Christmas Eve Traditions

Traditions, superstitions and rituals about the Night Before Christmas

There are many Christmas Eve traditions.

Some people drink egg nog, some let their kids open a Christmas present early, some read to the children, some go to midnight mass or other church services.

There are also many superstitions concerning Christmas Eve, some of them centuries old.

DBKP has collected a host of Christmas Eve traditions from throughout the Internet and the world.


Some couples have a tradition to kiss under the mistletoe on Christmas Eve. With, others it’s more than one kiss.

Many couples spend Christmas Eve listening to Christmas carols and remembering Christmas Eves past.

Couples with children tick items off lists to make sure Santa didn’t forget anything.


The ritual of Midnight Mass date back centuries. But midnight Masses are rare these days, largely because of the shortage of priests in the Roman Catholic Church,


Want to ski and celebrate Christmas with a church service at Crystal Mountain, near Tacoma, Washington?

Around 1977, the Rev. Ken Christopherson started a Christmas Eve service at the Crystal Mountain Ski Chapel.


Many Christmas Eve meals in America traditionally are ham or fowl. Because of the big meal planned for the holiday, some families like to keep the meal light and serve soup and crackers. By and large, most have the good ole sausage and cheese on hand for tasty snacks and appetizers.


Many families used to put up their tree and trim it on Christmas Eve. Now, most families have their tree up before Christmas Eve, to enjoy its look.


It is customary to read children some Christmas stories to complete their evening. The classic “The Night Before Christmas” is by far, the most popular short story of all. Reading stories in front of the fireplace with some hot chocolate will get the kids settled down and ready for bed.


* The tradition of setting out cookies for the bearded gift-giver’s much-anticipated arrival down the chimneyon Christmas Eve has grown legs across the globe. But there are mixed reports about where or when it started.

* Santa himself explains at that the tradition of leaving out cookies and milk came from western Germany, where people would decorate trees with apples, wafers and cookies. When the treats started disappearing off the tree, children assumed Santa was taking the snacks, prompting them to start leaving out cookies so he’d stop stealing the decorations.

* Some children leave hay and carrots in shoes for Santa’s reindeer, according to Christmas historians.

* Another belief behind the cookies-and-milk custom is “the more cookies, the more presents.” And, along those lines, some people think “naughty” children leave cookies as a last-minute bribe, while “good” kids leave treats to show appreciation.

* Irish children leave mince pie and a bottle of beer for Santa.

* Denmark kids leave rice pudding and saucers of milk for the elves.

* American children started leaving cookies and milk for Santa during the Great Depression because parents wanted to encourage sharing in hard times.


* Some also believe that those who are born on Christmas Eve turn into ghosts on that day every year while they sleep. If you were born on Christmas Eve and don’t want to have this happen to you, the remedy is to count the holes in a sieve from 11 o’clock on Christmas Eve until morning.

* Myrrh save their blossoming for Christmas Eve – often for only an hour.

* Hay carried around a church three times on Christmas Eve was said to ensure that cattle would fatten easier on less feed in the year to come.

* Christmas Eve is when animals behave oddly, too: cattle, donkeys, and oxen are said to fall on their knees and moan at midnight.

* If you can find a kneeling donkey on Christmas Eve, and make the sign of the cross on its back, you will get your heart’s desire.

* Cattle, donkeys, and oxen, as well as the other animals, are also given the gift of speech on Christmas Eve.

* On Christmas Eve, you can hear the bells of lost churches that have been flooded or buried by landslides and earthquakes.

* On Christmas Eve it is unlucky to spin or sew, to grind grain, or to leave the dishes unwashed.

* To predict the next year’s harvest, count the stars on Christmas Eve, and there will be as many sheaves as you have counted stars.

* Looking into a well on Christmas Eve will show the destined husband.

* Throwing a ball of yarn in the air at midnight on Christmas Eve will determine the look of your future husband; the arrangement of the yarn on the ground will look like the future husband’s face.

That’s our round-up of Christmas Eve traditions. Do you have any?

It’s never too late to start one.

Merry Christmas!

Compiled by Mondoreb
* Season of Superstition
* Holiday Traditions: Why the Santa Snacks?
* The Old Ways still hold sway in the South Sound
* Christmas Eve Traditions and Ideas


Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.


One response to “Christmas Eve Traditions

  1. Christmas Celebrations and New Year’s Celebrations

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