Favorite Christmas Posts

Warm wishes to all Amish America readers out there, wherever in the world you might be. I hope the coming days are filled with special times spent with family and friends, mountains of good food, rest, and many blessings.

Amish people mark the Christmas season in different ways, including family gatherings, singings, and school Christmas plays. Here’s a short excerpt from The Amish reminding us that jumbo-sized families mean jumbo-sized get-togethers:

Extended families typically gather for a day of eating and visiting during the Christmas season. With families spread across many states, some travel long distances for the gathering. An Iowa grandmother explained that her family had held their family Christmas celebration at her daughter’s house in Wisconsin on Thanksgiving. “Our children and grandchildren left Iowa in two vans to go to Wisconsin. Others came there by train…All 41 slept in the same house. With 22 grandchildren under 10, there is no dull moment.” (p. 238-239)

So keep that in mind if your home feels a little cramped over the next few days.

black-white-snow-buggy-arment-photo
Photo by David Arment

We won’t have a new post tomorrow, but I thought I’d leave you with a few favorite Christmas-related posts from past years:

Do Amish people exchange Christmas cards?

Some photos of Christmas cards and gifts received from Amish friends.

What’s the best holiday smell?

description of a school Christmas program and a photo taken outside of one.

The Amish and Old Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

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32 Comments

  1. Carolyn B

    Merry Christmas to you, Erik, and all members of the Amish America community. God bless you all in 2015.

  2. Garrett

    Merry Christmas to all

    I hope everyone has a wonderful New Years

  3. Slightly-handled-Order-man

    Merry Christmas Erik, all the Amish America contributors and Amish America comment community (and everyone in real life Amish Communities). I hope everyone is festive no matter how you mark Christmas. Love and Best wishes – “SHOM” 🙂

  4. Terry Berger

    Merry Christmas or as ‘we’ say: Frohe Grischtdawg und en Glickliche Neies Jahr!! Wishing you all a blessed and safe Christmas!! I’ll be spending tonight at our Christmas Eve Lovefeast service, then home to a family gathering.

    Blessings,
    Terry

  5. Kathy Rowe

    Merry Christmas to you, Erik, and all of the “Amish America folks.” I enjoy this website so much. Good info and beautiful photo that people share. I appreciate you all. Have the best holiday ever and don’t let the flu bug bite you! Sending greeting from northeast TN.

  6. Merry Christmas Eric & All of Amish America Readers!! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you all & everyone’s posts thru the years… Wishing you the best & brightest of New Years!
    Blessings!
    KimH

  7. Marie b

    favorite Christmas posts

    Erik and all the Amish American families..have a blessed Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year. I was just in Ohio amish country last month (holiday shopping)and the day I left for home, I woke to 2-3 inches of the first snow fall, it was like Christmas early and so so beautiful. I’m counting down the days until I can return in the spring.
    Marie, from Windsor Ontario Canada

    1. Just got the first snow of the season where I am Marie. Started about 11 pm last night so that’s technically a White Christmas 🙂

  8. Mark - Holmes Co.

    Wishing you all a blessed Christmas and God’s blessings and guidance in the New Year!

  9. City Slicker

    Mark - Holmes County

    To all AA readers & contributors: It can’t be said better than Mark has! Thank you, Mark

  10. Troy Martens

    Christmas

    Merry Christmas all. Safe travels.

  11. Jack Mitchell

    Glad Tidings!

    It is late on Christmas Eve, with only a few minutes to go until Christmas Day. Everyone has gone to bed already ahead of tomorrow’s busy festivities and so the house is nice and quiet. The woodburner is lit keeping the house warm tonight and I am quite tired from all the preparations and activities over the last couple of days.
    And so this is a special, quiet few moments of solitude for me to read the latest on Amish America and read peoples’ comments and remind myself of what Christmas is really all about.
    I hope that everyone has a lovely Christmas where ever you are and whatever you are doing!

  12. Jonathan Edwards

    Even though a dominantly Muslim country, Christmas trees dot the cityscape. And dining this (Christmas) morning at a KFC enabled me to take in a few Christmas tunes, including Silent Night.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…from the coast of the Caspian Sea…Baku, Azerbaijan.

  13. Tom A Geist

    Christmas Day/Wedding Day

    I am out on the road meeting Amish scribes this holiday in Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. (those that write for the Amish Newspapers The Budget and Die Botschaft) Yesterday in Mayfield Kentucky I met a Swartzentrubers scribe who’s house was pretty full with out of town people. Not only were they there for Christmas, but someone in their community was getting married on Christmas day.
    In Rich Hill, Mo and Scottsville Kentucky you can find some Old Order Mennonites that do not celebrate Christmas because they say there was no commend from God to do so, and if f they would, the 25th of December is not the day Christ was born. (They say January 6th was)

    Tom Geist
    LincNebr@hotmail.com

    1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      That is a great way for a faithful couple to remember their anniversary, by marking it on the same day they mark the the first arrival of Christ, of course their being Amish Christ will take priority.

    2. Always enjoy hearing about your visits Tom. Travel safe!

  14. dave

    Merry Christmas Erik!

  15. Troy Martens

    Merry Christmas Erik and all the Amish communities.

  16. Marcus

    The amish observe christmas? They even recognise new years eve (according to another article here on AA)? Wow, and I thought they really had left wordly traditions behind. I guess I’m wrong then (if these articles are correct)? How disappointing. There’s nothing biblical about this vain thing called “christmas” in english. Do anyone know if this is true for amish in general or is it just some of them that does this?

    {9} But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

    {10} Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

    Gal. 4:9-10 (KJV)

    1. Without delving too far into this, I’ll just say I’ve seen this kind of response before. People often have expectations that the Amish live in some sort of bubble isolated from society. That may be more true for some Amish but even the most traditional have to dip their feet into “the world” from time to time, however reluctantly. But I don’t exactly get why taking the occasion to commemorate Christ’s birth and also spend time with family should be so disappointing. Just because they may do something over the Christmas season doesn’t mean they have adopted the commercially-driven version of it.

      1. Marcus

        Hi Erik, thanks for your reply.
        I know I use to come off a bit weird sometimes when I write, I’m sorry for that…

        I don’t think I’ve ever considered the amish as living in a bubble. If I thought they were, I probably wouldn’t be interested in their faith and culture. I know I could hardly make up my mind about a whole people and their practices based on this one little article. Of course I have no idea how they really consider these holidays. And how far they go in doing after them, if they take any notice of them at all. That’s why I asked how common christmas is among them. Had I lived anywhere near them I would probably just ask one or many of them directly instead of relying on internet (which I can’t really trust anyway), books, etc. You see, I’m trying to get a taste of what their spiritual fruit is like. If you understand what I’m saying. I’m simply hoping that I wont find a lot of unbiblical practices that might cause me to doubt, there’s so much of that nowadays…

        Please bear with me, I’m not here to argue or anything. I just want to learn more about how amish put their faith in practice. If there by chance would be anyone amish or amish affiliated willing to share their point of view, I will be most glad to hear you out! I’m sorry that I jumped to conclusions in my previous post!

        God’s mercy be with you all!

        1. Mark - Holmes Co.

          I’m not sure how you define celebrating Christmas & New Years… Our family tradition for many years is to get together with our closest neighbors who are close friends of ours on Christmas Eve. We have supper, play games, & visit. No Santa, trees, holly, tinsel… just a quiet evening with friends. We usually give our family Christmas gifts the afternoon of the 24th, again none of the sparkly fancy Christmas stuff, though we do wrap the gifts. (Or those that are wrappable, anyhow.)
          Christmas morning we like to sleep late and have a very light breakfast (to give us “fuel” to do chores and get horses ready to go away) then as a family we gathered to read Luke 2 and pray together. This year our extended family Christmas gathering was on Christmas Day but sometimes it is the Sat. before or after. We had “breakfast haystack” for brunch then after that was all cleared away, singing Christmas songs and remembering past-times. Eventually the younger ones scattered. Some played basketball as it was a mild day, some played board games, the younger girls played “Christmas Program” upstairs and we adults sat & talked. In the late afternoon snacks were served & people started heading home around 4:00 PM.
          Our evening was different than most years; we went to a viewing. A 35 year old friend of ours, a former school teacher and now minister & clock-maker, died on the 24th after a lengthy battle with cancer. He leaves a grieving widow and 5 children, two of whom have serious health issues. I couldn’t help but think of how enjoyable our day had been and compare it to the mourning family…
          So, that was an almost typical Christmas for our family. (The viewing being the part that was different.)
          On Jan. 6th we observe “Old Christmas” with a period of fasting, reading, & praying and then in the afternoon we often gather with friends or family.
          Our church has a yearly New Year’s Eve supper for the entire congregation and each family contributes something to the meal. That is followed by an evening of singing together mixed in with visiting, sipping coffee or hot-chocolate and that traditionally continues until midnight, though many with younger children (or those not fond of late bedtimes) will head home earlier.
          I’m not sure, Marcus, if you’d consider our “holiday” as worldly or not, but this is how we do it and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

          1. Marcus

            Hi Mark! Thank you for giving such a detailed description of your christmas, among other things.
            I have not had time to respond to you earlier due to heavy work load. It appears now I got an hour to spare before I have to get to bed before tomorrow days work…

            What you just described don’t sound all too different from my own christmas experiences when I was younger, with a few modifications. Would you say that how you celebrate christmas is about the same way as people in most other amish communities also would do? “Old Christmas” I’m not even sure what it is really. Where I live there’s a day around that time that is a red day in the calendar, but as far as I can remember most people I’ve known have just used it as another excuse to go out and get drunk (me included, before God drew me to him and his Word).

            I understand that you would not want to have your christmas in any other way. I mean, christmas is very appealing to a human being. I’m no different in that sense, there are plenty of things about it that my flesh wants much… Enough good tasting food to make your stomach burst, lots and lots of gifts to please your eyes, social interaction with tons of nice relatives and other people, laughing and joking and so on.

            I hope it’s ok with you if I might gently just tell you about my point of view. I think the question is not what me or you want. I think the question is what the Lord our God wants. I do see christmas in it’s entirety as wordly. This is simply because there are no scriptural grounds for such a celebration. Hence, it comes from the world and not God. From the thoughts of man. I would even go as far as saying it’s against what the Bible teaches, based on those verses in Gal. 4 and maybe some other places too. Observing anyones birthday is an observance of time, just like observing new years eve is.

            When those not in Christ celebrate their christmases and the rest of the traditional yearly holidays, I don’t raise the eyebrow. They’ll do what they’ll do. What gets me thinking though is when churches, supposed to set an example in godly living and help people come to God (at least that’s what they say), sustains from abolishing all these wordly traditions. Just to please people rather than God. It’s no wonder them people really think that christmas has something to do with Jesus Christ when all the churches has been doing it for so long.

            “{18} Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; {19} But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” 1 Pet. 1:18-19 (KJV)

            1. Mark - Holmes Co.

              Hi, Marcus. “Old Christmas” is on Jan. 6th and is often called Epiphany. Thank you for explaining your views on observing Christmas. Other than the reading of specific scriptures pertaining to Jesus’ birth and singing songs that tie into that, our Christmas gathering is not that much different from our July Homecoming or any other family get-together. I respect your views, but still feel our way of observing this is acceptable both culturally and spiritually and will look forward to next year’s get-together, be it on Christmas, a week before or after, just as much as I look forward to all family gatherings. It’s nice that people can share their views here and respect one another’s view-points.

        2. Resources on Amish beliefs

          Sorry for my late reply Marcus, no worries, I didn’t think you were looking to argue or anything. I know it’s probably not the complete answer to all of your questions but I hope Mark’s answer here was helpful, Mark is one of our regular commenters and is Amish in the large Holmes County, Ohio settlement. I usually don’t get into discussions over what is or isn’t unbiblical because I feel that those often can go to an extreme, but I hope you can find a better picture about the Amish here and elsewhere.

          I’d recommend trying some non-fiction books which might help you get a better understanding. One on Amish faith is called The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World and might be a good starting point. You can see a list I put together below if you want some more recommendations, or others here can probably offer some good choices. Thanks for commenting!

          https://amishamerica.com/best-amish-books/

          1. Marcus

            Hi Erik! After finishing that comment to Mark I just wrote, I saw yours! I guess I’m not the only one replying late! hehehe

            Yes, Mark gave very good answer. A real insiders view if you will. I think I’m not the only one who appreciates his presence (eventhough I’m fairly new here)! And yes, this is of course one of my major channels for getting some knowledge about the amish, which is also much appreciated! Thank you Erik! I understand that the discussion that arises from time to time about what’s biblical and not have the potential to get very carried away. I try not to engage in it more than necessary here, because else I’d probably be at it in almost every article. But the times I do “go off” I try to write briefly so I won’t take over the entire comments field. And about reading books, I actually had the “Amish Grace” book about Nickel Mines ordered to me earlier this year and am still reading through it. My first book about the amish! Same authors who wrote “The Amish Way” I believe? The english takes it’s time for me to force through, but it’s worth it. Sometimes when I’m wondering about something specific which isn’t in the book though it’s great to be able to come here and ask. I’ll have a look at your list!

            1. Sure thing Marcus, that is a good book as well, and you are right it is by the same authors, published a couple of years before The Amish Way. Feel free to drop back by anytime if you have other questions and someone here should be able to help. By the way, if English isn’t your first language, I’d have had no idea if you hadn’t made that comment.

      2. Bill Rushby

        Thanks!

        Thanks for your comment and good sense, Erik! If someone doesn’t care to celebrate Christmas, that is their business, but why try to take the joy out of it for those who do enjoy it.

  17. Thanks everyone for the wishes, always nice to hear where people are in the world, be it Tennessee, Ontario or Azerbaijan! I am spending Christmas with family in Warsaw in Poland.

    1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Thank you and your welcome Erik.

      I’d like to ask you and everyone in the AA community if they had a snowy white Christmas?

      I did not, but people where conversely telling me we’d either get a weather bomb that would have brought down snow or rain, we had neither in my neighborhood, in fact it was rather warm (well, “warm” is relative, it was cold enough) and no snow.

      In Canada it is “boxing day” today (Dec 26), a sometimes restful day after rooted in British tradition (although a lot of people do big time consumerism on this day, heading to the malls and stores and seeking out deals on what they didn’t receive as Christmas gifts yesterday, sort of akin to “Black Friday”, but after the fact), and the weather seems nice here abouts, a second nice day in a row.

      What was it like in your corner of the world? All the best to my Amish America friends!

  18. Terry Berger

    In answer to SHOM

    SHOM,
    We had a wet and dreary Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It was rather balmy at 56 degrees. Warm enough to let the chickens out to pasture rather than keeping them in henhouse all day. Happy New Year!!

    Terry

  19. Juanita Cook

    Hoping you had a wonderful blessed Christmas. We spent our Christmas with my sister, her family and one of my daughters was able to come part of the day too.