Why Do We Celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25?
There are several reasons Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 25. The date is nine months after March 25, a day recognized by Christians as Annunciation. It was the day Mary was told she would was having a baby. The nine months that follow are an approximation of Jesus’ birth. Dec. 25 also coincides with pagan Winter Solstice celebrations like Saturnalia' and Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. Since they were historically celebrated around that time of year there was precedent for holiday festivities during this time of year.
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What Does the Name 'Christmas' Mean and What Is the Meaning of Christmas?
Christmas is a shortened from the words “Christ’s mass.” It’s derived from the Middle English word "Cristemasse" which has Greek, Hebrew and Latin origins. Christmas is an annual holiday that honors the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated by Christians around the world and is regarded as an important religious and cultural holiday.
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How Can We Celebrate Christmas?
Christmas is traditionally celebrated in many ways and celebrations vary across cultures. In the days leading up to Christmas, people usually put up special decorations including colorful lights and evergreen trees. Gifts are often placed under the tree and exchanged on Christmas day among loved ones. Large meals are also typically served as part of the celebration as well.
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If you have a craving for the cookies long after the last girl scout has sold out of her annual stack of boxes, cheer up. This combination of dark chocolate cookie and semisweet coating—our take on a Girl Scout Thin Mint—is a year-round affair. Delicious at room temperature, these crisp, luxuriously chocolaty cookies are arguably better straight from the freezer.
Special equipment: You’ll need a good kitchen scale and a special chocolate tempering thermometer.
What to buy: For this recipe, we preferred the pure minty flavor of peppermint oil rather than peppermint extract, which has a slightly chemical aftertaste. Peppermint oil can purchased at many nutrition stores or online. Professional pastry chefs use a type of chocolate known as couverture, which sets up nicely because it contains more cocoa butter than regular chocolate. The only trick is, you need to temper it. For this recipe, we used El Rey 58.5 percent dark chocolate Discos; they can be found at many specialty grocery stores or online. In our experience, it’s best to avoid tempering chocolate on a hot day or in an aggressively air-conditioned space. Chocolate behaves best at a room temperature between the mid-60s and low 70s Fahrenheit. Also, chocolate stays in temper for only a short time, so have everything ready to go and work quickly.
Make-ahead note: The cookies can be baked up to 24 hours in advance and stored in an airtight container until ready to coat.
For an illustrated guide to making these cookies, see How to Make Slim Mints. Try our Do-Si-Do Cookies recipe, our Fijis cookie recipe, and our Left Behinds cookie recipe too.