How Do Israelis in Jerusalem Celebrate Christmas?

Experiencing Christmas in Jerusalem makes it very unique and special because that is where it all began. Find out how the holy land, Israel, celebrates Christmas.

By Carmen Slabbert
Edited by Taj Schlebusch

Published September 14, 2021.

Christmas in Israel is a delightful and significant event for Christians, but it is less commercialized than Western cultures. It comes from the historical and religious importance of the land where the Christmas story played off.

Celebrating Christmas in Jerusalem is a unique experience, especially if you celebrate it in Bethlehem, the little town where Christianity began.

How Israelis Celebrate Christmas

In the north of Israel, we find Nazareth, Jesus’s hometown, with several festivities taking place. In Nazareth, they decorate their Christmas trees, walk around wearing Santa hats, have street festivals, church services, and parties. The decoration of the Christmas tree indicates the start of the Christmas season.

Landmarks like YMCA and the local churches also celebrate with services, singing carols, and carol concerts. The Jerusalem International YMCA has an annual Christmas Eve concert in their majestic auditorium. These concerts act out parts of Christmas stories like the nutcracker, while the orchestra plays music and even people sing along to carols.

Where to See Jerusalem’s Christmas Celebration

In Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem, in the West Bank, are magnificent and famous services that take place on Christmas Eve in Manger Square. The Christian and Armenian quarters all get decorated for the festivities, making them sites to see.

The best way to enjoy Christmas in the Holy Land is to partake in the special annual Christmas tour. It starts on Christmas Eve from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Herzliya; traveling through the Old City of Jerusalem, continuing to Bethlehem where you enjoy a festive dinner near Manger Square, before attending the Midnight Mass Celebrations.

In The End

With all the beautiful Christmas lights and trees, it is surely an unforgettable experience to visit Jerusalem during December with all the excitement of Christmas.