Christmas traditions in USA are actually inherited customs, traditions, and legends from many diverse cultures. We celebrate in every possible way! We include many of the wonderful activities, songs, and stories from all over the world.
We even invented new traditions . American Christmas characters like Rudolph and Frosty are as highly recognized as old Santa himself. We have also created cultural Christmas icons in advertising, like the Coca-Cola Polar Bears. For Christmas we also do many of the things everyone else in the world does. We have a Christmas tree that we decorate with ornaments and lights, topping it with a star or angel. We also have a big holiday dinner served together with the family. Festive songs play a huge part in the holiday .
The sharp contrast of the Christmas traditions of USA between the universal and native celebrations becomes more visible with each region. Now Christmas celebrations vary greatly between regions of the United States, because of the variety of nationalities which have settled in it:
- In Pennsylvania, the Moravians build a landscape, called a putz under the Christmas tree, while in the same state the Germans are given gifts by Belsnickle, who taps them with his switch if they have misbehaved.
- In Alaska, a star on a pole is taken from door to door, followed by Herod’s Men, who try to capture the star. Colonial doorways are often decorated with pineapple, a symbol of hospitality. The boys and girls with lanterns on poles carry a large figure of a star from door to door. They sing carols and are invited in for supper.
- In Washington D.C., a huge, spectacular tree is lit ceremoniously when the President presses a button and turns on the tree’s lights.
- In Boston, carol singing festivities are famous. The singers are accompanied by hand bells.
- In New Orleans, a huge ox is paraded around the streets decorated with holly and with ribbons tied to its horns.
- In Arizona, the Mexican ritual called Las Posadas is kept up. This is a ritual procession and play representing the search of Mary and Joseph for a room at the inn. Families play the parts and visit each other’s houses .
- In Hawaii, Christmas starts with the coming of the Christmas Tree Ship and Santa Claus arrives by boat.
- In California, Santa Claus sweeps in on a surf board.
- The majority of Americans celebrate Christmas with the exchange of gifts and greetings and with family visits. At Christmas it snows in many states, so dinner is usually eaten indoors. American homes are decorated with holly, mistletoe and branches of trees, most have a Christmas tree hung with electric lights, tinsel, baubles, and strings of popcorn and candy canes.
- In Colorado, an enormous star is placed on the mountain . It can be seen for many kilometers around, while in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a star is lit in early December.
- In Philadelphia, a procession called a mummers parade runs for a whole day with bands, dancers and people in fancy dress.
Unfortunately for the Americans , Christmas has become too commercialized. In many ways this makes the holiday very stressful and expensive for us . We have to remember the true meaning of Christmas which is to try being a better person and enjoy the holiday together in family.