Only seven more days until Christmas! We are so excited here at the store, ready to cozy up to the fire and celebrate with family and friends. Over the past several Christmas seasons, we’ve covered a myriad of topics, from how to easily decorate to the best way to stock your bar. What we’ve never shared are the holiday traditions that our Amish friends celebrate.
Many of our Texas friends have met our builders at our Annual Meet the Builder Day, but it is difficult to think about Christmas traditions in May! So, we’d like to give you an inside look into how our friends (and very valued builders) celebrate the holiday season.
You may or may not be surprised to find the Amish celebrations are quite similar to the non-Amish. The center of all Amish celebrations is a focus on the birth of Christ, so you’ll find no Santa Claus in Amish communities. Homes are moderately decorated with candles, cards from friends and family, and in some communities, wreaths, and angels. On the morning of Christmas Day, most families will sit and listen to the Christmas story read aloud from the Pennsylvania-Dutch Bible. Then, because families live on farms, everyone pitches in to take care of the animals and other necessary daily tasks.
The big event of the day is the meal that each family shares. Since families tend to live near each other, a family gathering can mean a combination of several households. Everyone gathers to eat roasted chicken, vegetables, and tons of desserts. Gifts are exchanged usually to the tune of simple wooden toys or games for children, quilting or cooking tools for the women, and shop tools for the men.
It is common for the community schools to put on a Christmas program that the entire community attends. Since Amish schools get out in the spring in time for planting and harvest, students attend school through the holidays with little break, so the program is an exciting respite from regular work. Here’s an interesting excerpt from an Amish school’s Christmas program.
Caroling is also another tradition the Amish keep, often visiting neighbors or elderly family members and deliver homemade goodies as they visit and sing. Some communities even visit nearby prisons and visit and sing with the prisoners.
The Amish approach the holiday season much like their approach to their daily lifestyle: focused on family and faith, free from the distractions of technology and busyness. It is this focus that makes their work such high quality, and these are the characteristics that make us love their products.