By Kevin Williams
The above poem, which was published on Amish Country News, is originally from a book called "Getting Ready for Christmas" by Emma Lapp. The book is out of print and no longer available, because that is one that I'd love to get my hands on. It was published years ago and compiled by an Amish woman in Lancaster County who compiled a book full of Plain holiday customs and traditions. A few days ago we did a post of "Amish Christmas basics" but here are a few other trappings of Christmas that you might observe in an Amish home.
SLEIGHS: For the Amish, sleighs aren't something relegated to carols and stories, they are real modes of transportation that become extra festive around Christmas if there is snow on the ground.
CHRISTMAS CAROLING: Among some groups of Amish, especially more evangelical New Order ones, Christmas caroling is very much part of the holiday. They'll sometimes visiting nursing homes in a nearby town, Amish shut-ins, or go caroling door to door in their community.
CHRISTMAS PROGRAM: Most Amish schools host an annual "Christmas program" where the students (many Amish refer to them more formally as "scholars") put on a Biblically based play with traditional music. The program is a big thrill for parents who gather at the school to watch their children in action. Often a potluck follows and then the school doors shut until after the New Year arrives.
SECOND CHRISTMAS AND OLD CHRISTMAS: This varies greatly from Amish settlement to Amish settlements, but in some communities Dec. 26 is celebrated as a holiday called "second Christmas." Amish Country New describes it as "a day usually of relaxation or visiting others. Christmas dinners are a special part of the celebration, These are usually large meals, not unlike those served at weddings, and various groups beside the family will hold get-togethers, such as single women, teachers, and others of like interest." Not all Amish communities observe this, ditto for January 6 which some Amish settlements celebrate as "Old Christmas", the 12th Day of Christmas.