How to Celebrate Christmas Traditionally

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I get a kick out of it when people claim they are celebrating a Holiday “traditionally,” particularly Christmas.

I won’t go into all the details, but here is what a truly Traditional celebration of Christmas would be like in the Christian Western and the Byzantine Christian Eastern Traditions.


No pre-Christmas parties during the four weeks (Western) or 40 days (Eastern) before Christmas. Fasting and abstinence in the West, Fasting in the East (no meat, fish, eggs or dairy many days, fish and wine allowed on some days). Generally low or no alcohol consumption.

You can put up a Christmas Tree, of course, during this time.

On Christmas eve, Italians would have the Seven Fishes Supper.

Beginning Christmas Day:

Feasting and Christmas Parties from December 25 – January 4. In the East, fasting on Jan 5, and then a big Feast on January 6, Epiphany/Theophany.

From January 6 – February 2:

Christmas decorations stay up, general time for parties and gatherings.

A little different from what many think is “traditional,” no?


Steven A. Armstrong
Tutor, Editor, Consultant

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