Christmas In West Virginia – Customs and Traditions

Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia.


West Virginia, nestled in the mid-Atlantic or southern United States, offers a distinctive setting for your Christmas holiday, promising an exceptional experience. Bordered by Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Maryland, its capital city, Charleston, beautifully embodies traditional holiday festivities. Understanding the historical context enriches your visit, recognizing that many traditions in Appalachia stem from the region’s settlers. Embracing the Christmas season here invites participation in various activities, from hitting the slopes to capturing moments with Santa.

Discovering West Virginia’s Christmas traditions unveils unique customs exclusive to the region. While much of the state celebrates in line with other Western nations, immersing yourself in these distinct traditions enriches your experience. Each region you visit offers encounters with individuals from diverse backgrounds, adding depth and richness to your holiday adventure.

Christmas customs and traditions in west Virginia

West Virginia stands as a tranquil haven for a delightful Christmas experience, offering a warm embrace to visitors seeking a memorable holiday. The region is adorned with various traditions and a welcoming community, ensuring a wonderful Christmas season. Here are some of the prevalent customs observed in West Virginia.

Christmas candles in West Virginia

A timeless tradition in the state involves placing candles in windows, signifying the residents’ presence and welcoming spirit during the Christmas season. This tradition offers a chance to engage with locals and partake in this iconic regional practice.

While modern times have seen a shift to battery-powered candles, the significance of this tradition remains deeply rooted in the region’s Christmas celebrations.

Christmas carols in West Virginia

Immerse yourself in the joy of Christmas carols during your visit. The tradition of caroling sees locals serenading their neighbors, often receiving gifts like fruits or money.

Some regions accompany this tradition with fireworks or shooting, adding to the festive ambiance. Typically led by young children, these carolers travel from house to house, spreading Christmas cheer throughout the area.

St. Nicholas Day

Celebrated across various communities in the state, St. Nicholas Day offers an opportunity to witness firsthand the festivities surrounding this occasion. Local communities organize feasts in honor of St. Nicholas, providing insights into the area’s history and diverse cultural heritage.

On this day, youngsters eagerly await gifts from St. Nicholas, while women often prepare a Swiss bread-shaped pastry enjoyed during these joyous celebrations.

Christmas tree in West Virginia

The Appalachian Mountains and forests offer an extraordinary backdrop for your Christmas holiday in West Virginia. Embracing the concept of the Christmas tree has become a prevalent tradition across the state. Families often venture into the forests to select their own tree, encountering various tree types in different regions.

Decorations such as mistletoe and pine cones adorn these trees, with mistletoe being particularly common, symbolizing an ancient tradition of kissing beneath it.

Fruitcake in West Virginia

Another cherished Christmas tradition in the region is the fruitcake, often referred to as whiskey cake. Some families complement this dish with mincemeat pie, alongside steamed vegetables, biscuits, and cured country ham, all embellished for the holidays.

Rosettes, a traditional delicacy of light, crispy, deep-fried pastries, also grace many West Virginian tables during the Christmas season. Gathering for dinner with friends and family remains a cherished tradition in households across the state.

Festival of lights

The winter festival of lights is a grand tradition spanning various parts of West Virginia, drawing in thousands of visitors. Spread across a 300-acre resort with a 6-mile stretch, the festival boasts over 90 displays, including a 300-foot rainbow tunnel adorned with diverse decorations.

Shimmering baskets float above the gardens, creating a mesmerizing ambiance during this festive period. A towering, decorated 70-foot tree illuminates the area with breathtaking lights, enhancing the Christmas experience.

Christmas in the Park

Chief Logan State Park hosts a cherished tradition, welcoming numerous visitors during Christmas. Thousands of twinkling lights adorn the park, offering a picturesque display of Christmas charm.

The park provides a perfect spot for friends and family gatherings, offering food and picnic amenities, inviting all to revel in the holiday spirit amid a delightful ambiance.

History holidays

To delve into the holiday history of West Virginia, a visit to Martinsburg is essential. Rooted in the colonial era, this area’s legacy traces back to the 1780s, reflecting its origins as part of the Virginia colony. Restored to its former glory, Martinsburg stands as an immersive historical site adorned with period-specific decorations, culinary delights, and music reminiscent of bygone eras.


Witness the tradition of Yuletide, reminiscent of European customs, during your visit to the region. Streets adorned with evergreen decor and charming sidewalk gnomes create a festive atmosphere. The town resonates with Christmas melodies while shops proudly display their seasonal offerings.

Specialty stores provide an opportunity to purchase unique gifts for friends and family, transforming the area into a captivating winter wonderland, and ensuring an exceptional Christmas experience.

Santa Claus

It is a common tradition around the state to find people celebrating the tradition in various parts of the state. Santa Claus has become a common figure for many people, especially young children around the state of West Virginia. It is believed that Santa will come and put the presents for the children under the Christmas tree and during your trip to the area you are going to find people decorating the Christmas tree and putting presents for the young children to find them on Christmas day. When exploring the state during your Christmas vacation you have the opportunity to purchase some of the gifts for your loved one and you can put them on the Christmas tree for your loved ones to find them.

Christmas parade in West Virginia

Celebrating the tradition of Santa Claus is a common sight across West Virginia. Particularly cherished by young children, Santa embodies the spirit of the season. Families decorate Christmas trees and eagerly await Santa’s arrival to place presents for the children underneath.

Exploring the state during your Christmas getaway provides an opportunity to select gifts for your loved ones, adding to the joy as they discover these surprises adorning the Christmas tree.

Bramwell tours

The Bramwell area elevates Christmas celebrations with its rich history. Once home to some of the region’s most affluent millionaires, this area boasts grand mansions, shops, museums, and banks. Visitors to the region encounter stunning views and iconic features, offering an unforgettable experience amid the historical opulence of West Virginia.

Holiday at the Arts Center

A prevalent tradition in the region is the emergence of Christmas and holiday markets, echoing traditions dating back to medieval Germany. Local vendors showcase hand-carved ornaments, nativity scene figurines, pottery, homemade jewelry, and more, providing an array of souvenirs and cultural items that embody the region’s traditions and craftsmanship.

Feast of the Seven Fishes

The Feast of Seven Fishes tradition, originating from southern Italy, holds popularity across different parts of West Virginia. Rooted in abstaining from meat on Fridays and during Christmas Eve, this tradition has found its place in the state’s celebrations. Families and communities indulge in a variety of seafood like sea bass, flounder, shrimp, and calamari during Christmas Eve. Other delicacies such as octopus and grilled eel are also embraced, creating a sumptuous feast that symbolizes both tradition and celebration during the Christmas period.


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Aurimas Bio

Hi there! I’m Aurimas, a man behind Go Look Explore. I’m passionate about hiking, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, and everything outdoors related. Let’s connect.