Do the Amish Celebrate Christmas?

December 17, 2013 | Category: Amish, holiday | Posted by: Kristen May

Photo taken by Jeff Smoll, Jeff Smoll Photography

Yes, the Amish celebrate Christmas!

They observe Christmas as a sacred holiday with simplicity and tradition. While some are influenced by the traditions of their English friends, many do not get caught up in the modern-day commercialism as we experience it. Most don’t include Santa Claus, electric lights, flashy tinsel, fancy wrapping paper, or Christmas trees. Rather, they focus on the reason for the holiday– Jesus’ birth.

Because Christmas is so important in the Amish community, it is celebrated for two days. On December 25, they fast, meditate, and read Scripture; on December 26, or “Second Christmas,” they celebrate with family and friends with festive gatherings, great feasts, and gift-giving.

Because the Pennsylvania Amish have been greatly influenced by German Christmas traditions, they often decorate by lighting candles and hanging stars, angels, greenery, and holiday cards. Most families exchange gifts and usually pick names out of a hat so each person receives one gift each year. Gifts are not always of the old-fashioned handmade variety. Sometimes they give gifts such as Barbie dolls (dressed Amish), board games, and toy tractors. In addition, homemade cookies, candy, and stamped Christmas cards are very popular. Often Amish owned stores sell these homemade items.

At the Amish schoolhouse, a Christmas program is usually planned and is one of the most anticipated events of the year. The Amish community enjoys watching the children sing, read poems, and perform Christmas plays.

And, when it happens to snow, the children enjoy playing outside. They race down the hills on their sleds, ice skate, play ice hockey, and of course, have snowball fights and snowman building competitions.

While we, the English, enjoy our traditions at Christmas, the Amish, too, will be enjoying their holiday traditions, but always with Jesus at the center of their celebration.

To learn more about how the Amish celebrate Christmas, listen to Ada’s story.

Tags: , , , ,


  1. Evelyn Foster
    on December 19th, 2013

    They celebrate the true meaning of the season !! Love the Amish !!

  2. Daniel Stoltzfus
    on December 19th, 2013

    Amish fast on Dec 25? Where did you get that info?

  3. Kristen May
    on December 19th, 2013

    We have some wonderful resources, including the Amish themselves. However, in this instance, my “go to” person was Brad Igou, an expert in the field. To learn more about Brad and his business, go to:

  4. N L sorensen
    on December 19th, 2013

    This is what CHRISTmas is all about. There is too much commercialism and stress; this should be a happy, celebration of our Jesus’ birth and not the act of worrying about gifts, etc. Show your celebration by giving the gift of love to all. Its Merry CHRISTmas folks, not Happy Holidays.

  5. annette bouchard
    on December 19th, 2013

    I’m with Daniel Stoltzfus.

  6. Phyllis Hackett
    on December 19th, 2013

    I love the Amish i was raised in Pa and we saw them a lot , I now live in Illinois and we are not far from where they live .god Bless them

  7. Kerstin
    on December 20th, 2013

    Germans actually celebrate christmas, christmas eve with the exchange of the presents and then christmas is the 25th and the 26th of December. Our tradtion was close to the Amish, we would go to church, come home on christmas eve. We would read the bible together, sing songs, and then open presents. Afterwards we would have a feast for a dinner and then we would play all night until we were too tired. The 25th and 26th we went to see family to have christmas celebrations with them.

  8. Nancy
    on December 20th, 2013

    Christmas is wonderful time of the year. Along with Amish It is truly important to remember the day our Christ was born.
    It is sad that the world has forgotten the really meaning of this time.

    I agree with what NL Sorensen send. My Father always told us just about the same thing when we where growing up.
    Wishing all of a Very Merry CHRISTmas

Leave a Reply