Let's say that on December 20 you were to meet a friendly space alien. That is, let's say that his space ship discreetly drops him off in your back yard while you are looking out your window. You walk outside to meet the visitor, and you find out he's a pretty nice guy. His name is Gorg, he is wearing a costume that makes him look passably human, he speaks reasonable English, and he explains that his goal is to spend a week on the planet to learn about its people. He asks if you would consider being his guide for the week, and you decide to take on the job.

So you take Gorg around and start showing him your town. Since it is December 20, one thing is for sure -- Gorg is going to ask about Christmas. And he is going to ask a LOT of questions, because Christmas is a pretty complicated tradition. Think about all the different questions Gorg might ask:

If Gorg can assimilate all of that and make sense of it in a week, then obviously he is a member of a highly advanced species! You may find that you yourself don't know the answers to half of these questions. Where DID Rudolf come from? And why DO we deck the halls with boughs of holly?

Holly is a common Christmas symbol -- but why?

In this article, we will answer all of these questions so that you can understand how Christmas works and where all of these Christmas traditions come from!