How Christmas Is Really Celebrated By The Amish

Perhaps no Christian group is as poorly-understood, at least within the context of their own culture, as the Amish. Ask any American what they know about the sect, and you'll most likely hear a recitation of what they don't do: They don't use modern technology, they don't get entangled in outside affairs, they don't vote, they don't serve on juries. As far as what they Amish do, it seems as if they live quiet and peaceful lives of community and religious devotion. And that is true, up to a point.

However, far from being the pious and dour people as imagined in our popular consciousness, the Amish are actually a fun-loving people who enjoy games, hobbies, and having a good time, according to Amish America. They just do it in a different way. And when it comes to the biggest religious, cultural, and retail holiday in America — Christmas — the Amish are all about it. They may not order gifts from Amazon or fight off crowds at Black Friday sales, but they do celebrate the holiday, and do it with aplomb.

The Amish celebrate multiple Christmases (sort of)

Before going too much further, it bears noting that there is no one Amish way of doing things. Each community does things differently, and one Amish group may take a different approach to Christmas than another does. As such, the examples below are provided merely for the sake of illustration.

As Christians, the Amish celebrate Christmas with a focus on the birth of Jesus Christ. As Amish Country Gazebos notes, for some communities, aspects of that celebration mirror those of how "the English" — that is, non-Amish — celebrate the holiday. Some may bring greenery inside their homes in much the same way that you may set up a Christmas tree. Christmas cookies and candies are made in abundance, and the traditional Christmas meal will probably mirror yours, with turkey, mashed potatoes, and the like. Some will even extend the celebration to a second day, December 26. In much the same way that J.R.R. Tolkien's hobbits enjoy Second Breakfast, some Amish celebrate a Second Christmas.

Similarly, according to Mandatory, some Amish also sneak in a second Christmas in January. For many Christians, including some Amish, December 25 is a second-tier holiday compared to January 6, or the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Three Wise Men traditionally visited the Baby Jesus. In some Amish communities, expect January 6 to come with all of the traditional Christmas trappings.