December 24th begins as a regular workday. But by 2:00 pm, often even earlier, businesses close in preparation for the holiday celebration, a large part of which occurs on Christmas Eve in Germany. The traditional evening meal includes carp and potato salad. Families sing Christmas carols together and may read the story of Christ's birth aloud. Family members exchange gifts. The tradition of opening gifts on Heiligabend was started by Martin Luther in the 16th century in favor of a celebration than honored Christ rather than a Catholic saint.