Christmas in Israel is a magical and meaningful experience for Christians. It is less commercialized than in much of the Western world, because Judaism and Islam are the two main religions of Israel. Despite that, Christmas in Israel is extremely meaningful for its historic and religious significance as the land where the Christmas story took place. Whether visiting Bethlehem for Christmas, experiencing Christmas in Nazareth, spending Christmas in Jerusalem or Christmas in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, it is sure to be a memorable experience!
Christmas in Israel generally coincides with Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of light which diffuses a festive spirit across the land. However, beyond this festive spirit, icons of Christmas will not be seen so much across the country. In areas with Christian populations such as Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth, the Old City of Jerusalem, and many Russian neighborhoods, symbols of Christmas will be visible.
Christmas in Bethlehem
If you are visiting Israel for Christmas, or just happen to be here and want to celebrate, the most popular place to go is the town of Bethlehem. Bethlehem is south of Jerusalem, in the West Bank. Here, magnificent and famous services take place on Christmas Eve in Manger Square. In the north of Israel, Nazareth, Jesus’s hometown, is also an interesting place to be for Christmas with many festivities.
The best way to visit Bethlehem during Christmas is to join a special Christmas tour that is arranged each year. The tour departs on Christmas Eve from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Herzliya. It takes you for a walk through the Old City of Jerusalem, and then to Bethlehem where you enjoy a festive dinner near Manger Square. before seeing the Midnight Mass celebrations.