It’s Christmas Eve and there’s an unexpected knock at the door. If you’re in the United States, it may be a gaggle of carolers who have come to serenade you. If you’re in Argentina, it might be neighbors arriving to exchange gifts and light fireworks. If you’re in Newfoundland, it could be friends disguised in costumes who perform comedy sketches until you can guess who they are.
Christmas, an annual holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, is celebrated in unique ways in different countries, even those with few Christians. Secular celebrations of Christmas are commonplace around the world: India is less than three percent Christian, but Christmas is a national holiday. Only one percent of Japan’s population is Christian, but Santa impersonators and holiday music still fill department stores. In the U.S., each person will spend more than $1,000 on the holiday, according to the National Retail Federation. (See the electric and eclectic ways Americans decorate for Christmas.)
Shaped by cultural norms, Christmas cele