US Christmas Traditions by State :
In Alabama, Christmas trees are often used to offer gifts as they were in antebellum days. Children wake up to small toys and treats such as fruit and nuts tucked among the branches. A traditional dinner is a whole roasted pig.
In Arkansas, the Christmas Eve is usually marked by the family gathering together before going to bed and listening to the head of the family read out the Christmas story from Luke in the Bible.
Christmas in Arizona includes a Mexican ritual referred to as Las Posadas. This is a procession and traveling play representing Mary and Joseph searching for room at the inn. Families play the roles and visit each other to re-enact the drama.
In Alaska, a pole is adorned with a decorative star and brought from house to house by children who sing carols to those that open the doors. Other children, representing Herod's Men, follow the star and try to capture it.
In California, the Christmas season is celebrated with boat parades in the harbors. Boats are decorated and lit up like floats in a traditional parade and create nighttime processions through the water, passing houses that are likewise decorated and lit.
In Connecticut, children are welcomed to mark the Christmas season by visiting Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves, and even the reindeer in Torrington, where a Christmas village was established in 1947 and still attracts people during the Christmas season.
In Colorado, an enormous star made of lights is placed high on a prominent mountain in honor of the star of Bethlehem. This star can be seen for many miles all around and welcomes visitors and residents for the Christmas season.
During the Christmas season in Delaware, families take walking tours of the most historic areas, viewing the homes and public buildings that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. These buildings are decorated for the occasion.
In Florida, many families decorate the palm trees that grace their lawns and go to the beach for celebratory bonfires and seafood meals. Because the weather is often warm, many dinners are held outside so children can play with new toys.
In Georgia, the Christmas season is often marked with women creating baskets of homemade goodies such as cookies, breads, jams, jellies, and fudge to offer to the neighbors and family members. Toy and clothing drives collect gifts for the less fortunate children and adults.
Residents here send Christmas greetings to distant friends and relatives by shooting fireworks and guns across the sky. Here Santa Claus arrives on boat rather than in a sleigh with the reindeer and the traditional Christmas dinner is enjoyed outside.
In Illinois, the Christmas season officially begins on the last Friday of November with an enormous Christmas tree that is illuminated in the center of Chicago. This tree is actually created with more than 130 smaller Balsam Fir trees.
In Idaho, the season is merry and bright when the Holiday Light Show begins, offering more than a million lights twinkling and sparkling along the water at one of the state's most popular resorts. Cruise boats add animation and popular scenes.
Indiana: In Indiana, families come together on Christmas evening for a long, elaborate feast. This meal features roast turkey or goose, potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, and sauces, and is generally followed by a traditional Christmas pudding and pumpkin pie.
In Iowa, Christmas decorations are often created from natural evergreen trimmings and holly boughs. Families will collect these and then create wreaths, garlands, and other decorative elements that are placed around the home for beautification.
The Kansas Christmas season is celebrated with an Old Fashioned Christmas parade. Horse-drawn carriages, wagons, and coaches are decorated for the holiday season and guided along the route. In total more than 300 horses participate.
In Kentucky, Christmas is about celebrating with friends and family and gathering together to enjoy the holiday spirit. Children are delighted by visiting reindeer and riding holiday trains at Christmas festivals while local artisans sell unique gifts to eager shoppers.
In the famous city of New Orleans during the Christmas season a huge ox is decorated with holly and festive ribbons are tied to his horns. The animal is then made to walk along the streets while the people celebrate around him.
In Maryland, families gather together for a sumptuous Christmas Eve feast featuring wide variety of seafood, especially crab. Seasonal sand sculptures are set in the center of the town along with a huge Christmas tree.
In Montana, Christmas celebrations often take the form of open houses. Families decorate their homes in holiday splendor, lay out spreads of delicious savory foods and desserts and welcome guests to come in, enjoy music and socializing, and exchange small gifts.
In Michigan, lighting displays are taken to serious levels with entire homes being covered in twinkling lights. Revelers also take advantage of the snowy conditions to enjoy days filled with sledding, snowmobiling, and creating snowman displays.
In Missouri, the Christmas season is about connecting with friends and family while enjoying traditional, old-fashioned activities such as baking, decorating homes, and hosting open house parties. Traditional foods include goose, turkey, and gingerbread.
In Minnesota, Christmas comes alive with brilliant parades and shows that feature performers dressed as storybook characters, musical groups, and elaborate lighted floats. Over a million lights glow over the celebration every year as residents prepare for the winter weather.
In Massachusetts, Christmas caroling is an extremely popular activity. Groups of friends and family gather together, often dressed in Colonial or Victorian clothes, and travel on foot singing carols. The singing is generally accompanied by the playing of hand bells.
In Maine, the Christmas season welcomes friends and families to get out of the often bitterly cold weather and enjoy traditional pageants and parties. Lobster stew is a popular seasonal food along with spiced punch, clam chowder, and mincemeat pies.
In Mississippi, part of the Christmas celebrations often include gathering around a roaring fire and narrating ghost stories. One of the most commonly told stories is "A Christmas Carol" in which three ghosts come visiting.
In New York, Christmas celebration is often centered on the beautiful sparkling light and decoration displays that fill the city. Those living outside the city welcome the season with hot apple cider, eggnog, and dinners of roast goose and turkey. Know more about Christmas in New York
New Jersey :
In New Jersey, families mark the Christmas season with pageants and parades. Children often put on plays that depict the nativity or more secular Christmas imagery featuring carols, dancing, and the story of Santa Claus and the North Pole.
New Hampshire :
In the oldest neighborhoods of New Hampshire, the Christmas season finds the windows glowing with candles and festive decorations, usually of live Balsam trimmings, while inside residents warm spices, orange peels, and apple slices to fill their homes with seasonal scents.
New Mexico :
Christmas shopping in New Mexico often features browsing through art galleries enjoying seasonal displays, wine tastings, and special traveling meals. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day friends and family often attend concerts and enjoy Mexican-inspired foods.
North Carolina :
In North Carolina, women bake dozens of Christmas cookies and gather together for "cookie swaps". These evenings are filled with socializing and enjoying traditional foods while each woman is able to collect several cookies of each different recipe that was brought.
North Dakota :
In North Dakota, the men of families often go hunting for the meat that will be eaten for Christmas dinner, while the women create homemade decorations and gifts. Children often participate in the making of decorations such as stringing popcorn and making ornaments.
In Nevada, families get into the holiday spirit by attending the Christmas fair. Here, they buy handcrafted and unusual gifts and decorations, enjoy seasonal foods, and listen to festive music.
In Nebraska, Christmas celebrations center around the Christmas tree. Families go to Christmas tree farms for an afternoon of drinking hot cider or hot cocoa, choosing a tree, and purchasing trimmings in the form of wreaths, garlands, and centerpieces.
In Oregon many families carry on a tradition that was brought to this country by German immigrants. The final ornament that is placed on the tree is a glass pickle, which is then hidden at night. On the Christmas morning, the person who finds it I said to be blessed with good luck for the coming year.
Ohio residents look forward to the Christmas season as they can visit the historic areas that are adorned with nearly 4 million Christmas lights and feature miniature holiday villages, train displays, riverboats, and parades.
In Oklahoma, residents are drawn to the Christmas Kingdom, a castle that is the holiday home to over one thousand Christmas inflatable decorations as well as elaborate light displays and one of the largest Christmas trees in the country.
In the city of Philadelphia during the Christmas season, dancers hold what is called a mummer's parade. This procession runs for an entire day and includes music, performers, and dancers dressed in elaborate costumes and often on stilts.
Rhode Island :
In Rhode Island, the Christmas festivities kick off on the first day of December with celebrations in the historic areas, including lantern tours and light displays. Children are welcomed onto the Polar Express train and presented with special gifts as they drink hot cocoa and eat cookies.
South Carolina :
In South Carolina, Christmas celebrations are marked by families and friends gathering together for oyster roasts and parades comprising elaborately decorated and well lit boats. Culinary tours and guided tours of historic homes are a common tradition enjoyed during December.
South Dakota :
In South Dakota, celebrating the Christmas season is all about enjoying old-fashioned tradition. Families take horse drawn carriage rides through wintery landscapes and enjoy displays of lighted trees that are decorated to reflect different civic organizations.
In Tennessee, families head out into forests and farms to cut down the perfect Christmas tree that they then bring home and display prominently in the family room or parlor. The trees are traditionally decorated with popcorn strings, lights, and colorful glass balls.
Christmas in Texas takes a lot of influence from the South American tradition. Families eat meals of traditional Mexican foods and often participate in the after-Christmas tradition of Three Kings Day. Some people decorate cactus plants like they would decorate a fir tree.
In Utah, families and friends gather together during the Christmas season to enjoy horse drawn carriage rides, sleigh rides, and skiing. Elaborate light displays are the perfect complement to the sparkling snowy weather that characterizes the Utah winter.
In Virginia, people place candles in their windowsills at the beginning of the Christmas season. Candles at the windows are a symbol of hospitality and convey greetings to any body who passes by. The glow is meant to welcome travelers to come inside and celebrate the season.
In Vermont, Christmas is about spending time with those that are closest to you. Gifts are often homemade, with wives and mothers spending the weeks prior to the holiday creating quilts, clothing, samplers, and homemade food and treats to offer loved ones.
In Washington State, there are several traditions that were brought over from other countries in the days of settlement. One tradition finds families decorating Christmas trees with sparkling spider webs and spiders that represent the smallest creatures to witness the miraculous birth of Christ.
West Virginia :
In West Virginia, the Christmas season is heralded in by decorating the Christmas tree, usually cut down by the father and brought home to be displayed in the main room of the home. The traditional dinner features roast turkey and potatoes.
In Wisconsin, families gather together for elaborate, extended parties. Traditional foods are eaten and music and dancing continue till the wee hours of morning. Revelers party as long as they can, waiting for other guests to wander from other parties. Many attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve to begin the actual holiday.
In Wyoming, friends and family reconnect over the Christmas season by sending greeting cards and sharing news of the year with one another. Evergreen wreaths are decorated with other natural elements and hung on the front door to welcome guests.
Last Updated on : November 19, 2015