Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, believed by Christians to be the son and representative of God on Earth. Most people celebrate on December 24th (Christmas eve) and 25th (Christmas Day) and children eagerly await the night-time arrival of Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, who brings them presents. The Christmas season traditionally runs until 6th January, when the 3 Kings or Wise Men were supposed to have come to the stable in Bethlehem, near Jerusalem, where, as the story goes, Jesus was born, bringing rich and rare presents. The date was chosen by early Christians to coincide with the Winter Solstice of pagan times, as many Northern cultures already celebrated the middle of winter by feasting and partying, celebrating the shortest days of the year and looking forward to the return of the longer, lighter days. The Christmas tree, and plants holly and mistletoe, which are brought into the house at this time, are part of pre- Christian mythology, and Father Christmas, who rides in a sleigh drawn by reindeer and enters houses down the chimney, is a combination of an old Dutch folk character, 'Sinta Claus', and the Christian Saint Nicholas. Christians go to church at Christmas and in Christian and other countries nowadays, Christmas is a time for reunion of family and friends, exchanging cards and presents, eating and drinking, singing Christmas carols and maybe watching 'traditional' Christmas films or cartoons on T.V. European missionaries introduced Christianity to Asia, but there are still relatively small numbers of Asian Christians (except in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country). Beginning in the early 20th century, increased interest in Western culture has led many Asians to celebrate the holiday however, particularly in Japan. Businesses and retail outlets welcome the commercial activity generated by Christmas gift giving, and traditional decorations transform stores during the holiday season. In Hong Kong, Western Christmas and New Year celebrations precede those of Chinese New Year, so the city is covered in decorations to celebrate both festivals.