The origins of the Christmas holiday, like Thanksgiving, I fear, seem to be neglected by many people. Certainly not all people, mind you, but many.
Let me refresh your memory. More than 2000 years ago, in a stable in the town of Bethlehem (that's in "The Middle East" for you kids), a baby named Jesus was born, and, since many people believed him to be Christ, the son of God, with him was born an entire religion, called Christianity. Christianity later separated into many different religions over the next few centuries, but the worship of Christ (Jesus) has always been at the center of each of these denominations of Christianity.
Christians established a religious holiday, which they named "Christmas" (Christ's birth), many centuries ago to celebrate the birth of the Christ child. Not "Xmas" - that, after all, literally takes the "Christ out of Christmas," and He, trite as it may sound, is indeed "the reason for the season."
Christmas is my favorite holiday because of that first Christmas, and the effect that the events in that stable have had on my life, as well as on the lives of millions of other Christians - one of the things that I give thanks for on Thanksgiving, and throughout the year.
My other Christmas season favorites include true "Christmas (i.e., Christ-centered) music" and family gatherings. Though the three wise men did reportedly bring precious gifts to the baby Jesus on that first Christmas, I personally don't believe that giving or receiving expensive presents (that you probably can't afford) is really what Christmas is all about. One good thing about this belief is that during economic hard times, Christmas remains the same for me, because neither "the reason for the season" nor the music have changed.
Speaking of music, one thing about Christmas that has always amused me is the issuing of "Christmas albums" by every celebrity under the sun. I mean, that's all well and good, but among those artists singing of the glorious birth of Christ are many performers who are not believers in Christ. I don't mean to sound exclusive about "our" holiday, but if you're gonna sing it, believe it.
In closing, let me say that one of my other favorite things about Christmas are the "classic" Christmas television shows and movies, which seem to be joined by a couple of dozen new programs each year. I only have two that I try to catch every year, though - "It's A Wonderful Life" and "Christmas Story."
So, with George and Mary Bailey and Ralphie and his family, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad, Fröhliche Weihnachten, Buon Natale, et al.