If you find yourself visiting during the month of December, there are plenty of ways you can celebrate Christmas in Israel. Despite the fact that the majority of the country is Jewish, there are still very unique ways in which you can celebrate the holiday. In fact, the Christmas you spend in the Holy Land might become your most memorable Christmas of all! Take a look at all the amazing events happening around the country, and feel free to reach out to us if you need help planning your own special Christmas tour in Israel.
Christmas in Jerusalem
Israel’s capital city is magical year round. However, tourists agree that during the holiday season, there’s just an extra spark that makes visiting there even more special. Here are some things to see while you’re celebrating Christmas in Jerusalem:
- Wander around the Christian Quarter of the Old City and visit the iconic Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where you can enjoy a beautiful midnight mass.
- The Jerusalem YMCA usually puts on Christmas events, such as a youth choir concert which will be happening this year on December 24th.
- Stroll down the Via Dolorosa, where visitors reenact Jesus Christ’s famous route with a cross on his back. To make this even more special, experience it with hundreds of others on Christmas Eve.
- Also at the YMCA between December 15-18, you’ll find an exciting Christmas market with something fun for everyone. Children can enjoy clowns and visit Santa Claus, and there are live shows, music, Christmas lights, and food and drink stalls for the whole family.
Christmas in Tel Aviv & Jaffa
Chances are you’ll find yourself spending some time in Israel’s most metropolitan city when you visit. Though Tel Aviv doesn’t have as much Christmas cheer as many other cities, it’s still possible to get into the holiday spirit while you’re here.
- Go for a stroll in Old Jaffa. On your way, admire the gigantic Christmas tree by the clocktower that is gorgeously lit up.
- Also in Jaffa, you’ll find a winter market on December 22nd and 23rd. You can enjoy some warm winter treats, an exciting fair, and even an ice-skating rink! Bring your whole family for what’s sure to be a fun day.
- While you’re wandering around Jaffa admiring the sparkling lights around you, you can also find Christmas events happening at different churches in the area. Check out the Franciscan St. Peter’s Church, Immanuel Letheran Church, or the Armenian St. Nicholas Monastary, all of which are opened for visitors.
Christmas in Nazareth
If you’re spending your Christmas in Israel, visiting Nazareth is a no-brainer. As the birthplace of Jesus Christ, Nazareth is a fantastic place to get into the holiday spirit.
- The city will officially light its Christmas tree on December 17th.
- Visit the Christmas fair & market, where everyone can enjoy different stalls of food, drinks, and crafts. The fair takes place between December 17th-22nd.
- Nazareth’s annual Christmas parade will be held on December 23rd and begins at 3:30pm. It’s advised to go early so you can get a good spot!
- All the churches in Nazareth will have a Christmas mass. The most popular one is at the Basilica of the Annunciation, and it begins at 7:00pm. There will also be a festive mass at 10:00pm.
Christmas in Bethlehem
Christmas in Israel isn’t complete with a visit to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. This city is known for it’s incredible and spiritual celebration, which is attended by many people every year.
- Wander around Bethlehem, where you’ll find Churches with many different holiday events going on. Admire the stunning lights and decorations around the city, and nativity scenes adorning the streets of Bethlehem.
- The most popular Christmas event in Bethlehem is the midnight mass on December 24th. Thousands of people, Christians and Muslims alike, gather at Manger Square for this special day. Many people attend and it can be difficult to get into the Church of the Nativity, so it is best to leave it to the professionals to organize. Contact us to plan your visit to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.
Christmas in Haifa
It’s also possible to celebrate Christmas in Israel in the north of the country. Jews, Muslims, and Christians living together in harmony in this unique city. If you’re in Haifa for Christmas, there are a number of interesting things to do:
- There are events happening nightly on the streets of Haifa, where you can enjoy a lit up Christmas tree, arts & crafts displays, and live music. The area around the German Colony is particularly known for its Christmas decorations and events.
- The yearly Holiday of Holidays festival celebrates the holidays of the three major religions found in the city: Hanukkah, Christmas, and Eid-al-Adha. For an especially unique way to celebrate the holiday this year, head to Haifa and learn about different cultures and traditions. The event runs between December 6th-22nd.
- The Stella Maris Monastery hosts a Christmas mass as well as a Christmas morning mass. Visitors can also go here to enjoy singing Christmas carols.
Wherever you may be for the holidays this year, whether you are spending Christmas in Israel, at home, or somewhere else, all of us at Mazada Tours wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year! If you need help on making your holiday tour in Israel even more special, contact us today and let us help you plan a perfect Christmas.