LDS Christmas Traditions

Christmas lights at Washington DC Temple or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kensington, Maryland, USA
Christmas lights at Washington DC Temple or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kensington, Maryland, USA. Steve Heap / Getty Images

Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrate the holidays through similar activities. Find out some of our LDS Christmas traditions and see which ones are similar to your family Christmas traditions.

Christmas at Temple Square

Salt Lake Temple Christmas
RichVintage / Getty Images

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

Smiling friends dining together at dinner party
Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

Many wards in the Church hold a Ward Christmas Party, which is often a 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

Preparing for Christmas, decoration of natural gifts with copy space. Top view of brush for drawing, ribbon, scissors, paint, gift boxes in kraft packaging, twigs Christmas trees
istetiana / Getty Images

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

girl with box of Christmas donations
asiseeit/Getty Images

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 items needs, for example a tag may read, "Girl's clothes size 5," "Boy's toy age 7," "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

Nativity scene on the town common in Greenfield, MA
John Nordell / Getty Images

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 see the displays, visit with one another, and partake of light refreshments.

Christmas Service Projects

Volunteer Serving Christmas Dinner at L.A. Mission
Joseph Sohm / Getty Images

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

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

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.

You are very welcome to come worship with us this Christmas season at a local ward/branch near you.​​

Christmas Cookies for the Prison

Full Frame Shot Of Gingerbread Cookies
Maciej Nicgorski / EyeEm / Getty Images

I once lived in a state that had an LDS Christmas tradition of baking Christmas cookies for those who are in prison. Each year Latter-day Saints would bake dozens of cookies (of all kinds) which were packaged in Ziplock baggies with a set of 6 cookies each. These cookies were then delivered by another organization which worked with the local prison to meet their specific regulations.

Each year, thousands of cookies are baked, providing a simple Christmas gift to those who often receive nothing for Christmas.

Join Us

Visitors are always welcome to join us in any of our Christmas activities, service projects, or worship services. Come worship with us this Christmas season by finding a local ward or branch near you.