What Do People Do？
In the US, families love to set out treats for Santa on Christmas Eve.
Many people around the world celebrate Christmas Eve in different ways。 It is observed in many countries such as Australia， Canada， the United Kingdom and the United States。 Workers in some countries get a day off or half-day off to prepare for Christmas Day， including last-minute shopping for presents， decorations or food。 In some countries Christmas Eve is celebrated with large family meals featuring traditional Christmas dishes。 In some cultures， presents are exchanged and opened on the night of Christmas Eve。 Many homes have their Christmas trees lit up， mistletoes hung， and other Christmas decorations， such as holly and ivy， at this time of the year。
Most churches also hold candlelight services or midnight mass, which often include reenactments of the Nativity.
Some people organize groups of singers who go Christmas caroling from door to door， or sing Christmas carols in public venues。 It is also a time for children in many countries around the world to hang their Christmas stockings （or pillow cases）， hoping for a present to arrive from Santa Claus on Christmas Day， which is December 25 in the Gregorian calendar。 Children in France set out their shoes near a fireplace on Christmas Eve because they believe that Father Christmas （Santa Claus）， also known as le Père No？l （in French）， will arrive before dawn and fill them with toys， nuts and sweets。
一些人还会组织一群歌手挨家挨户、或者在公共场所唱圣诞颂歌。这个时候全世界许多国家的孩子们还会挂起自己的圣诞袜子（或者枕头套子），希望在圣诞节（公历12月25日）那天收到一份来自圣诞老人的礼物。法国的孩子们在平安夜那天把他们的鞋子放在壁炉旁边，因为他们相信圣诞老人（法语为 le Père No？l）会在天亮前到来，在他们的鞋子里装满玩具、坚果和糖果。
In Canada, families often open presents on Christmas Eve after mass. Others only open one and save the rest for Christmas Day.
Many churches hold special services during Christmas Eve， including midnight services。 These services include special choirs and sermons to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ。 Many churches also display a crèche or miniature Nativity scene。 Christmas celebrations in different countries combine the country’s cultural traditions， beliefs and superstitions with more contemporary customs， such as Santa Claus and Christmas trees。
Many French Canadians have a huge feast after Christmas Eve mass, called a Réveillon, which lasts into the wee hours of Christmas morning.
Christmas Eve is a public holiday in countries such as the Czech Republic and Estonia。 Some banks and businesses are closed in some countries， including Austria and Germany， on Christmas Eve。 Many people in countries such as Brazil have the afternoon off work on Christmas Eve。
The fast typically lasts until after evening service or when the stars come out. After the fast, some might eat a traditional Russian dish called kutya. Kutya consists of grains, honey, and poppy seeds, shared from the same bowl to symbolize unity. No meat is allowed.
Some stores are often open late to accommodate for last-minute Christmas shopping in some cities around the world。 Schools and educational institutions are usually closed on Christmas Eve as it falls as part of either the winter （northern hemisphere） or summer （southern hemisphere） vacation period。 Airports， bus stations and train stations may be busy as many people travel to visit their families around this time of the year。
Christmas apples wrapped in cellophane are a popular holiday gift in China, which is said to be because the word "apple" sounds similar to "Christmas Eve" in Mandarin.
Christmas Eve， also known as the Vigil of Christmas， is perceived as the culmination of the Advent season。 Christmas Eve is the day before Christmas Day and is associated with celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth， although his actual birth date has been disputed among many scholars。 However， many Christmas traditions that are around today have their roots in pre-Christian winter festivals。 These include the importance of candles and decorations made from evergreen bushes and trees， symbolizing everlasting light and life。
A huge seafood and pasta dinner is tradition for Italians on Christmas Eve. The tradition of serving seven different seafood dishes stems from the Roman Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Christmas Eve.
平安夜也被称之为“圣诞守夜（ Vigil of Christmas）”，被视为是基督降临节的高潮。平安夜是圣诞节前一天，和庆祝耶稣基督的诞辰有关--尽管他确切的生日日期在许多学者间一直存在争议。然而，今天的许多圣诞节传统都起源于耶稣之前的冬节。其中用常青树和树木制成的蜡烛和装饰物非常重要，象征着永恒的光和生命。
In Roman times， a mid-winter festival was held。 This was a relaxing time with a lot of parties and merry making。 It was also common to give other people small gifts， such as dolls for children and candles for adults。 This festival culminated with the celebration of the winter solstice， which fell on December 25 in the Roman calendar。
In Denmark, people celebrate Christmas Day on December 24. The Danish also countdown to Christmas using Advent wreaths. Wreaths feature four candles, one candle lit every one of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Eve.
Since pagan times， it was customary to decorate with greenery on festivals， especially with holly， ivy， and mistletoe。 After some debate， the church authorities permitted it to be done on Christian festivals， at least from the early seventh century in England。 Holly and ivy were associated with good and evil， or male and female， and so were often combined。 Mistletoe has pagan associations。 For example， the druids of Gaul regarded mistletoe growing on oak trees as sent from heaven。
Whereas many picture Christmas as a cozy, snowy holiday, Australians experience Christmas in the middle of summer. Australians often have cold Christmas dinners, and on Christmas Eve, fish markets are packed with people hoping to stock up on seafood before the holiday. Apparently pavlova is also a must as a Christmas dessert.
Images of Santa Claus， also known as Father Christmas， snowmen， reindeer， and candy canes are seen in cards， posters， signs and other printed or marketing material associated with the Christmas celebrations。 Images of baby Jesus， the Christmas star， and other symbols associated with the religious meaning of Christmas are also seen during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day。
Beginning on December 16, children in Mexico go door-to-door asking if there's a symbolic "room at the inn," and on Christmas Eve, they are invited in to celebrate. The tradition is called posadas, and it concludes in Christmas parties full of food, drinks, and pi?atas.
In Norway, families light a candle every night starting on Christmas Eve and ending on New Year's Day. Norwegians also often exchange presents on Christmas Eve.
The gifts are brought by Santa Claus or by small gnomes called Nisse, folkloric characters historically responsible for the prosperity of the farm and family who began being thought of as the bearers of Christmas gifts in the mid 19th century.
Iceland has the tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve then spending the evening reading them. The holiday season starts off with the delivery of the Bokatidindi, which is a catalogue of every single book published in Iceland. The tradition began in during WWII. Paper was one of the few commodities not rationed, and Icelanders could indulge in their love of books (and in giving books as gifts) as they weren't in short supply.