I have studied different churches and denominations as a theologian. One that has always fascinated me is the Amish Church and its views on gift-giving during important holidays such as Christmas. Does it go against their modest lifestyle? Well, when I spent some time living in one of the most populated Amish communities in Lancaster City, I got to find out that it doesn’t. Amish people exchange Christmas presents! This experience gave me a lot of insight, which I apply today. Recently, my theology students and I were discussing the very same topic that once intrigued me: Amish people and Christmas gifts. I wasn’t surprised when my students were perplexed by the idea and couldn’t come up with appropriate gift ideas for the Amish. That’s where I came in because I knew exactly what to buy Amish for Christmas.
The Amish value practical and useful gifts during the Christmas holidays. They do not like flashy, wasteful, and unnecessary presents. The Amish community also appreciates receiving handmade and inexpensive gifts during Christmas since their culture dictates simplicity and modesty. Some Christmas gift ideas for the Amish include handmade clothes, farming tools, wooden toys, quilts, dolls, and home-baked goods.
In this article, I will take you through the Amish traditions and culture around giving and receiving gifts during Christmas. This is a comprehensive guide on what Amish people like and how these items are useful to them. I will also give tons of helpful Christmas present ideas that you can reference the next time you are gifting special Amish people in your life.
What Do Amish Give Each Other As Christmas Gifts?
Amish people usually give each other handmade and practical gifts during Christmas. Useful gifts that can be used in the house and around the homestead are cherished in the Amish Church since it does not subscribe to the modern secular world. For instance, women and older girls get household items to help them cook, clean, sew, take care of children, etc., while men and older boys receive farming and construction tools. Younger Amish children can get handmade toys, dolls, and clothes as Christmas gifts. In general, the presents Amish people give each other during Christmas are inexpensive or cost-free. It is a common tradition among Amish families and school children to pick names from a hat to get gifting partners who they surprise on this special day.
Do Amish People Believe That Santa Plays A Role in Christmas Gift?
No, Amish people do not believe that Santa plays a role in Christmas gifts. Many people may be shocked to learn Amish people celebrate Christmas, but this holiday is one of the few commonalities between them and the “outside” world. Even though the Amish Church acknowledge Christmas, they do not celebrate it like many people do, for they do not believe in some normalized Christmas traditions. One of them is the concept of Santa Claus and his delivery of presents on Christmas Eve. The Amish believe that Christmas is a holiday for celebrating Jesus Christ. According to their customs and traditions, Santa Claus takes away from the day’s true cause. Instead, the Amish focus on the religious aspect of Christmas, as well as family and friends.
16 Christmas Gift Ideas
Because Amish people like useful Christmas gifts over flashy, elaborate ones, coming up with appropriate present ideas may be tough. But here are 16 Christmas gift ideas you can consider the next time the holidays roll around:
With Amish men being excellent farmers and field work being one of the most popular jobs among the Amish, tools of the trade make for good Christmas gifts. Some inexpensive farming tools that may be greatly appreciated by the Amish include hay loaders, hand-held scythes, hand-cracked seeders, grain drills, discs, rags, and plows.
Footballs and Basketballs
For leisure, Amish boys and men enjoy playing makeshift football and basketball, so as a thoughtful Christmas gift, footballs and basketballs will be great. They can be rustic and handmade or purchased for a very cheap price.
Aside from farming, the Amish (especially men) fish for food. Therefore, fishing tools and supplies will be fantastic for the community. Some helpful equipment you can consider giving as Christmas gifts are weighted floats, fishing spears, grips, and fishing pliers.
For young children, wooden toys are amazing Christmas gifts. They may be hand-crafted in the shape of cars, horses, trains, and many other fun figures. Doll houses and furniture can also be made from wood and gifted to young girls for the Christmas holidays.
Handmade Quilts and Linens
With sewing and stitching being some of the most common skills among Amish women and young ladies, handmade quilts, linens, and rugs are well appreciated. They love patterned pieces, especially those with their traditional prints, such as the Sunshine and Shadow quilt pattern, the Star of Bethlehem quilt pattern, and the Log Cabin quilt pattern.
Amish men are known to be highly skilled woodworkers who make a lot of items with their carpentry skills. They make all types of furniture items, tools, birdhouses, and toys. For their carpentry, you may gift them various supplies like screws, tool kits, saws, buffers, planes, and many others.
Wooden baskets come in very handy for Amish people, especially women, since they can be used to collect a fresh harvest from the gardens and fields. They can also act as decorative storage units for supplies around the house. But that’s not all. Wooden baskets also come in handy for gardening. The baskets’ versatility makes them a top pick for Amish Christmas gifts.
Homemade Goods and Snacks
The festive Christmas season is a time for food sharing among the Amish. Therefore, homemade cookies, loaves of bread, cakes, and other baked goods are great gift ideas for the entire family. Aside from oven-baked items, other food gift ideas are jars of fruit preserves and honey. Amish kids will also appreciate sweets and chocolates as Christmas presents.
Another popular pastime among the Amish is board games. For instance, they love playing checkers. Most of their board games are wooden and handmade, so this is a very thoughtful Christmas gift for men, women, and children.
With bread-making and baking being one of Amish women’s favorite house-making activities, a simple but beautiful bread box will be well received as a Christmas gift. Amish people tend to lean toward more rustic designs, so whether you are buying or making them, keep this in mind.
For the household, many Amish women appreciate simple cooking tools, dishes, and china, therefore, plates, pots, spoons, and baking tools will be perfect gifts. These appliances are practical and inexpensive, which is what Amish culture calls for during gift-giving.
For Amish girls, homemade ragdolls are a great delight, so why not gift them these during Christmas? They could be bought, but as you know, the Amish cherish hand-crafted items. Traditionally, these dolls are faceless and come with no makeup or fancy doll clothes.
Amish kids (both boys and girls) will love storybooks as Christmas gifts. They can be religious or fictional books. Books about Amish culture and history are well received. If you do go with this idea, though, keep in mind that the book/s must follow Amish beliefs and be appropriate for children.
Another good Christmas gift for the whole family would be handmade clothes. Amish people make many of their clothes since sewing is one of Amish women’s greatest skills. Receiving handmade clothes during the holidays will, therefore, make them very happy. Men can get jackets and sweaters, while dresses and prayer caps are great for women. Children can also get handstitched socks and shirts.
Bibles and Hymnbooks
Since their religious beliefs are at the center of the Amish Christmas celebration, another fantastic gift idea would be Bibles and hymnbooks. They are simple, inexpensive, and appropriate for all community members. Without a doubt, these two are foolproof Christmas gifts.
Furniture and Household Décor Pieces
Amish people value well-crafted furniture and décor items, so it is common for them to gift each other pieces during Christmas. Among the popular Amish indoor items they love are handmade pillows, lighthouse shelves, cheval mirrors, and other antique decor.
Where to Get Christmas Gifts
As mentioned earlier, Amish gifts are usually handmade or very inexpensive, so you can make or buy them. You can craft baskets, wooden toys, décor items, and bread boxes using cheap supplies. If you are not skilled enough to hand-make the items, there is the option of purchasing them. Gifts such as Bibles, storybooks, cooking supplies, farming tools, and carpentry equipment are easy to find and low in cost. If you are looking for extra unique items, plenty of online retail shops specialize in appropriate Amish gifts. They include Amish Farm and House, Amish Baskets, Lehman’s, and Good’s Store.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.