Anticipation. As a time of preparation, excitement and anticipation hang in the air. But we must also remember that Christmas falls a week before the new year. When we get a moment to spare during all the festive mayhem, we may stop and reflect on the year gone by, and consider our hopes for the coming year.
Decorations. With the days becoming shorter, and the nights more drawn out, these serve to brighten the atmosphere. We do, however, tend to go overboard, and are normally glad to take them down when Christmas is over.
Valued Traditions. We each celebrate Christmas in our own way, using our own varying set of traditions that mean the world to us. Some of these have been passed down through the family for several generations, and others will have been inspired and introduced by others. Without these, Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas!
Everywhere! It is literally impossible to escape from Christmas. Wherever you go, you will be confronted by decorations and merchandise (often on display from mid August), the Christmas carols blaring through the tannoy and on the radio... If you truly want to get away from the festivities, then your only hope is to barricade yourself in your home for the next month, having thoroughly eradicated the tinsel and mince pies beforehand.
Nativity. Despite the commercialisation of Christmas, Christianity still lies at the core, even if it has been obscured by wreaths, and cards pronouncing "Happy Holidays". Many schools enact the Christmas story, and there's something deeply endearing about the miniature angels and tea-towel bedecked shepherds.
Togetherness. There is a strange sense of unity towards the end of the year, when people pause for a moment and take stock. The festivities serve to lighten our spirits and encourage goodwill towards one another, and I think for the most part they succeed.