Skip to main content

A Brief History of Old Christmas and Why it is Still Celebrated in Amish Country 


A large population of Keim’s employees celebrate a holiday that has been long forgotten by many. This week, Keim will be closed on Saturday, January 6th for Old Christmas. What is Old Christmas and why is it celebrated by the Amish? Let’s take a look into the history of Old Christmas and how people in our unique community celebrate it.  
January 6th is known as Old Christmas, a day originally designated for celebrating the birth of Jesus under the Julian calendar. The shift to the Gregorian calendar by Pope Gregory XIII in the late 1500s moved Christ's birthday to December 25th. However, some groups, including the Amish, continue to honor it on January 6th. 

Do the Amish still celebrate Christmas on December 25th? According to most, they would reply that they celebrate along with anyone else who celebrates and observes Christmas Day on the 25th.  However, they also choose as a community to observe Old Christmas in addition. This tradition has been preserved for hundreds of years and is an opportunity for their culture to share a unique holiday.  

Old Christmas for an Amish household is similarly spent to any other holiday or a Sunday day of rest. Opposite the traditional festive lights and trees of modern celebrations, the Amish choose to spend holidays like Old Christmas in a more modest way. They will likely plan to have a special meal, visit with friends and family. and spend time reflecting on the reason behind the celebration.  

Because of the unique culture and community at Keim, our organization chooses to be closed on this holiday out of respect to those who observe it.  


Keim will be closed in observance of Old Christmas on Saturday, January 6th. We look forward to serving you for you home, building and woodworking needs when we reopen on Monday, January 8th at 7:00 am. Click here for the Keim event calendar.