and displayed. The giving of Christmas trees has also often been associated with the end of hostilities.
 Norway also annually gifts a Christmas tree to Washington, D. As a symbol of friendship between Norway and the US and as an expression of gratitude from Norway for the help received from the US during World War II. Christmas tree in Milan, Italy, 2008. Christmas tree in Vatican City, 2007.Christmas tree in Salerno old town, Italy, 2008. Christmas tree on Minin and Pozharsky Square, 2018. Christmas tree on the Römerberg in Frankfurt (2008). In Lisbon (2005), at 75 metres (246 feet) the tallest Christmas tree in Europe. An Árbol navideño luminoso in Madrid (2011).
Christmas tree in South Coast Plaza, California. Christmas tree in Stockholm at the NK department store. Christmas trees in Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Hong Kong. Christmas tree in Lugano (2018). Christmas tree in Vilnius old town, Lithuania, 2017.A Chrismon tree in the nave of St. Alban's Anglican Cathedral in Oviedo, Florida. A "Chrismon tree" is a Christmas tree decorated with explicitly Christian symbols in white and gold.  First introduced by North American Lutherans in 1957,  the practice has rapidly spread to other Christian denominations,  including Anglicans,  Catholics,  Methodists,  and the Reformed. "Chrismon" (plural "Chrismons") was adopted for the type of Christmas decoration and explained as a portmanteau of "Christ-monogram" (a Christogram). Setting up and taking down. HideThis section has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages). This section needs additional citations for verification. This section may be confusing or unclear to readers.
A candle on a Christmas tree. Both setting up and taking down a Christmas tree are associated with specific dates. Traditionally, Christmas trees were not brought in and decorated until Christmas Eve (24 December) or, in the traditions celebrating Christmas Eve rather than the first day of Christmas, 23 December, and then removed the day after Twelfth Night (5 January); to have a tree up before or after these dates was even considered bad luck,  and that to avoid bad luck from affecting the house's residents, the tree must be left up until after the following Twelfth Night passes.In many areas, it has become customary to set up one's Christmas tree at the beginning of the Advent season.  Americans will put up a Christmas tree after Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday of November),  and Christmas decorations can show up even earlier in retail stores, often the day after Halloween (31 October). In Canada many stores wait until after Remembrance Day, as to show respect to fallen soldiers.  Some households do not put up the tree until the second week of December, and leave it up until 6 January (Epiphany).
In Germany, traditionally the tree is put up on 24 December and taken down on 7 January, though many start one or two weeks earlier, and in Roman Catholic homes the tree may be kept until 2 February (Candlemas). In Italy, Ireland and Argentina, along with many countries in Latin America, the Christmas tree is put up on 8 December (Immaculate Conception day) and left up until 6 January. In Australia, the Christmas tree is usually put up on 1 December, which occurs about two weeks before the school summer holidays (except for South Australia, where most people put up their tree in November following the completion of the Adelaide Christmas Pageant, a time frame that has started to filter into other states as the official time Christmas decorations and in store Santa Claus start to appear) and is left up until it is taken down.
 Some traditions suggest that Christmas trees may be kept up until no later than 2 February, the feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (Candlemas), when the Christmas season effectively closes.  Superstitions say that it is a bad sign if Christmas greenery is not removed by Candlemas Eve. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Find sources: "Christmas tree" news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (December 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message). Christmas ornaments at the Christmas market, Strasbourg. Christmas ornaments are decorations (usually made of glass, metal, wood, or ceramics) that are used to decorate a Christmas tree. The first decorated trees were adorned with apples, white candy canes and pastries in the shapes of stars, hearts and flowers. Glass baubles were first made in Lauscha, Germany, and also garlands of glass beads and tin figures that could be hung on trees. The popularity of these decorations grew into the production of glass figures made by highly skilled artisans with clay molds.
Tinsel and several types of garland or ribbon are commonly used to decorate a Christmas tree. Silvered saran-based tinsel was introduced later. Delicate mold-blown and painted colored glass Christmas ornaments were a specialty of the glass factories in the Thuringian Forest, especially in Lauscha in the late 19th century, and have since become a large industry, complete with famous-name designers. Baubles are another common decoration, consisting of small hollow glass or plastic spheres coated with a thin metallic layer to make them reflective, with a further coating of a thin pigmented polymer in order to provide coloration.Lighting with electric lights (Christmas lights or, in the United Kingdom, fairy lights) is commonly done. A tree-topper, sometimes an angel but more frequently a star, completes the decoration. In the late 1800s, home-made white Christmas trees were made by wrapping strips of cotton batting around leafless branches creating the appearance of a snow-laden tree. In the 1940s and 1950s, popularized by Hollywood films in the late 1930s, flocking was very popular on the West Coast of the United States.
There were home flocking kits that could be used with vacuum cleaners. In the 1980s some trees were sprayed with fluffy white flocking to simulate snow. A golden bauble decorating a Christmas tree.
A snowman-shaped decoration painted as a baseball. A toy bear Christmas decoration. Fabergé egg as a Christmas decoration. Undecorated Christmas trees for sale. Each year, 33 to 36 million Christmas trees are produced in America, and 50 to 60 million are produced in Europe.In 1998, there were about 15,000 growers in America (a third of them "choose and cut" farms). The price is expected to hold steady for the next year. Father and son with their dog collecting a tree in the forest, painting by Franz Krüger (17971857).
Trees on sale at a Christmas market in Vienna, painting by Carl Wenzel Zajicek (1908). A grower in Waterloo, Nova Scotia, prunes balsam fir trees in October. The tree must experience three frosts to stabilize the needles before cutting.
See also: Christmas tree cultivation. The most commonly used species are fir (Abies), which have the benefit of not shedding their needles when they dry out, as well as retaining good foliage color and scent; but species in other genera are also used. In northern Europe most commonly used are. Norway spruce Picea abies (the original tree, generally the cheapest).Stone pine Pinus pinea (as small table-top trees). In North America, Central America, South America and Australia most commonly used are. Norfolk Island pine Araucaria heterophylla. Several other species are used to a lesser extent. Less-traditional conifers are sometimes used, such as giant sequoia, Leyland cypress, Monterey cypress and eastern juniper.
Various types of spruce tree are also used for Christmas trees (including the blue spruce and, less commonly, the white spruce); but spruces begin to lose their needles rapidly upon being cut, and spruce needles are often sharp, making decorating uncomfortable. Virginia pine is still available on some tree farms in the southeastern United States; however, its winter color is faded. The long-needled eastern white pine is also used there, though it is an unpopular Christmas tree in most parts of the country, owing also to its faded winter coloration and limp branches, making decorating difficult with all but the lightest ornaments. Norfolk Island pine is sometimes used, particularly in Oceania, and in Australia, some species of the genera Casuarina and Allocasuarina are also occasionally used as Christmas trees. But, by far, the most common tree is the Pinus radiata Monterey pine.
Hemlock species are generally considered unsuitable as Christmas trees due to their poor needle retention and inability to support the weight of lights and ornaments. Others are produced in a container and sometimes as topiary for a porch or patio. However, when done improperly, the combination of root loss caused by digging, and the indoor environment of high temperature and low humidity is very detrimental to the tree's health; additionally, the warmth of an indoor climate will bring the tree out of its natural winter dormancy, leaving it little protection when put back outside into a cold outdoor climate.Often Christmas trees are a large attraction for living animals, including mice and spiders. Thus, the survival rate of these trees is low.  However, when done properly, replanting provides higher survival rates. European tradition prefers the open aspect of naturally grown, unsheared trees, while in North America (outside western areas where trees are often wild-harvested on public lands) there is a preference for close-sheared trees with denser foliage, but less space to hang decorations. In the past, Christmas trees were often harvested from wild forests, but now almost all are commercially grown on tree farms. Almost all Christmas trees in the United States are grown on Christmas tree farms where they are cut after about ten years of growth and new trees planted. According to the United States Department of Agriculture's agriculture census for 2007, 21,537 farms were producing conifers for the cut Christmas tree market in America, 5,717.09 square kilometres (1,412,724 acres) were planted in Christmas trees. A Christmas tree farm near New Germany, Nova Scotia, Canada. The life cycle of a Christmas tree from the seed to a 2-metre (7 ft) tree takes, depending on species and treatment in cultivation, between eight and twelve years. First, the seed is extracted from cones harvested from older trees. The remaining development of the tree greatly depends on the climate, soil quality, as well as the cultivation and how the trees are tended by the Christmas tree farmer. Main article: Artificial Christmas tree. A lighted artificial Christmas tree with ornaments.
The first artificial Christmas trees were developed in Germany during the 19th century, self-published source?  These "trees" were made using goose feathers that were dyed green,  as one response by Germans to continued deforestation.  Often, the tree branches were tipped with artificial red berries which acted as candle holders. Over the years, other styles of artificial Christmas trees have evolved and become popular.Based Addis Brush Company created the first artificial Christmas tree made from brush bristles.  Another type of artificial tree is the aluminum Christmas tree,  first manufactured in Chicago in 1958,  and later in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where the majority of the trees were produced.  Most modern artificial Christmas trees are made from plastic recycled from used packaging materials, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
 Approximately 10% of artificial Christmas trees are using virgin suspension PVC resin; despite being plastic most artificial trees are not recyclable or biodegradable. Other trends have developed in the early 2000s as well.
Optical fiber Christmas trees come in two major varieties; one resembles a traditional Christmas tree.  One Dallas-based company offers "holographic mylar" trees in many hues.
 Tree-shaped objects made from such materials as cardboard,  glass,  ceramic or other materials can be found in use as tabletop decorations. Upside-down artificial Christmas trees became popular for a short time and were originally introduced as a marketing gimmick; they allowed consumers to get closer to ornaments for sale in retail stores and opened up floor space for more products.  Artificial trees became increasingly popular during the late 20th century.  Users of artificial Christmas trees assert that they are more convenient, and, because they are reusable, much cheaper than their natural alternative.  They are also considered much safer as natural trees can be a significant fire hazard.
Between 2001 and 2007 artificial Christmas tree sales in the U. Jumped from 7.3 million to 17.4 million.  Currently it is estimated that around 58% of Christmas trees used in the United States are artificial while numbers in the United Kingdom are indicated to be around 66%.
A tree with fibre optic lights. Alban's Anglican Cathedral, Oviedo, Florida. An artificial Aluminum Christmas tree. Poinsettia flowers arranged into the conical shape of a "Christmas tree", topped with a "Star of Bethlehem", in San Diego (2005).The debate about the environmental impact of artificial trees is ongoing. Generally, natural tree growers contend that artificial trees are more environmentally harmful than their natural counterparts.  However, trade groups such as the American Christmas Tree Association, continue to refute that artificial trees are more harmful to the environment, and maintain that the PVC used in Christmas trees has excellent recyclable properties.
Christmas tree recycling point (point recyclage de sapins) in Paris, 22 January 2010. Live trees are typically grown as a crop and replanted in rotation after cutting, often providing suitable habitat for wildlife.  Alternately, live trees can be donated to livestock farmers who find that such trees uncontaminated by chemical additives are excellent fodder.  In some cases management of Christmas tree crops can result in poor habitat since it sometimes involves heavy input of pesticides.
 Concerns have been raisedby whom? About people cutting down old and rare conifers, such as the Keteleeria evelyniana and Abies fraseri, for Christmas trees. Discarded trees curbside in North Hollywood, Los Angeles.Real or cut trees are used only for a short time, but can be recycled and used as mulch, wildlife habitat, or used to prevent erosion.  Real trees are carbon-neutral, they emit no more carbon dioxide by being cut down and disposed of than they absorb while growing.  However, emissions can occur from farming activities and transportation. An independent life-cycle assessment study, conducted by a firm of experts in sustainable development, states that a natural tree will generate 3.1 kg (6.8 lb) of greenhouse gases every year based on purchasing 5 km (3.1 miles) from home whereas the artificial tree will produce 48.3 kg (106 lb) over its lifetime.  Some people use living Christmas or potted trees for several seasons, providing a longer life cycle for each tree.  Smaller and younger trees may be replanted after each season, with the following year running up to the next Christmas allowing the tree to carry out further growth. Most artificial trees are made of recycled PVC rigid sheets using tin stabilizer in the recent years. In the past, lead was often used as a stabilizer in PVC, but is now banned by Chinese laws.  The use of lead stabilizer in Chinese imported trees has been an issue of concern among politicians and scientists over recent years. A 2004 study found that while in general artificial trees pose little health risk from lead contamination, there do exist "worst-case scenarios" where major health risks to young children exist.  A 2008 United States Environmental Protection Agency report found that as the PVC in artificial Christmas trees aged it began to degrade.  The report determined that of the fifty million artificial trees in the United States approximately twenty million were nine or more years old, the point where dangerous lead contamination levels are reached.  A professional study on the life-cycle assessment of both real and artificial Christmas trees revealed that one must use an artificial Christmas tree at least twenty years to leave an environmental footprint as small as the natural Christmas tree. A 1931 edition of the Soviet magazine Bezbozhnik, distributed by the League of Militant Atheists, depicting an Orthodox Christian priest being forbidden to cut down a tree for Christmas. The earliest legend of the origin of the Christmas tree dates back to 723, involving Saint Boniface as he was evangelizing Germany.
According to a story not mentioned in his biographies (vitae), he stumbled upon a pagan gathering where a group of people dancing under a decorated oak tree were about to sacrifice a baby in the name of Thor. Boniface took an axe and called on the name of Jesus. In one swipe, he managed to take down the entire tree, to the crowd's astonishment. Behind the fallen tree was a baby fir.
Boniface said, let this tree be the symbol of the true God, its leaves are ever green and will not die. The tree's needles pointed to heaven. Tradition holds that trees were used in formerly pagan homes from that moment forth, but decorated in the name of Jesus.
The Christmas tree was first recorded to be used by German Lutherans in the 16th century, with records indicating that a Christmas tree was placed in the Cathedral of Strasbourg in 1539, under the leadership of the Protestant Reformer, Martin Bucer.  In the United States, these German Lutherans brought the decorated Christmas tree with them; the Moravians put lighted candles on those trees.
 When decorating the Christmas tree, many individuals place a star at the top of the tree symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem, a fact recorded by The School Journal in 1897.  Professor David Albert Jones of the University of Oxford writes that in the 19th century, it became popular for people to also use an angel to top the Christmas tree in order to symbolize the angels mentioned in the accounts of the Nativity of Jesus. Under the Marxist-Leninist doctrine of state atheism in the Soviet Union, after its foundation in 1917, Christmas celebrationsalong with other religious holidayswere prohibited as a result of the Soviet anti-religious campaign.  The League of Militant Atheists encouraged school pupils to campaign against Christmas traditions, among them being the Christmas tree, as well as other Christian holidays, including Easter; the League established an anti-religious holiday to be the 31st of each month as a replacement.
With the Christmas tree being prohibited in accordance with Soviet anti-religious legislation, people supplanted the former Christmas custom with New Year's trees.  In 1935 the tree was brought back as New Year tree and became a secular, not a religious holiday. Pope John Paul II introduced the Christmas tree custom to the Vatican in 1982. Although at first disapproved of by some as out of place at the centre of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican Christmas Tree has become an integral part of the Vatican Christmas celebrations,  and in 2005 Pope Benedict XVI spoke of it as part of the normal Christmas decorations in Catholic homes.  In 2004, Pope John Paul called the Christmas tree a symbol of Christ.
This very ancient custom, he said, exalts the value of life, as in winter what is evergreen becomes a sign of undying life, and it reminds Christians of the "tree of life" of Genesis 2:9, an image of Christ, the supreme gift of God to humanity.  In the previous year he said: Beside the crib, the Christmas tree, with its twinkling lights, reminds us that with the birth of Jesus the tree of life has blossomed anew in the desert of humanity.
The crib and the tree: precious symbols, which hand down in time the true meaning of Christmas.  The Catholic Church's official Book of Blessings has a service for the blessing of the Christmas tree in a home.
 The Episcopal Church in The Anglican Family Prayer Book, which has the imprimatur of The Rt. Roskam of the Anglican Communion, has long had a ritual titled Blessing of a Christmas Tree, as well as Blessing of a Crèche, for use in the church and the home. Chrismon trees are a variety developed in 1957 by a Lutheran laywoman in Virginia, as a specifically religious version appropriate for a church's Christmas celebrations, although most Christian churches continue to display the traditional Christmas tree in their sanctuaries during Christmastide.
In 2005, the city of Boston renamed the spruce tree used to decorate the Boston Common a "Holiday Tree" rather than a "Christmas Tree".  The name change was reversed after the city was threatened with several lawsuits.The item "VINTAGE CAST IRON CHRISTMAS TREE STAND ornate holiday crimson red heavy" is in sale since Monday, June 15, 2020. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Holiday & Seasonal\Christmas\ Modern (1946-90)\Tree Stands & Skirts". The seller is "sidewaysstairsco" and is located in Santa Ana, California. This item can be shipped to United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Czech republic, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Estonia, Australia, Greece, Portugal, Slovenia, Japan, China, Sweden, South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, South africa, Thailand, Belgium, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Bahamas, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Switzerland, Norway, Croatia, Malaysia, Chile, Colombia, Costa rica, Dominican republic, Panama, Trinidad and tobago, Guatemala, El salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Antigua and barbuda, Aruba, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Saint kitts and nevis, Saint lucia, Turks and caicos islands, Barbados, Bermuda, Bolivia, French guiana, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Iceland, Jersey, Cambodia, Cayman islands, Liechtenstein, Sri lanka, Luxembourg, Monaco, Macao, Martinique, Maldives, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Paraguay, Reunion, Uruguay, Russian federation.