Last Updated: 20th November, 2020

Christmas Eve-Traditions and Customs

Christmas Eve, as the name suggests, is celebrated all over the world in the evening, a day before Christmas, i.e. on the 24th of December. It is believed that Jesus was born at the stroke of midnight, and thus the night before is considered to be the Holy Night. The celebrations of Christmas since time immemorial have included the Christmas Eve because as per a tradition inherited from the Jewish, the Christian liturgical day begins at sunset.

Christmas Eve comes with its own charm, customs and traditions.Every family celebrates special holidays in their own way. Christmas Eve is no exception with families follow wide variety of traditions filled with traditions that are looked forward to all year. Here are just a few beautiful customs followed by people from around the world.

  1. Christmas in America is full of parties, crazy decorations, gingerbread houses and delicious festive food.
  2. On Christmas Eve, in Iceland, people give books as gifts, and then spend the evening reading.
  3. In England they crack Christmas crackers at the dinner table before you start your meal on Christmas Day. Christmas crackers are filled with jokes, small toys or funny gifts, as well as a colored paper hat that everyone wears for dinner.
  4. In Finland many families spend part of Christmas Eve visiting cemeteries, leaving small lanterns at the graves of loved ones.
  5. Every year on the Saturday before Christmas Eve, the people of the Philippines hold a Giant Lantern Festival in San Fernando, known as the Capital of Christmas in the Philippines.
  6. Christmas in Australia is celebrated by drinks on the beach and chilling by the pool is how the Aussies spend Christmas Day.
  7. Family and friends catch up around the table on Christmas Eve for Reveillon, in France .It's a massive feast that lasts for many hours.
  8. In Germany some parents don't reveal Christmas tree and keep the decorated tree and presents behind a locked door and children finally get to see them on Christmas Eve. An advent wreath is put on the dining room table on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. The wreaths have four large candles on them and each one is lit every Sunday.
  9. The Danish celebrate Christmas on the 24th December (Christmas Eve) rather than Christmas Day. They walk around the Christmas tree at home and sing Christmas carols.
  10. In many European countries including Germany, Serbia and Slovakia, Christmas Eve is the day when the Christmas Tree is brought into the house and decorated.

Why is the day before Christmas called Christmas Eve?

Christmas Eve is the evening or entire day before Christmas Day, the festival commemorating the birth of Jesus. ... Since tradition holds that Jesus was born at night (based in Luke 2:6-8), Midnight Mass is celebrated on Christmas Eve, traditionally at midnight, in commemoration of his birth.

What is the traditional Christmas Eve meal?

Traditional Christmas dinner features turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and vegetables such as carrots, turnip, parsnips, etc. Other types of poultry, roast beef, or ham are also used. For dessert, pumpkin or apple pie, raisin pudding, Christmas pudding, or fruitcake are the staple.

What is done on Christmas Eve?

  • Just a day before the Christmas, the world celebrates Christmas Eve... The midnight mass is considered to be the most important Church service of the Christmas season across many traditions. Many people exchange gifts on Christmas Eve.

  • Carol singing is a huge part of mid-night masses on Christmas Eve. The carol is part of the Midnight Mass Communion Service on December 24 night.

  • Some people abstain from eating meat of any kind on Christmas Eve, while is some countries there is the Christmas feast is held before midnight mass.

  • Christmas Eve is the time when Santa, Father Christmas, Christkind, and Saint Nicholas set out to distribute gifts to those who have been good during the year.

Fun Traditions

There are different ways of celebrating Christmas Eve, and in recent times, the fun factor has also been included to it. Families spend time together in the following ways:

  • Children try to track Santa and even leave cookies for him near the fireplace.
  • There is a tradition of playing the elf in some families. While leaving a restaurant, they quietly pay the check for another family and wait outside to catch the look of pleasant surprise on their faces.
  • Family and friends snuggle up with hot chocolate and magical Christmas stories, listening to Christmas songs, or watch the famous movie Polar Express.
  • Siblings take this opportunity to have a slumber party and sleep in the same room.
  • Some spread the cheer by going around the neighbourhood singing Christmas carols.

Christmas Eve Quotes

Looking for the perfect quote to get you into the Christmas spirit? Browse Christmas Eve quotes and famous quotes about Christmas Eve on

Christmas Eve was a night of song
that wrapped itself about you like a shawl.
But it warmed more than your body.
It warmed your heart... filled it, too,
with melody that would last forever.
Bess Streeter Aldrich

It always is Christmas Eve, in a ghost story.
(Introduction to TOLD AFTER SUPPER)
Jerome K. Jerome

The story had held us, round the fire, sufficiently breathless, but except the obvious remark that it was gruesome, as, on Christmas Eve in an old house, a strange tale should essentially be . . .
Henry James

Christmas is the day that holds all time together.
-Alexander Smith

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
Calvin Coolidge

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!
Charles Dickens

Twas Christmas broach'd the mightiest ale;
'Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man's heart through half the year.
-Sir Walter Scott

The time draws near the birth of Christ;
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

Blessed is the season, which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.
-Hamilton Wright Mabie

A little smile, a word of cheer, A bit of love from someone near, A little gift from one held dear, Best wishes for the coming year. These make a merry christmas!
John Greenleaf Whittier

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.
W. T. Ellis

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat,
Please to put a penny in an old man's hat;
If you haven't got a penny a ha'penny will do,
If you haven't got a ha'penny, God bless you.
-Mother Goose

Christmas is a time when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ.
Bart Simpson

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
Charles Dickens

Christmas Eve ought to be a very joyful evening to us in all its associations, in all the truths which it naturally brings to the soul....
A man's soul is to be as the heavens were on the night when the shepherds looked up and saw them full of angels as well as stars.
Henry Ward Beecher

What Eve is like the Christmas Eve?
In any land, A day so granda So pure as Christmas Day.
Louis Charles

Christmas Eve Messages

  • Christmas Eve is a time to celebrate with your friends and family. May the peace and joy that Christmas brings always be with you and your family. Have a blissful Christmas Eve.
  • Hope this Christmas Eve fills your heart with love of God
    Wish you a very sparkling Christmas Eve.
  • May God make your life colorful, magnificent and joyful. Have a great time and wishing you a happy Christmas Eve.
  • May the holy occassion of Christmas embrace you with blissful memories.
    Have a cheerful Christmas eve.
  • Wishing you a Christmas eve full of enjoyment, success and memorable moments.