Mormon Christmas Traditions

Christmas lights at Washington DC Temple or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kensington, Maryland, USA
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Many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrate the holidays through similar activities. Find out some LDS Christmas traditions and see which ones are similar to your family Christmas traditions.

Christmas at Temple Square

One very common LDS Christmas tradition is for members of the Church to visit Temple Square at Christmas. Every year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decorates Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City with beautiful Christmas lights.

Another LDS Christmas tradition is to watch the Church's annual "First Presidency Christmas Devotional," which is broadcast from the Conference Center (at Temple Square) to church buildings worldwide.

Ward Christmas Party and Dinner

Many wards in the Church hold a Ward Christmas Party, which is often dinner as well. This fun LDS Christmas tradition is usually accompanied with a special Christmas program, performances, group singing, a special visit from Santa, and lots of food—even if it's just dessert.

Christmas programs sometimes include a portrayal of the Nativity, with children and adults dressed and playing the parts of Joseph, Mary, Shepherds, Wise men, and angels.

Relief Society Christmas Activity

Many local Relief Societies have an LDS Christmas tradition of holding a Christmas activity where sisters come to make Christmas crafts, take classes, and eat refreshments. Some wards even have a Relief Society Christmas dinner. These Relief Society activities are a lot of fun as sisters have an opportunity to mingle, chat, and get to know one another better.

Christmas Gifts for the Needy

One common LDS Christmas tradition is to help provide Christmas for those in need. This usually means gifts for children and food for the family. A local ward determines the needs of its members (and often others in the community who are not members) and asks for help from the rest of the ward.

Many wards set up a decorated Christmas tree in the Church building's foyer and hang Christmas tags from the tree. On these tags are the item's needs. For example, a tag may read, "girl's clothes size 5," "boy's toy age seven," "basket of fruit," or "a dozen cookies." Members of the ward take the tags home, purchase the items, and return them to their local leaders who organize, wrap, and distribute the needed goods.

Nativity Scenes

One common LDS Christmas tradition is to display a Nativity scene or portray the Nativity using live actors and sometimes even real animals. Some stakes hold an annual Christmas Nativity Activity where people throughout the community, of any denomination, bring their Nativity sets and display them at a local church building. All are invited to come to see the displays, visit with one another, and partake of light refreshments.

Christmas Service Projects

As members of the Church, we work hard to focus our efforts on serving those around us, including our neighbors, friends, families, and community. Local wards may have an LDS Christmas tradition of providing service at local hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities. Many times, the youth are organized to go Christmas caroling, visit the sick and elderly, and helping those in need with food, yard work, and other services.

Sunday Christmas Services

Another common LDS Christmas tradition is to hold special Christmas services on the Sunday before Christmas. During sacrament meeting, but after the ordinance of the sacrament, members often have a Christmas program where beautiful musical numbers are performed, talks centered on Jesus Christ are given, and Christmas hymns are sung by the congregation.