It is interesting to note that most of the things that we think of as indispensable Christmas traditions are actually modern additions to the festivity. Up until the early 1800‘s, it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in many of our states who believed the traditions to be too pagan or (even worse) too Catholic. Christmas trees immigrated with German settlers in the 19th Century, the Christmas Card originated in London in the same era. Most of our beloved Christmas Carols were written in the last 200 years. Santa Claus, himself, developed from Danish and English Father Christmas, also in the 19th Century.
The history of the celebration of Christmas in the United States is unusual. The earliest Christmas celebrations in the American southern colonies centered around hunts and socials or balls. They were adult affairs and children were not invited. What a far cry from our modern Santa Claus driven Christmas economic machine!
There is no doubt that traditions change with a change in culture. What we consider a "traditional Christmas" tomorrow might not bear much resemblance to our celebrations today. But what will always be essential to Christmas will remain the same; God‘s generosity to us, his children. In the cold and fearful darkness that we experience around us in the world, God‘s presence breaks through with the message of the angels. "Fear not!" The Light of Jesus Christ is born among us, a light that brings peace, consolation and joy.