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Christmas Celebrated as Religious and Secular Holiday


People around the world are celebrating the Christmas holiday Sunday, in both religious and secular settings.

Christians celebrate the holiday as the birth date of Jesus Christ. They attend church, light ceremonial candles, and sing hymns to commemorate God's coming to Earth in the form of a man.

Christmas is also celebrated as a secular, gift-giving holiday, making December one of the most lucrative times of the year for many Western retail stores.

President Bush Saturday made phone calls to several members of the U.S. military to wish them happy holidays.

On Christmas Eve, children anticipate the coming of Santa Claus, a mythical figure who flies around the world overnight to deliver presents to good children. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, which guards against security threats in U.S. and Canadian airspace, provides updates on what it says is Santa's progress across the globe.