There are four great periods in the life of a man. The one where he believes in Santa Claus; the one where he no longer believes in Santa Claus; the one where he is Santa Claus; and finally the one where he looks more and more like Santa Claus.
Santa Claus, or simply Santa, is also called Father Christmas in Britain. He is an imaginary, cheerful, fat, old man with a long white beard and a red suit, who brings presents and toys for good children at Christmas. The name comes from Sante Klaas, a Dutch dialect form of St Nicholas, who lived in the 4th century AD and is the patron saint of children.
Families usually get together at Christmas and celebrate with special food. In Britain people eat mince pies, which are small, sweet pastries filled with mincemeat. Mincemeat is a mixture of dried fruits, nuts and spices, not to be confused with minced meat (US – ground meat) which is meat, especially beef, which has been finely chopped in a special machine called a mincer (US meat grinder).
Christmas cake, a fruit cake, and Christmas pudding, a hot, sweet, dark fruit cake, are also traditionally eaten in Britain. In the US they make Christmas cookies.
The first day after Christmas Day that is not a Sunday is called Boxing Day and is an official holiday in England, Wales and some other countries. The name comes from the old custom of placing boxes in churches for donations of money. The contents of the boxes were then distributed to the poor on the day after Christmas, which became known as Boxing Day.