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10 Most Popular Christmas Traditions in the United States

Christmas Traditions we love

Christmas is celebrated all across the world with great enthusiasm, lots of preparation, decorations and food. When it comes to the United States of America, it’s no different, yet there is so much more to see and experience during Christmas. The US is a diverse country, and people from all colour, caste, creed and religion live together happily. On Christmas, we can witness this blend of several customs and traditions.

Americans, like people in other parts of the world, have developed their own Christmas traditions and observances that have definitely changed over time. From decorating Christmas trees, sending gifts, to organising parties and festivals, Americans celebrate Christmas with great festive spirit, pomp and cheer.


1. Christmas tree decorating

The tradition of decorating Christmas trees was started by the Germans, and later the Americans adopted the concept. These artificial Christmas trees are put up and decorated with tinsel, garlands, socks, baubles, lights candies, and whatever a person wants to. Some people decorate their trees with popcorn garlands. Isn’t that amazing?

People often throw up Christmas tree decoration parties, where everyone has to bring ornaments and decorate trees.

2. Brown Paper Bag Lanterns:

In Southwest America, lanterns made with brown paper bags are displayed all over the city on Christmas Eve. Not only this, electrically lit luminaries are also used. Decorations, celebrations are the heart and soul of Christmas, and people in the US do not shy away from it.

3. Christmas Gifts

No celebration is complete without gifts. It’s a beautiful way of letting people know that you care for them. This tradition of sending and receiving gifts and cards began in 1822 in America and the post offices had to increase the manpower to handle the distribution of these gifts/cards.

4. Christmas Pickles

This tradition is followed exclusively by the Americans. The Woolworth store began this unique tradition in 1880s and used to sell glass ornaments in the shape of fruits and vegetables, with pickle being one of them. People hang this pickle ornament the last on the Christmas tree and the first child to find it would get an extra present.

5. Nothing is complete without food

Throughout the country, people celebrate this auspicious day with roasted ham and turkey along with pork, goose, mashed potatoes, etc.

6. Santa Claus


Besides exchanging gifts, preparing a feast, the other tradition that began in the 19th century was of Santa Claus.

Christmas begins with Santa Claus, especially for kids. They start it by writing sweet letters for the Santa Claus, whom they believe will gift them whatever gifts they have asked for. Not only this, you can spot people dressed as Santa Claus, distributing sweets, candies, to kids in malls, and around markets.

7. Christmas Time Festivals

People in Mexico celebrate Las Posadas, i.e. a procession re-enacting Mary and Joseph's search for Jesus' place of birth in Bethlehem.

St. Lucia festival is celebrated by Swedish Americans, while the Puerto Ricans follow ‘parrandas’ which is basically where friends and families visit each other’s house, singing traditional songs and waking them up with their music. Wow!

In the San Felipe Pueblo, people dance around the blazing light of the altar. What make these dancers stand out are their dresses, they wear animal skins, corals, shells, masks, feathers, and headdresses. They perform buffalo, turtle and eagle dances. The ladies carry HAKAK tree sprigs, a symbol that represents humankind.

'Love Fest' is organised by the Moravian population of Pennsylvania. People sing anthems and hymns. The congregation who sing the hymns are served coffee, sweet buns and beeswax candles.

8. Christmas Jammies

Christmas jammies, popularly known as ‘pyjama sets’ for the entire family is the cutest new tradition that people in the US are going crazy about. Even your pets, who are your family also gets to wear these similar pyjama sets.

best christmas pajama sets family matching jammies

9. Christmas stockings

Hanging stockings is an age-old tradition. Kids keep their letters for Santa Claus in these stocking and wait for him to leave the gifts inside these.

10. Baking and gingerbread house

These fun to make and delicious gingerbread houses are made at Christmas in America. This is the time for families to bond and spend time with each other; they bake these gingerbread houses using dough and candies together.

Did you enjoy learning about these Christmas traditions in America? If you about any such unique tradition, let us know by commenting below.

Also, be sure to check out the wealth of other Christmas related articles we have. You can see some really beautiful and inspiring Christmas Village Sets. Christmas is also a great time to read some beautiful Christmas novels. Of course our Christmas Jammies page will totally floor you with all the information, reviews and choices. Another great page to visit if by any chance you have been asked to become Santa this Christmas, is the best Santa Claus Beard and Wig sets page.

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