Already centuries ago our forefathers marked the winter solstice as the most important event of the year. It was the time of cleaning and decorating the house (with a spruce tree, so-called Christmas crowns and krõllid), straw on the floor, beer, baked pork, Christmas bread and black pudding. The word jõul (Christmas) has been borrowed into Estonian from Scandinavia about a thousand years ago. At Christmas the Christian world marks the birth of Christ. Traditional Christmas services are carried out in all the churches. The Pope ushering in Christmas at a midnight mass in St Peter's Basilica, with the Vatican Television Centre mediating it to the whole world, has acquired a global meaning.Christmas is reflected in the work of many great artists and composers. One of the best-known Christmas songs is Franz Xaver Gruber's Silent Night composed in 1818, which has been performed in about 300 languages and dialects. Over time the Christmas tree (15th century), the Advent crown (19th century), sending Christmas cards to friends and relatives (19th century), Santa Claus (20th century) and later also gingerbreads and poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) have become part of Christmas traditions at different times. The first postage stamp dedicated to Christmas was issued in Canada in 1898, and Estonia got its first Christmas stamp in 1992. In today's rapidly changing world Christmas has become a mixture of forefathers' customs, the Christian tradition and commerce.