Common Christmas and Hanukkah traditions


Giving gifts to family and friends, and opening them either at midnight or in the morning.

Hanging Christmas lights (often red and green) around the house.

Installing a Christmas tree, and decorating it.

Santa Claus gives gifts to good children worldwide.

Leaving Santa cookies and milk .

Attending Mass on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas day.

Eating a family meal of ham, turkey or other “holiday” foods.

Drinking eggnog.

Kissing under the mistletoe, which is a type of plant that is hung from walls as a decoration.


Lighting one candle from the Menorah every night, and saying a prayer.

Singing songs about the holiday.

Eating a large family dinner.

Playing games that involve spinning a dreidel, which is a top with four sides.

Eating greasy foods like potato latkes and oil doughnuts, to celebrate the miraculous oil.

Giving gelt (translation: money) to young children, either actual money or chocolate wrapped to look like a coin.

Retelling stories about the holiday.

Information gathered from Julye Bidmead, professor of Religious Studies at Chapman and

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