Wondering If Amish People Celebrate Christmas? Learn the Truth


To an outsider, an Amish Christmas may seem impossible. Without twinkling electric lights, Amazon orders, Christmas movie marathons, and other modern comforts, an Amish Christmas may not seem much like Christmas. What does Christmas even look like in Amish communities?

Amish people celebrate Christmas, though their customs are very different from worldly or “English” Christmas traditions. They prioritize family and faith over gift-giving and other secular Christmas conventions. 

This article will take a closer look at the different traditions many Amish people have around Christmas. Keep reading to learn about the Amish views on Christmas trees and Santa Claus and how they celebrate Christmas.

Also see Are There Any Black Amish People? to learn more.

Amish Christmas
Do Amish people have Christmas trees? See below

Do Amish People Have Christmas Trees?

The Amish don’t use electricity, so they don’t string electric lights or have battery-operated ornaments. But it’s possible to have a Christmas tree without these modern conveniences, a tree decorated with garland, popcorn, candles, and handmade ornaments. The Amish have Christmas trees without breaking their rules, but they don’t. 

The Amish don’t have Christmas trees. They focus more on family and the birth of Jesus than on gifts and Christmas decorations. Christmas trees are an “English” or outsider tradition.

Christmas decorations in an Amish household include candles, garland, and poinsettia flowers. However, many Amish families choose not to decorate for Christmas, believing that the decorations take away the focus from the holiday’s Christian significance.

Suppose an Amish family chooses to decorate for Christmas. In that case, the decorations won’t include Santa Claus, elves, or any other “commercial” Christmas figures. 

Also see Do Amish People Pay Taxes? to learn more.

Christmas tree
Do Amish people believe in Santa Claus? See below

Do Amish People Believe in Santa Claus?

For many people, Christmas is incomplete without Santa Claus. Red Santa hats, ornaments and figurines, outdoor decorations, and Christmas movies make Santa Claus inescapable during the Christmas season. But in an Amish Christmas celebration, Santa Claus is absent.

Amish people don’t believe in Santa Claus because Santa Claus takes away the focus on Christmas from Jesus and puts it on gift-giving and consumerism. The holiday is about religion and family for the Amish, not material things.

The Amish believe that Santa Claus is a distraction from the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. Not all Amish families exchange gifts at Christmas, and those who choose to give small, useful handmade items. [1]

Santa Claus is very closely tied up with English gift-giving traditions. Because the Amish don’t prioritize gifts on Christmas, they don’t need a Santa Claus figure.

Parents may give their children small gifts on Christmas, and students often make presents for their teachers. But these gifts express appreciation and love, and they’re not a reward for being “nice” instead of “naughty.” Amish children don’t have extensive wishlists, and they don’t expect presents from Santa Claus to appear on Christmas morning.

For Amish people, the joy of Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus as a community. They worship together, eat good food, and gather with friends and family. They don’t need presents to make Christmas special, especially from a secular figure like Santa Claus.

Also see What Language Do Amish People Speak? to learn more.

Christmas dinner
How do Amish people celebrate Christmas? See below

How Do Amish People Celebrate Christmas?

Every Amish family has its own Christmas traditions, just like English families. However, there are some Christmas traditions that most, if not all, Amish people practice, including church services, family gatherings, and large meals. 

Amish people celebrate Christmas by visiting friends and family, eating large meals, sharing homemade sweets, and attending church services or children’s Christmas programs. They may exchange small, homemade gifts, but gift-giving isn’t the holiday’s focus.

Some Amish churches hold Christmas services on December 25th, while others wait until the 26th to gather. Some families celebrate both of these days like Christmas, and others include January 6th as well. Not all Amish people celebrate all three days, and their traditions vary from community to community. 

When Do the Amish Celebrate Christmas?

The Amish can celebrate Christmas every year on December 25th and 26th and January 6th. December 25th is Christmas Day, and all Amish people recognize it as the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. 

Some Amish also celebrate December 26th, Second Christmas. Second Christmas is a day of rest from work. The Amish may continue the celebrations from the day before or attend a church service. For some Amish people, December 25th is a day of prayer and fasting, while Second Christmas is a day of celebration and feasting. 

January 6th, sometimes called Epiphany or Three Kings Day, is called Old Christmas. Some Amish people celebrate Old Christmas in addition to Christmas Day, with sweets, good food, and quality time with family. Old Christmas marks the day when the wise men came to visit baby Jesus, making it another holiday. 

Old Christmas is sometimes a fasting holiday, too. The Amish will fast until noon when they gather with friends and family for a large meal. [2] Christmas dinners typically include a large cut of meat like turkey, chicken, or roast, different pies, and homemade candy for the children.

The Christmas season can extend even longer for some larger Amish communities. [3] Different families will take turns hosting Christmas dinners. If enough families host, the Christmas dinners may continue until February so that every family has a chance to host their friends. 

Also see Do Amish People Drink Alcohol? to learn more.

Amish People Give Christmas Postcards, Cookies, and Candies

Another way the Amish celebrate Christmas is by mailing postcards to their English friends and family. These postcards are a way to update their friends on their family’s well-being, and they can be beautiful, hand-crafted works of art, too. Handmade Christmas postcards are a popular souvenir for English tourists visiting Amish communities.

Homemade sweets are another staple of an Amish Christmas. Amish families will make delicious candies and cookies that they’ll share during the Christmas season. These candies are also popular with English tourists.

Children often put on a Christmas pageant or program for their families and English neighbors. The children may sing songs and perform a play, similar to pageants put on by English children. But in an Amish Christmas play, the material focuses on the birth of Christ. It doesn’t feature Santa Claus, elves, Rudolph, or other secular Christmas characters.

Conclusion

The Amish celebrate Christmas, but theirs is a religious holiday first. However, Amish and English people alike use Christmas to celebrate with family.

Also see:

Bible verses about Christmas

References:
[1] Source
[2] Source
[3] Source

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see the About page for details.

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