Greengates Builders Merchants

It's Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

What do people do?

Christmas Eve is the last day for many people to shop and prepare for the Christmas celebrations and festive meals. Stores, particularly those selling food and gifts, are usually busy. Some families put up their Christmas tree and other seasonal decorations, although others may have done this as early as late November.

People may attend a church service, often called midnight mass, on Christmas Eve, even if they do not regularly attend church services. Traditi­onally, midnight masses started at midnight, as Christmas Eve becomes Christmas Day, but now often begin earlier in the evening. In addition, the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is broadcast on radio throughout the United Kingdom and across the world from Kings College Cambridge. This service consists of the same nine bible passages each year, with a selection of modern and ancient hymns.

Christingle services for children are usually associated with the four Sundays of Advent, but may also be held on Christmas Eve. During the service, each child is presented with a decorated orange, which represents the world. A piece of red ribbon is tied around the orange's circum­fer­ence to represent the blood of Jesus and sweets or dried fruits are placed on four toothpicks poked into the orange. These represent the four seasons and the fruits of the earth. A candle is inserted into the top of the orange to represent Jesus Christ.

Many families with children end Christmas Eve by hanging Christmas stocking up. These were traditi­onally socks, but are now often oversize sock-shaped sacks. Children hope that a mythical figure, called Father Christmas or Santa Claus, will visit the house during the night. He enters homes by climbing down the chimney and, if he thinks that the children have been well-behaved all year, fills the stockings with presents, gifts and sweets.

Merry Christmas to everyone from Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire.

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