The Amish do not celebrate all the holidays that those around them do.
Celebrating Christmas is different too.
As might be expected, Amish Christmas customs are simple, oriented to the family and the religious meaning of the holiday. So, Amish children don’t visit Santa Claus in the store. There is no lavishly decorated Christmas tree in the home. And strings of colorful electric lights do not grace the front of the Amish house. But the making of special cookies and candies is certainly a part of the holiday activities. Greens and candles may decorate some home interiors. School children often pick names and exchange small gifts, such as writing paper or a needlepoint kit. Families usually exchange some small gifts as well. Some Amish also send Christmas cards, often to their "English" friends.
The Christmas church service may or may not be held on December 25th, but both Christmas and the following day, sometimes called "second Christmas," are holidays for the Amish. This second day is usually one of relaxation or visiting others. Christmas dinners are a special part of the celebration, These are usually large meals, not unlike those served at weddings, and various groups beside the family will hold get-togethers, such as single women, teachers, and others of like interest. These gatherings may continue into January and February of the New Year.
One of the highlights of the Christmas season, for children and their parents, is the Christmas program held in many of the one-room schools. Beforehand there is much rehearsal and perhaps some simple decorations made by the children for the school. At one Amish school, children worked on making a quilt showing the school and eight apple trees, for the eight grades. Each tree had an apple for each student in that grade, along with his or her name.
On the day of the presentation, carriages arrive and parents file anxiously into the room. Some, of course, may have more than one child attending in grades one through eight. Stories, plays, and songs are filled with humor and messages of the meaning of the season. And this is one of the few times you will ever see Amish children on a "stage" or "performing for an audience."