“On December 25th, we celebrate Christmas in Hungary. On Christmas Eve, December 24th, the adults bring the Christmas tree in, set it up, and decorate it. The children are not allowed to enter the room. The tree is usually set up in the night while the children are sleeping. The children are only allowed to enter the room when they hear the bells the next morning. They are supposed to believe that the tree was brought by angels. There are presents under the tree but instead of in America where you write “To: ___” and “From: ___” on each present, in Hungary we just write the name of the person the present is for. This is because Baby Jesus brings all of the presents for everyone.”
My informant grew up in Hungary and lived there for all of her life until she was 17years old. Each Christmas when she was younger, her parents would set up the tree after fell asleep on Christmas Eve and when she woke in the morning, there would be a tree and presents under the tree from the Baby Jesus. This may be an extension of a representation of the Immaculate Conception. In Roman Catholicism, the most prominent religion in Hungary, Baby Jesus was believed to be conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit and was birthed while Mary remained a virgin. In this same way, Baby Jesus comes with angels on Christmas Eve in secret, in a way that nobody knows or sees, to set up the Christmas tree and leaves presents. In this way, Christmas remains a predominantly religious holiday in Hungary, rather than becoming a more commercialized holiday, as it has become in other parts of the world.