Gordon Tours Israel Blog

Things You Didn’t Know About Christmas in Israel

Icon December 13, 2022
Icon By Shai Navon
Icon 0 comments

Everybody knows that celebrating Christmas in Jerusalem, Nazareth or Bethlehem is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After all, this is the land Christ was born in and walked on (and on water as well!).

But we bet you don’t necessarily know these cool facts about the Christmas holiday season, and how it is celebrated in Israel:

For Many Non-Christian Israelis, Christmas is Cool

When your main holidays highlight self-contemplation or the hard-fought flight from Egypt – understandably, many Israeli Jews have become drawn to the light-hearted Christmas cheer.

To be sure, this has less to do with theology and more with the joyful Christmas spirit, the lights, the bright colors, and maybe most of all – the cool tree. Christmas trees have become a winter accessory for some secular Israeli Jews. Since they are statistically unlikely to be invited to a Christmas dinner, because only 2.5% of Israelis are of the Christian faith, they figured they might as well organize their own!

Christmas in Israel

Almost All Israeli Christians Live Up North

As mentioned, only 2.5% of Israelis are Christians – and almost 85% of those live in northern Israel. With 13K Christians, Jerusalem is only number three on the list of Israeli cities with the largest Christian population. Above it, are the northern cities of Nazareth, naturally, and Haifa, followed by the northern towns of Shefar’am, Jish and Kfar Yasif.

In fact, 77% of Israeli Christians are Arabs, and Christian Arabs make up 7% of the Arab population in the country overall.

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You Can Celebrate “Chrismukkah” in Tel Aviv

Suppose you find yourself in secular Tel Aviv in the dead of winter, and you’re looking for some holiday cheer. In that case, the obliging Abraham Hostel has you covered with its annual “Chrismukkah” parties, combining a bar, a dance floor, a DJ, a Christmas tree, Hanukkah candles, and the famed Israeli Hanukkah donuts, called ” Sufganiyot.” Everyone’s invited!

The Abraham Hostel “Chrismukkah” might be one of the more widely known events, but there are many other lower key holiday parties all over Tel Aviv, with new ones popping up every winter.

Christmas in Israel

Tel Aviv Has a “Christmas Market”

A new trendy tradition in Tel Aviv’s cultural scene is a local version of the Christmas market. You’ll find hot chestnuts and warm wine, a theater featuring Christmas movies, designer and vintage clothing, hip home accessories, and – because this is Tel Aviv – even a dance floor!

Christmas in Israel

Obviously, there is a difference between attending mass in Nazareth or Bethlehem and attending a secular Christmas party in Tel Aviv, but Christmas cheer is all over the Holy Land. Visiting Israel during Christmas offers a unique opportunity to enjoy a different kind of Christmas alongside the more “classic” Christian experience and the holy sites pilgrimages Israel has to offer. Merry Christmas!


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