The official name of the Mormon Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Since our beliefs are centered on the life, atonement, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we celebrate Christmas like nobody’s business.
How do Mormons celebrate Christmas?
There isn’t one specific event or tradition Mormons practice to celebrate Christmas. It’s more about finding ways to celebrate the birth of our Savior and trying to live more like he did.
Here are a few traditions we do practice.
We Deck our Halls
And sometimes ourselves.
We watch the Christmas Devotional
Every year, the First Presidency of our church gives a Christmas Devotional. Each of the three Presidency members gives a brief sermon about Christmas and the one and only Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs beautiful music in their festive robes.
The LDS Conference Center during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional
This year, President Uchtdorf gave some advice that I love. It will no doubt come in handy when your Aunt Nora gives you a portrait of you she’s cross-stitched at the family gift exchange.
“Every gift that is offered to us—especially a gift that comes from the heart—is an opportunity to build or strengthen a bond of love. When we are good and grateful receivers, we open a door to deepen our relationship with the giver of the gift.”
I love thinking about not only being a happy giver, but also a grateful receiver of gifts.
We hold Christmas music programs
Like many other congregations, we use music as a way to worship Christ.
On the Sunday closest to Christmas, our main congregational meeting typically features a musical program. This year, my congregation in Los Angeles partnered with a Catholic congregation in the area. I was blown away by the caliber of the performances, especially the 7-year-old blond kid playing clarinet. Not sure if his mother is Mormon or Catholic, but whoever she is, I’m impressed.
We re-enact the Nativity scene
Some families have a tradition of dressing up and re-enacting the nativity story. This is usually reserved for children, which makes it less weird and more adorable than it sounds. Sometimes baby Jesus is your niece’s American Girl Doll. Sometimes it’s the family cat. But always the nativity re-enactment is well-intentioned, chaotic entertainment.
I have the great pleasure of being the only non-married adult in my family, and as such am at times forced to act like a child. I sleep in bunk beds, I jump on the trampoline, I participate in the Nativity skit.
A few years ago, Mother had obtained a handmade set of Nativity costumes from one of her friends. I’m sure you can now find them on Pinterest, because they were supes adorbs. One shepherd costume in particular caught my eye, as it was leopard skin. How progressive, I thought. The Leopard-wearing Shepherd. I’ll take that one!
I went to put it on and found that indeed it had been made for a child. Despite my best efforts to make it fit, I walked into the family room looking a little like this.
It was not so appropriate. But we had a good laugh, and I have not been made to participate in the Nativity re-enactment since.
Whether it’s caroling, giving gifts, or any other Christmas tradition, like most of the world we try to have a little more love in our hearts during this time of the year. But we do it all with the belief that Christ is the reason for the season. That his birth, life, death and resurrection are what make it possible for us to live happily in this life and happily ever after in the next.
I’ll leave you with these beautiful words about the spirit of Christmas:
“Whether we have experienced 9 Christmases or 90, still we are all children—we are all children of our Heavenly Father.
Therefore, we have it within us to experience this Christmas season with the wonder and the awe of a child. We have it within us to say, “My heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God”—the Giver of all good gifts.
With you, and with all those who desire to follow the gentle Christ, I lift my voice in praise of our mighty God for the precious gift of His Son.” –Dieter F. Uchtdorf
May we all remember to be grateful for the gifts we’ve been given, whether they be friends, family or a cross-stitch from Aunt Nora.
Merry Merry Christmas, from THE NORMONS