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Christmas celebrations in the West today

From November onwards, it is impossible to forget that Christmas is coming. Coloured lights decorate many town centres and shops, along with shiny decorations, and artificial snow painted on shop windows.
 
In streets and shops, 'Christmas trees' (real or plastic evergreen 'conifer' trees) will also be decorated with lights and Christmas ornaments.
 
Shopping centres become busier as December approaches and often stay open till late.Shopping centre speaker systems systems will play Christmas 'carols' - the traditional Christmas Christian songs, and groups of people will often sing carols on the streets to raise money for charity. Most places of work will hold a short Christmas party about a week before Christmas. Although traditional Christmas foods may be eaten, drink (and plenty of it) means that little work will be done after the party!
 
By mid-December, most homes will also be decorated with Christmas trees, coloured lights and paper or plastic decorations around the rooms. These days, many more people also decorate garden trees or house walls with coloured electric lights, a habit which has long been popular in USA.
 
In many countries, most people post Christmas greeting cards to their friends and family, and these cards will be hung on the walls of their homes. In UK this year, the British Post Office expects to handle over 100 million cards EACH DAY, in the three weeks before Christmas.