1. The natural Christmas tree
Buying a natural Christmas tree, putting it in the car and decorating it at home with the family is the quintessential Christmas classic in the United States.
The trees are available in the so-called “Christmas Tree Farms”. These are seasonal businesses that are dedicated to “raising” large, tall, natural pines that will become beautiful Christmas trees each December.
Families usually get together and decorate the tree together, enlivening the evening with Christmas music.
The tree is usually placed next to the fireplace, where Santa Claus will come down to leave the presents.
2. Christmas decorations
Despite the prominence of the natural Christmas tree, there are also many other decorations that Americans take care of every Christmas.
It’s all about wreaths and Christmas lights. In the United States, regardless of the time of year, homes often have their front doors decorated with a wreath. This is changed every season of the year and at Christmas, by tradition, all Americans place their Christmas wreath on the door.
Regarding the lighting and decoration of the houses it is really like what you see in American movies. Some decorate them more than others, but in general there is no lack of light.
Some families put life-size figures or inflatables, and there are also houses that put snow machines in their gardens.
Taking a stroll through the streets of your neighborhood to see the “creations” of your neighbors becomes a most entertaining thing to do these days.
We have all heard of the famous mistletoe, not only in the American tradition.
It is said that when two people meet under mistletoe they should kiss and pick a fruit.
The origin of this tradition comes from the Greeks, who used it in ceremonies. They attributed to mistletoe the power to give life and fertility. It was also considered a peace plant that helped to reconcile when families, friends or couples clashed. By kissing under the mistletoe they would forget the problems they had had and reconcile.
This tradition was passed on to the English, who gave it a magical meaning and only on Christmas days. The ritual began when a girl was placed under the branch. There he could not refuse any kiss and such a kiss received would mean a deep romance. This plant does not grow by itself, it appears on the trunk or branches of trees, usually oaks, holm oaks and poplars. The fruit secretes a sticky liquid that when the birds try to eat it, it sticks to their beaks and they are forced to rub it on the branches and trunks, thus reproducing again.
4. Lighting of the National Christmas Tree
In the United States, the famous “national Christmas tree” is a huge tree located a few meters from the White House, in “The Ellipse”.
The lighting of the lights is carried out every year by the President of the United States, thus starting Christmas.
This event is broadcast on TV every year as a major event.
5. Elf on the Shelf
For the youngest members of the family, it is a fun Christmas tradition.
The famous elf appears the day after the Christmas tree is put up and his mission is to tell Santa Claus every night how the children have behaved, so they try to behave well, to make sure Santa will bring their toys on Christmas Day.
Every night, while everyone is asleep, this goblin mysteriously changes places inside the houses and in the morning the children have to look for him again.
Occasionally he plays pranks and appears in very funny positions, even leaving some notes. Here are some very creative examples.
6. The nutcracker or Nutcracker
This is another tradition for children as well as the elderly. From a very young age, parents or grandparents often take their children/grandchildren to the Nutcracker ballet. This is performed in most theaters in the country during Christmas. When this play appears on the billboard, we know that Christmas is here.
This famous play is admired by all Americans and tells how on Christmas Eve, young Clara receives a nutcracker as a gift in the form of a soldier. At night, the toys come to life, fighting the mice before the nutcracker-turned-prince takes the little girl away to his enchanted kingdom.
Usually, after watching this theater, children buy their nutcracker and hang it on the Christmas tree.
7. Socks for Santa
One of the most characteristic symbols of Christmas in Anglo-Saxon countries and in the United States.
The famous socks are placed in the chimneys. Each member of the family has their sock personalized with their name and inside them Santa Claus will leave candy and small gifts.
The Legend of this tradition tells that a father and his three daughters went bankrupt and every night they placed their work socks in the fireplace to dry. One Christmas day…they woke up with a surprise!
8. Sweets and candies
As in all countries, sweets are a must at Christmas.
In the United States we can highlight the “eggnog”, gingerbread cookies in the shape of a doll, the famous gingerbread house to assemble and put next to the tree and the fun “candy hunt”, which is about finding the famous red and white candy canes that parents usually hide around the house.
9. Christmas carols
Something striking and very nice to see are the spontaneous choirs of people singing Christmas carols in the streets of the urbanizations. The best known song sung by Americans is “Silent Night”. If you happen to be there and see a group, don’t hesitate to stop and listen to them.
In shopping malls there are also usually live choirs singing Christmas carols, in many of these the protagonists are children.
10. Christmas parades
As if it were our expected Three Wise Men parade, in the United States numerous Christmas parades are organized in all the cities of the country. In addition, there are also long lines to watch the parade in the front rows and enjoy the incredible Christmas spirit.
As you can see, Spaniards are missing nativity scenes, grapes on New Year’s Eve, big family meals and lottery. Christmas in the United States is experienced in a different way, but certainly with the same enthusiasm and spirit as in other countries.