47 Christmas Traditions and Customs


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Christmas is a time of custom and customs which can be rooted in each faith and tradition. Rooted in historic practices of celebrating the mid-winter within the northern hemisphere, Christmas is a celebration for every kind of individuals in addition to for these practising the Christian religion all over the world.

One of many fascinating issues about Christmas is the huge array of traditions and practices that so many individuals take pleasure in through the season. Nearly all of us can have some type of familiarity with Christmas traditions from opening introduction calendars in December to leaving out cookies for Santa Claus, or singing hymns and carols. 

We've collated a lengthy listing of Christmas Traditions and Christmas Customs. Every custom listed has a brief rationalization and can also be linked to an extended article that particulars extra about that specific customized. 

christmas ornaments on a christmas tree

47 Christmas Traditions and Customs

12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas – The 12 Days of Christmas is a enjoyable vacation custom that spans from December twenty fifth to January fifth, celebrating the festive season with an prolonged interval of merrymaking and gift-giving. Rooted in Christian beliefs, this tradition symbolises the time between the start of Jesus Christ and the arrival of the Magi, or the three smart males, who introduced him items.


Advent – Introduction is a four-week interval main as much as Christmas, noticed by many Christian denominations as a time of non secular anticipation and preparation for Christ’s start. Marked by traditions such because the Introduction calendar and wreath, its focus is on hope, anticipation, and reflection. Regardless of assorted practices amongst completely different denominations, Introduction universally alerts the beginning of the festive season, having a big impression on tradition and society.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day – Boxing Day, celebrated on December twenty sixth, originated in Britain through the Center Ages as a day to distribute collected alms to the poor. Over time, it advanced right into a day for giving items to servants and tradespeople. At this time, the vacation is marked by numerous traditions corresponding to gift-giving, procuring gross sales, sporting occasions, charity work, and out of doors actions, fostering a way of neighborhood and generosity throughout international locations with ties to the Commonwealth.

Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells – The custom of Christmas bells dates again centuries and carries important non secular and cultural that means. Their joyful ringing symbolises the celebration of Jesus Christ’s start, spreads happiness, and is intently related to Santa Claus and his sleigh. Bells take numerous kinds through the vacation season, together with church bells, sleigh bells, hand bells, and ornamental ornaments, all contributing to the magical ambiance of Christmas.

Hohoho card holder and christmas wreath and lights in the background

Christmas Candles

Christmas Candles – Christmas candles, with roots in historic pagan practices, have advanced into a big image of sunshine, heat, and hope in numerous cultures worldwide. Customs such because the German Introduction wreath, the Irish candle within the window, French La Fête des Lumières, and Jewish Hanukkah are only a few examples of how candles are used to rejoice the festive season. These customs exhibit the various and enduring traditions that join individuals throughout generations and cultures, all whereas celebrating the central themes of sunshine and unity throughout Christmas.

Sweet Canes

Candy Canes –  The sweet cane, a standard Christmas image with a historical past courting again to seventeenth century Europe, is a flavoured sweet with distinctive crimson and white stripes. Typically linked to folklore, the sweet cane’s ‘J’ form is claimed to symbolize a shepherd’s criminal or the title of Jesus, whereas the white and crimson stripes symbolise purity and Christ’s sacrifice respectively. Its recognition in America grew within the Nineteenth century resulting from German immigrants, and by the mid-Twentieth century, it was a standard sight through the vacation season. At this time, sweet canes are hung as ornaments, utilized in vacation crafts and recipes, and have in festive occasions like “sweet cane hunts,” making them an integral a part of Christmas celebrations.


Chrismons – Chrismons are Christian symbols used as Christmas decorations, originating from the Lutheran Church within the Fifties. They're often white and gold, symbolising Jesus’ purity and majesty. The symbols, such because the cross, fish, Alpha and Omega, amongst others, every have particular Christian significances. These decorations are used to focus on the Christian nature of Christmas, typically accompanying the telling of the tales behind every image.

Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake – The custom of the Christmas cake originates from medieval England, evolving from a porridge-like dish to the wealthy, fruity cake we all know at present, with important influences from the Victorian period. A key a part of the custom is “Stir-up Sunday,” the final Sunday earlier than Introduction, when households would collect to combine the cake. The cake typically contains symbolic parts, corresponding to 13 components for Jesus and his apostles, and a coin for good luck. Variations of the Christmas cake exist all over the world, corresponding to Japan’s sponge cake, Italy’s Panettone, France’s Bûche de Noël, and Germany’s Stollen.

Christmas Cantata

Christmas cantata – A Christmas cantata is a music composition combining voice, devices, and sometimes a choir to relate the story of Christ’s start, originating within the early seventeenth century. Cantatas characteristic thematic materials revolving across the nativity and may vary from conventional classical to modern music types. At this time, these cantatas are carried out through the Christmas season, serving as a unifying and reflective device to ponder the non secular significance of Christmas.

Christmas Carols

Christmas carols – Christmas carols originated from the custom of “carols,” circle dances accompanied by songs throughout Roman instances. These songs later turned related to Christmas via Latin hymns in early Christian Church companies. The custom advanced within the Center Ages when carols have been used for storytelling, and Francis of Assisi additional popularised them via Nativity performs. The Victorian period noticed a revival of carols, lots of that are nonetheless sung at present. Christmas carols differ throughout cultures and are central to the custom of caroling. The custom continues to evolve within the trendy period, with new songs turning into vacation staples.

Christmas Playing cards

Christmas cards – The custom of sending Christmas playing cards dates again to the Nineteenth century, initiated by Sir Henry Cole within the UK. The custom gained recognition with developments in printing expertise and lowered postal charges. Over time, Christmas playing cards advanced from generic winter scenes to extra express vacation themes. At this time, they arrive in numerous designs and codecs, together with handmade, store-bought, and digital variations. Regardless of adjustments and trendy diversifications, the essence of the custom – expressing love, gratitude, and vacation cheer – stays the identical.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve – Christmas Eve, celebrated worldwide on December twenty fourth, marks the fruits of the Introduction season and the eve of Christmas Day. Its origins hint again to the early Christian Church and the 4th-century resolution to recognise December 25 because the start of Christ. Today is important within the Christian religion, marking the anticipation of Jesus Christ’s start. Traditions and customs range globally, together with attending Midnight Mass, gift-giving, feasting just like the Italian-American ‘Feast of the Seven Fishes’, caroling, monitoring Santa’s journey, and hanging stockings. All these contribute to the magic and joyous anticipation of Christmas, making Christmas Eve a cherished time of reflection, togetherness, and celebration.

holding a candle in orange christingle
Holding a Christingle


Christingle – A Christingle is a symbolic custom in Christian celebrations, particularly throughout Christmas. It consists of an orange representing the world, with a candle on prime symbolising the sunshine of Christ. Different parts like sticks with fruits, a crimson ribbon, and typically a paper frill are added, representing the seasons, God’s love, and righteousness. Christingles are utilized in church services and household gatherings to indicate the arrival of Jesus as the sunshine of the world, bringing hope and salvation.

Christmas Crackers

Christmas Crackers – Christmas Crackers, invented in 1847 by London candy maker Tom Smith, are a cherished vacation custom, notably in the UK. Smith was impressed by the crackling sounds of his hearth and determined to create a product that will supply the same shock. Initially full of sweets, the contents of the crackers advanced over time to incorporate small toys, trinkets, jokes or riddles, and the enduring paper crown. At this time, these festive equipment aren't simply ornamental desk placements however symbols of unity and togetherness, including pleasure and laughter to Christmas celebrations all over the world.

Christmas Colors

Christmas colours – The colors of Christmas — crimson, inexperienced, gold, white, blue, and silver — every carry wealthy, symbolic meanings tied to centuries of custom and perception. From the sacrificial love symbolised by crimson, to the purity and peace denoted by white, every color enhances our understanding and appreciation of the vacation season. Remembering these meanings can deepen our connection to Christmas, reminding us of the enduring themes of affection, life, wealth, purity, and peace that really make the season particular.

Christmas Pickle

Christmas Pickle – The Christmas Pickle is a peculiar custom involving a pickle decoration hidden in a Christmas tree, with the finder receiving good luck or an additional present. Regardless of being broadly attributed to Germany, most Germans are unfamiliar with it, main some to take a position that it was a advertising and marketing technique by Nineteenth-century decoration sellers. No matter its origins, the custom has gained recognition, notably within the U.S, including a singular and playful aspect to vacation festivities.

Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding – Christmas pudding is a standard British dessert wealthy in historical past and cultural significance, typically made with 13 components symbolising Jesus and his twelve apostles, and served aflame. The pudding, made weeks or perhaps a yr prematurely, could embody small tokens or “charms” for visitors to seek out, and is steadily introduced with a sprig of holly. Its quite a few traditions and trendy diversifications proceed to make it a central image of Christmas celebration in Britain and different components of the world.

Christmas Market

Christmas markets – Christmas markets are a festive custom that originated within the Late Center Ages within the German-speaking areas of Europe. Initially winter markets for locals to replenish on provides, they've advanced into grand celebrations with distributors promoting Christmas-specific items, meals, and crafts, and that includes numerous types of leisure. At this time, these markets not solely enhance native economies worldwide, but in addition function a platform for communities to return collectively, and for artisans to showcase their crafts, embodying the spirit of the vacation season.

Christmas Stockings

Christmas stockings – The custom of Christmas stockings, believed to originate from the benevolence of Saint Nicholas, includes hanging stockings or related objects by the fireside on Christmas Eve to be full of small items. Over time, this observe has been tailored globally with distinctive cultural variations and the stockings, as soon as on a regular basis socks, have advanced into specialised, typically customized, decorations. Regardless of its evolution, the custom maintains its preliminary spirit of generosity and care, symbolising the enjoyment of gift-giving through the vacation season.

Christmas Angel on a tree
Christmas Angel

Christmas Tree

Christmas tree – The custom of the Christmas tree dates again to the sixteenth century in Germany, the place individuals would carry evergreen bushes into their properties and enhance them with candles, apples, and different ornaments. Over time, the observe unfold to different components of the world and have become a beloved image of Christmas, representing life, renewal, and the festive spirit of the vacation season.

Christmas Village

Christmas Village – The custom of the Christmas village ornament, or putz, originates from European tradition and includes creating miniature holiday-themed dioramas. These setups typically include a mixture of secular and spiritual parts, starting from buildings and figures to nativity scenes, all intricately organized on mantels, tables, or particular platforms. This cherished observe affords a singular, tangible approach to join with the festive spirit, historic roots, and spiritual elements of the Christmas season.


Eggnog – Eggnog is a standard Christmas drink with origins in medieval Europe that symbolises celebration, prosperity, and togetherness. Sometimes made with milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and spirits, it has trendy and worldwide variations to cater to a wide range of tastes and dietary wants. Guaranteeing its secure preparation and having fun with its wealthy, comforting flavours through the festive season proceed to make eggnog a cherished a part of Christmas traditions worldwide.

Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf  – The Elf on the Shelf is a cherished Christmas custom involving a scout elf despatched by Santa Claus to watch kids’s behaviour. Every day, the elf observes the household and flies again to the North Pole every evening to report back to Santa, then chooses a brand new spot in the home to sit down, creating a pleasant every day recreation of hide-and-seek. This custom fosters a way of pleasure and anticipation for Christmas, whereas selling good behaviour amongst kids.


Gift-giving – The custom of Christmas gift-giving blends historic pagan practices, Christian lore, and trendy commercialism, with origins within the biblical story of the Three Sensible Males and the Roman pageant of Saturnalia. Over time, the customized advanced from a primarily social obligation to an expression of affection and goodwill, turning into considerably commercialised within the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries. Regardless of various world practices and business elements, the essence of Christmas gift-giving stays a celebration of generosity and a manifestation of affection in the direction of family members.

Gingerbread Home

Gingerbread houses – Gingerbread homes is a practice originating from sixteenth century Germany which have grow to be an integral a part of Christmas celebrations worldwide. This edible craft, bringing collectively relations in a enjoyable, artistic exercise, symbolizes heat, residence, and togetherness through the vacation season. Embracing the magic of this custom can add a particular contact to your festive celebrations, embodying the sweetness and pleasure of Christmas.

Holly, Ivy, and Evergreen Crops

Holly, ivy, and evergreen plants – The custom of utilizing holly, ivy, and evergreen vegetation throughout Christmas dates again to historic pagan rituals, symbolising everlasting life and the resilience of nature via winter. These symbols have been later integrated into Christian celebrations, with holly representing the crown of thorns worn by Jesus and ivy signifying resurrection. At this time, these vegetation proceed to be a elementary a part of Christmas decorations globally, including color, life, and historic significance to the vacation season.

Jesse Bushes

Jesse Tree – The Jesse Tree, rooted in biblical prophecy and medieval artwork, represents the genealogical line from Jesse, King David’s father, to Jesus Christ, symbolising the continuity of the Bible’s narrative. In trendy Christmas celebrations, it serves as a devotional device throughout Introduction, with every decoration added every day representing a biblical story, aiding in understanding the anticipation of Introduction and the story of salvation. Making a Jesse Tree could be a rewarding household custom, providing an attractive approach to delve into biblical tales and the importance of the Christmas season.

Midnight Mass

Midnight Mass – Midnight Mass is a timeless custom celebrated globally on Christmas Eve, symbolising the start of Jesus Christ into the world. Its roots hint again to the early years of Christianity and it holds deep theological and symbolic significance. This weblog put up explores the origins, significance, rituals of Midnight Mass, and offers suggestions for first-time attendees, emphasising that this custom, no matter one’s religion, affords a profound sense of neighborhood, pleasure, and peace through the vacation season.

Mince Pies on a Plate
Mince Pies at Christmas

Mince pies

Mince pies – Mince pies, a treasured Christmas custom, hint their roots again to the Center Ages, evolving from giant, meat-filled pastries to at present’s candy, palm-sized pies wealthy with dried fruits and spices. Regardless of adjustments in dimension and components, and even dealing with prohibition within the seventeenth century, mince pies have remained a resilient image of festive cheer, loved all over the world. Consuming these pies through the vacation season is taken into account to carry good luck, making them not only a deal with, however a pleasant a part of Christmas historical past.


Mistletoe – The custom of mistletoe dates again to historic instances, the place it was believed to have mystical and therapeutic powers. In Norse mythology, mistletoe was related to love and friendship, resulting in the customized of kissing beneath the mistletoe through the vacation season. At this time, mistletoe stays a cherished custom throughout Christmas, symbolising love, goodwill, and the spirit of the season.


Mummering – Mummering is a singular folks custom originating from the British Isles and now generally related to Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. This observe happens through the vacation season, with members, often known as mummers, dressing in elaborate disguises and visiting neighbours’ properties to entertain via music, dance, or performs.

The Nativity

Nativity – The Nativity, an outline of the start of Jesus Christ, is a key custom of Christmas, courting again to the thirteenth century. It includes a wide range of figures together with Mary, Joseph, Child Jesus, shepherds, Sensible Males, and angels, every with their very own symbolic meanings. The custom has permeated numerous cultures globally, impressed numerous inventive interpretations, and continues to be a profound image of religion, historical past, and celebration through the vacation season.

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker – “The Nutcracker” ballet, initially composed by Tchaikovsky and primarily based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story, has grow to be a cherished Christmas custom across the globe, fascinating audiences with its enchanting music and narrative. Its annual performances introduce new generations to the world of ballet, and the enduring Nutcracker soldier collectible figurines have discovered their place as well-liked Christmas decorations. This wealthy custom encapsulates the enjoyment, magic, and spirit of the vacation season.


Pantomime – The custom of Christmas pantomime, a singular type of theatrical leisure originating from sixteenth century Italy, has grow to be a cherished a part of the vacation season within the UK and past. Recognized for its distinctive options corresponding to gender-swapping roles, viewers participation, and slapstick comedy, pantomime brings households collectively, instills a love for performing arts, and offers a snapshot of society on the time of every efficiency. Regardless of altering instances and even world crises, the enduring enchantment of pantomime continues so as to add pleasure, laughter, and festive spirit to Christmas celebrations.


Poinsettias – Poinsettias, native to Mexico, are a globally recognised image of Christmas, cherished for his or her vibrant crimson, pink, or white bracts. Their cultural significance traces again to a Mexican legend, whereas at present they’re commercially important, adorning festive shows worldwide, and are economically very important, particularly in the USA. The plant’s recognition extends past horticulture into literature and well-liked tradition, embodying the spirit of pleasure, heat, and celebration inherent within the vacation season.


Reindeer – Christmas reindeers, originating from the early Nineteenth-century poem “A Go to from St. Nicholas” and popularised additional by the creation of Rudolph in 1939, are integral to the festive traditions and customs surrounding the vacation season. From decorations and literature to songs and movies, these magical creatures symbolize Christmas pleasure and goodwill. Their real-life counterparts, dealing with important threats resulting from local weather change, additionally remind us of the significance of wildlife conservation.

Roast Turkey

Roast turkey – The custom of consuming turkey at Christmas originated within the Victorian period in Britain, influenced by the affordability of turkey and its portrayal in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” It later unfold to America, doubtless influenced by the Thanksgiving turkey custom, turning into a logo of abundance and prosperity. At this time, regardless of evolving Christmas dinner preferences, the turkey stays a big and conventional centrepiece for a lot of vacation meals.

The night before Christmas book
The evening earlier than Christmas e book

Santa Claus

Santa Claus – The custom of Santa Claus, originating from the historic determine Saint Nicholas of Myra, has advanced into a logo of pleasure, gift-giving, and the spirit of the vacation season globally. From his transformation into the jolly determine in crimson and white, to regional variations and trendy interpretations, Santa Claus stays an integral a part of Christmas celebrations. Key traditions embody his North Pole workshop, writing letters to Santa, the “naughty or good” listing, and leaving out meals for Santa and his reindeer. Santa’s presence can also be felt in well-liked tradition and charitable works. Newer traditions corresponding to Santa monitoring, Santa parades, and adapting Santa into different cultures additional enrich this beloved vacation determine’s narrative.


Saturnalia – Saturnalia was a big pageant in historic Rome, celebrated with feasting, merriment, gift-giving, and momentary social function reversals. This pageant, devoted to Saturn, the god of agriculture, liberation, and time, was a device for social cohesion, offering relaxation and strengthening communal bonds. Saturnalia’s affect continues at present, notably evident in modern winter solstice celebrations, embodying a deep cultural significance transcending its historic context.

Tree Toppers

Tree topper – The Christmas tree topper is a big custom courting again to the Nineteenth century, initially symbolising non secular elements of Christmas with symbols like angels or stars. Over time, this custom has advanced and diversified, encompassing a wide range of designs, themes, and private or cultural significances, making it a cherished a part of vacation celebrations worldwide. The topper not solely completes the aesthetic of the Christmas tree but in addition symbolises household traditions, shared historical past, and the spirit of the vacation season.

Upside Down Christmas Tree

Upside Down Christmas Tree – The Upside Down Christmas Tree is a singular custom rooted in Central and Japanese European historical past, with origins courting again to the seventh century the place it was used to elucidate the Holy Trinity. Regardless of intervals of declining recognition and a few controversy, the upside-down tree has resurged in trendy instances as a space-saving measure, an inventive expression, and a reminder of historic and spiritual symbolism.

The Sensible Males

Wise Men – The Sensible Males, or the Magi, within the Christmas story symbolize a big acknowledgement of Jesus as a common king, marking the revelation of Jesus to the Gentiles. Their journey, following the Star of Bethlehem and presenting symbolic items, vastly influences Christmas traditions, inspiring the observe of gift-giving, the depiction of the star atop Christmas bushes, and the narrative retold in Nativity scenes globally.

White Christmas

White Christmas – A white Christmas, characterised by snowfall, is an iconic a part of the vacation season in lots of components of the Northern Hemisphere and has grow to be deeply ingrained in world Christmas tradition. Traditions usually embody constructing snowmen, partaking in snow sports activities, adorning properties towards the attractive white backdrop, and having fun with heat drinks and luxury meals. No matter geographical location, the spirit of a white Christmas encapsulates pleasure, togetherness, and the magic of the season.


Wassailing – Wassailing is a standard English observe with roots in pre-Christian instances, combining singing, ingesting from a shared wassail bowl full of sizzling, mulled punch, and wishing good well being upon others. Variants embody house-to-house wassailing, much like trendy caroling, and orchard wassailing, meant to bless apple bushes for a very good harvest. At this time, whereas mostly noticed in rural components of England and North America, additionally it is more and more celebrated in city areas as a festive approach to strengthen neighborhood bonds and share good needs for the upcoming yr.


Xmas – Xmas is an abbreviation for Christmas with roots in historic Greek and Latin languages. The ‘X’ represents the Greek letter Chi, which is the primary letter of the Greek phrase for ‘Christ,’ whereas ‘mas’ is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase ‘missa,’ that means mass. Regardless of perceptions of secularisation, Xmas has been utilized by Christians for hundreds of years as a respectful and handy shorthand to indicate the celebration of Jesus Christ’s start.

Xmas Goat

Yule Goat – The Xmas Goat, or Julbocken, is a standard Christmas image in Nordic international locations, with its origins in pre-Christian pagan celebrations of the winter solstice. Over time, the Xmas Goat has advanced from a sacrificial image of the Norse god Odin to a gift-giving Christmas determine and has impressed quite a few traditions together with straw goat figures, processions, songs, and extra. At this time, this iconic determine continues to play a big function in Christmas celebrations throughout Scandinavia, featured in decorations, meals, drinks, and even charitable occasions.

Xmas Log

Yule log – The Xmas log, a practice rooted in Germanic pagan tradition and later integrated into Christian celebrations, represents heat, gentle, and renewal. Its trendy diversifications vary from televised log broadcasts and log-shaped desserts just like the Bûche de Noël to varied world traditions and personalised rituals. Regardless of the adjustments over time, the Xmas log stays a cherished image of vacation cheer and a hyperlink to our shared previous.