What Are Some African American Christmas Traditions?

The holiday season is upon us, and it’s a time to come together with loved ones, share stories, and make memories. Every culture and community has its unique way of celebrating the festival. African-American culture is rich in history and heritage, and Christmas is no exception. This season presents a perfect opportunity to reflect on some of the traditions deeply rooted in the African-American community.


African Americans celebrate Kwanzaa as a way of honoring their African heritage. This cultural holiday takes place between the 26th of December and the 1st of January. The weeklong celebration is based on seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. On each night of Kwanzaa, families light a candle on a Kinara, a seven-candle holder. There’s also feasting, gift-giving, and storytelling.

Church Services

Attending church service during the holiday season is an African American tradition, and it’s an essential part of the Christmas celebrations. African American churches have a unique way of celebrating the festive season, with Christmas plays, gospel music, and special sermons. They come together to sing joyful hymns and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who is the reason for the season.

Soul Food

Soul food is a staple of African American cuisine, and it plays a vital role in Christmas celebrations. The mouth-watering dishes include collard greens, candied yams, ham, fried chicken, and macaroni and cheese. African American families cook for their loved ones and share the food in the spirit of the season. The feast is not only about the delicious meals but also about the warmth and love that comes with sharing a meal with loved ones.


African Americans take pride in decorating their homes during the holiday season. They put up lights, wreaths, and Christmas trees. However, they also incorporate African American art and decor into their decorations. For instance, handcrafted ornaments made with African fabric, Kente cloth, or black Santa figures. The decorations illustrate the proud history and heritage of African Americans.

The Giving Spirit

Giving is a vital part of the holiday season in African American culture. It’s a time for people to share their blessings with those in need. This may include giving to charitable organizations, volunteering at a food bank, or visiting the sick and elderly. African Americans understand that the season is about more than just receiving gifts but also about giving back and spreading joy and cheer.


Christmas is a time for togetherness, love, and celebration. African American culture is vibrant and unique in its traditions and heritage. Kwanzaa, church services, soul food, decorations, and the giving spirit are just a few of the many ways in which the African American community celebrates the festive season. These traditions reflect the strength, resilience, and pride of the African American culture. So, let’s enjoy this season with these remarkable African American traditions.

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