What is Second Christmas?

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I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Christmas with family and friends or however it is you choose to celebrate. Christmas at my house is usually a quiet affair. We live just far enough away from my family that winter travel can be tricky, so it’s usually just me, my husband, and my son. But to me, quiet time with my family, eating, opening presents, and watching Christmas movies and football is a terrific way to spend the holiday.

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This time of year I get asked plenty of questions about how the Amish celebrate Christmas and which days they celebrate. I can’t speak for Amish all across America, but I have talked with my Amish friends in Lancaster County about their holiday traditions.

Here’s what I know…

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They might not be as elaborate or numerous as the presents we exchange, but they give gifts to friends and family. I was told they prefer gift bags to wrapping paper and their presents tend to be useful rather than extravagant.

Members of an immediate family will exchange gifts with everyone—like a husband and wife will exchange gifts and buy presents for their children–but extended family may choose to draw names like my friend’s family does.

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Second Christmas seems to be one of the more confusing topics when it comes to Amish and holiday celebrations. I’m not sure why. But in order to help you understand Second Christmas, imagine the hobbits in Lord of the Rings and second breakfast. This is the same concept. Another breakfast, another Christmas. (BTW-I looked up second breakfast and Bavaria, Poland, and Hungary actually serve second breakfast! Love that idea!)

Amish families are so large it’s very difficult for them to visit everyone they would like to spend time with on Christmas Day. Second Christmas just gives them more time to visit and be with friends and family.

The children are out of school on Christmas and Second Christmas, then return the following day.

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Old Christmas can go by several names including Three Kings Day, Epiphany, Theophany, and El Día De Los Reyes. (It’s a big celebration among most Latin cultures.) Old Christmas is the last of the twelve days of Christmas and is considered the peak of the Christmas celebration in places like Mexico.

I’m not certain why this holiday has been tagged onto the Amish. I’m sure somewhere out there, a group of Amish celebrates Old Christmas and somehow it has been attributed to all.

second christmas www.amywritesromance.com

December 26 is Boxing Day in Canada, St. Stephens Day (or Day of the Wren) in Ireland, while Germany, Poland, Scandinavia and the Netherlands celebrate Second Christmas like the Amish. Many Americans will be out shopping today, getting those first after-Christmas deals. For me, twenty+ years working in retail cured me of wanting to shop when stores are busy. Besides, this day has another meaning for me. Today was Bernice, my grandmother’s, birthday. So today I like to spend a little time thinking about her and remembering all those special times. It’s a little like spending the day with family and time I truly cherish.

How about you? How do you manage to visit with friends and family all through the holiday season? Leave a comment below to be entered into this week’s drawing. I have three single copies of The Amish Christmas Sleigh still available.

And as always, thanks for reading!

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Thanks for helping me name my Kish Valley doll. Grace received nearly 50% off the vote! So here she is everyone…Grace from Kish Valley!

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11 thoughts on “What is Second Christmas?

  1. I kinda like the second Christmas ideal. We usually have family before Christmas my brothers sister and mom and all nieces and nephews. Then each day till and a few after we try to meet up with friends. This year was tuff I never got to do much I was sick almost all of December so I didn’t even have a tree this year. Look forward to any time i can spend with family and friends. Some is by cards. Love to own that book. I hope you and Stacey had a wonderful christmas with your families.
    Blessings
    Diana

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    1. Thanks, Diana! I was thinking the same thing about Englishers using Christmas Eve to spread their visits out a bit more, But I think Second Christmas is a great idea. Almost as good as Second Breakfast! Hope you are feeling better!! 🙂

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  2. My friend from the old neighborhood comes down even though she moved farther away. We have known each other since childhood. Thank you fr the opportunity to win this book.
    Marilyn

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  3. christmas my sister came over we just got moved in senior apt were are 1/2 unpacked we had steak and she brought apie she went up todaughter for christmas we were askedup therethanksgiving webusy packing we didnot want go no place my borother is coming up tomorrew i did.even bake all them fancy cookies tis year we like new place we lots ice yersterday very windy today nowtime relax

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  4. My Christmas is not as hectic as some of everyone else’s.
    Christmas was held at my sister’s house today. No big meal. We had sandwiches, meatballs, crackers and dip, etc.
    Gifts for my sister’s grandsons.
    Pretty quiet, really.
    Yesterday, I spent Christmas Day watching old shows on TV….after I attended Church Service.
    I am ready for the New Year…Pork and Sauerkraut. That’s a tradition!!

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  5. My family gathers Christmas Eve. We used to go to my Moms but the family is so large now 26 of us, with my mom, her children & their spouses her grandchildren & 2 greatgrands. Now we go to my brothers, we all visit together then Santa arrives & usually all the grandchildren get a gift from Santa. Santa has been visiting me my entire life & is the highlight of my Christmas, besides the birth of Jesus. Christmas Day we go out to dinner, but because the weather can be so unpredictable I always have something on hand just in case I need to cook. Christmas Day is just My husband, my one daughter, my widowed uncle & myself. We lounge around most of the day enjoying our gifts & each others company. That is if I’m not working!!

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  6. Over the years, our traditions and being with family and friends have changed for lots of reasons. Living 3,000 miles away from home with little ones, friends moving away, divorce, etc. So now our traditions are lots of fun again. Christmas Eve we go to my hubby’s sisters to be with her and friends. Christmas is with family, his side, no gifts, just time well spent with family and catching up. Then usually a week or so after Christmas my daughter, grandsons and girlfriends get together for a brunch, talking, laughing and gift exchanges.

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  7. I just cook for Christmas since I’m not working. I talk with my cousins on the phone and chat on the net. I’m happy with a quiet peaceful Christmas–avoid the stress, unless I have to make a trip to a certain big store with full parking lot.

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  8. I might have missed the deadline to enter the contest, but we have 2 weeks off at Christmas so manage to schedule a day with both families to celebrate. Thanks for the chance to win!

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