American Christmas Traditions

Christmas is celebrated in many countries around the world. Each country has its own customs and traditions during the Christmas season. Here you will learn about some of the different traditions that set the US apart from the rest of the world at Christmastime.


Christmas lights


Almost every country that celebrates Christmas decorates the streets and trees with lights in December, but have you ever seen what Americans do with their Christmas lights? Americans take it to the extreme. Almost all the houses are decorated (and in some cases, covered) with colored lights, Santa Claus statues and figurines. Some people even put speakers in their yard that play Christmas carols for all of the people that pass to hear. Some neighborhoods have competitions, the winner being the neighbor with the best Christmas light decorations.


Christmas Carols

Christmas carols are an extremely important part of the American Christmas. Many of the songs that are sung originated in Europe centuries ago. In addition to the Christmas songs of old times, Americans have written more modern day carols that are now known worldwide. Some come from musical films of the 1940s and 1950s and are still sung at Christmastime. In the United States you hear Christmas carols in the stores, the streets, homes, children’s holiday school performances, movies, television programs and advertisements, they are everywhere! Also, there are Christmas Carolers, or groups of people that go throughout the streets singing Christmas carols to spread the joy of Christmas to all of the city.


Christmas Stockings


Americans always hang a Christmas stocking for each member of the family on the fireplace. This is where you receive small gifts and children receive candy from Santa Claus. For Americans, the Christmas stocking is just as important as the Christmas tree. A person usually keeps the same stocking for life and uses it every year during Christmas.




The most delicious drink of the year! Eggnog is a traditional drink that Americans drink at Christmas. Eggnog is a chilled and sweetened milk-based drink traditionally made with cream, sugar, beaten eggs (which gives it a frothy texture) and liquor such as brandy, rum or whiskey. Cinnamon or nutmeg is usually sprinkled on top of the drink as a garnish. There is also eggnog without alcohol for children.



Mistletoe adds a romantic touch to the Christmas season. Traditionally, mistletoe hangs in one of the interior doorways of a house. Usually people hang mistletoe before a holiday party to add some innocent fun to the night. The tradition says that when a man and a woman cross paths under the doorway with mistletoe, they must kiss.

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