Aaah, Christmas in Israel. After spending many a Christmas here in Israel, we’ve gotten to know exactly what makes the Holy Land tick come Santa time!
You might be forgiven for wondering if the Holy Land actually “ticks” at Christmas, but, if you look hard enough, there’s plenty beyond the super obvious trek to Manger Square in Bethlehem (but if you are looking to visit Bethlehem, this is one budget-friendly Christmas Eve tour you won’t want to miss).
We highly recommended you check out our Top 10 things to see and do to feel festive in the Holy Land, that should give you a great starting point on what to look out for over Christmas.
In addition, we’ve collected some of our popular Christmas articles below… they should give you an idea of what, where, and how to celebrate Christmas in Israel!
Christmas in the Holy Land
This is a great introduction to Christmas in the Holy Land, and what you can expect from a wee visit to Israel during the festive season…a must-read for the first-timer to Israel over Christmas! If you’re expecting a gloriously festive Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, with tinsel hanging from every shop window, you might want to have a rethink…
Buuuut…if you’ve had Christmas in Israel on your bucket list for a lifetime, there’s still plenty enough to enjoy, and hey, it’s way more spiritual and carries a whole lot more meaning celebrating it in the Holy Land rather than back home. Are we right or are we right?
Celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem
This is the official guide to what’s on in Bethlehem over the Christmas period, including the famous Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity. Well worth a visit, just for the Christmas vibe you can get from the others joining you in Manger Square! Of course, the ultimate option is to join this budget-friendly Christmas Eve tour that takes care of all the logistics (you can do it on your own of course, but it’s so much easier this way)…
Celebrate Christmas in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth
This article includes an official guide to what’s on in Nazareth this December (scroll down past the Bethlehem events to see). You might be surprised to know there’s an annual Christmas Parade, plus a Midnight Mass in the ever impressive Church of the Annunciation! And there is also an annual Christmas Market in Nazareth that typically lasts for a week or so in the run-up to Christmas (not quite the Christmas markets you might be familiar with back home, but hey, it’s a market, it’s Christmas in Israel, what’s not to enjoy!).
Celebrate Christmas in Tel Aviv
To be honest, you could walk the streets of Tel Aviv through December and not have an inkling that Santa was about to visit. There will be areas that might have a couple of Christmas-friendly shops, particularly in Jaffa and South Tel Aviv. But unless you’re going to stay at a hostel or a very Christmas friendly hotel, you’re not going to get much of a Christmas vibe. This article will give you a flavor of what a Christmas-hungry tourist in Tel Aviv will go through…
See also our new guide to some of the events happening over Christmas in Tel Aviv
Additional reading to get you in the mood for Christmas in Israel…
- Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem – the location of Jesus’ birthplace, perhaps the ultimate Christian pit stop during a Christmas visit to the Holy Land.
- Yes, there are TWO Bethlehems in Israel!
- Get really festive at the annual Holiday of Holidays in Haifa!
- Christmas vs Hanukkah – New Jewish immigrant Scott tells us how he celebrates in Israel.
- Mince Pies in the Holy Land – the annual quest for mince pies!
- It’s Christmas time, and there’s no need to…celebrate?
- A Christmas message from Jesus himself (WARNING: not for the easily offended)