Religious aspects aside, for many people Christmas has been that unique time of the year when the demands of work finally disappear, if only for a brief period. We get a well-deserved break, time to indulge in fatty food, drink more than we should, and quarrel with people we love and hate (often both at once). In short, we get to enjoy that wonderful thing that was once called leisure.
Christmas starts early these days, and goes on for a long time. This is no wonder as it is the most important commercial event of the year. For many retailers, Christmas brings in over 40% of profits. There is also a thriving Christmas economy involving everything from Santas who work short term contracts to package trips to Lapland.