The holiday season is upon us. It begins with Thanksgiving, and it ends with New Years Day. It's a time to reflect on the past year and make plans for the upcoming year. Family and friends frequently get together for parties or attend holiday events and church services together. Americans have to do a lot of traveling during the holiday season because it's a time to be near the ones they love.
On the fourth Thursday of every November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. People gather together with friends and relatives for a day to give thanks for our good fortune here in the United States. There is a lot to be thankful for! On Thanksgiving Day, we sit down for a big feast that includes turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and other traditional and nontraditional American food. The highways are busy and the airports are crowded as travelers go to and from their destinations.
The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday.* Retailers make most of their money during this important shopping season. That's why it's called Black Friday. The stores are crowded with shoppers. They make purchases in stores and online in anticipation of Christmas when gifts are exchanged. The prices are usually a little lower at this time of year--but not always. Careful shoppers can wait for bargains to appear as it gets closer to Christmas.
As Christmas approaches, the month of December is busy with parties, concerts, and special events. Christmas music fills the air. Lighted displays help brighten long nights heading into winter. Many Americans feel good that Christmas is coming. They get into the holiday mood with brightly-colored decorations and by putting up Christmas trees inside their homes. Others, however, will be happy when Christmas is over. They feel there is too much attention on just this one day.
On Christmas Eve, people get together with loved ones. Everyone wishes each other a "Merry Christmas." They have parties, or they attend evening church services. Some people sing Christmas carols or watch Christmas celebrations on TV. Children wait for Santa Claus to arrive on Christmas Eve. Santa travels all over the world, bringing toys and other gifts to children who were good during the year.
When Christmas Day arrives, gifts are found under the Christmas tree. Children believe that Santa Claus left most of the presents. Stockings are filled with small gifts and candy. A Christmas Day feast may include beef, turkey, ham, or seafood. Some people visit family or attend a church service on this special day to commemorate the birth of Jesus.
On New Years Eve, everyone counts down the hours and the minutes as the year comes to a close. There are parties with lots of food and alcoholic beverages. Champaign is very popular on New Year's Eve. The bars and restaurants are usually packed. Most people want to stay out late on this night and be with friends.
New Year's Day is a holiday. It's the end of the holiday season and the first day of the new year. Most stores are closed on this day, so many Americans just stay home and relax. Some people have special New Year's Day meals; others just watch football games on TV. People make plans to change their lives in the new year. They make resolutions to lose weight or end a bad habit such as drinking or smoking. The beginning of a new year presents new opportunities to live a better life and be a better person. Happy New Year!
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