Christmas in Wyoming – Customs and Traditions

The winter sunset in Jackson Hole.

Wyoming, nestled in the Mountain West subregion of the western United States, becomes a bustling hub during the Christmas holidays, making it an ideal travel destination for exploration. Despite being the least populated state in the country, it ranks tenth largest by area, promising a rich and immersive experience for travelers. The state shares borders with Nebraska to the east, while South Dakota, Montana, Utah, Idaho, and Colorado surround it, offering diverse landscapes and experiences.

Wyoming hosts an array of attractions, including national parks, historic sites, national forests, wildlife refuges, and fish hatcheries, each contributing to an elevated Christmas experience. With roots tracing back to indigenous communities inhabiting the land for millennia, the state preserves several traditions still prevalent today.

During the festive season, communities gather to relish the Christmas vacation, often participating in various activities, particularly within local churches, adding to the celebratory spirit and creating memorable experiences for visitors.

Christmas customs and traditions in Wyoming

The state of Wyoming beckons visitors to experience its unique Christmas customs, offering a firsthand glimpse into the region’s distinctive way of life. Interacting with the locals during this time allows one to partake in various traditions that define the area.

Common Christmas practices in Wyoming encompass elements like Christmas trees, Santa Claus, exchanging gifts, hanging stockings, and family feasts, all deeply embedded in the local culture. These traditions were initially popularized by the first European settlers who arrived in the region and have since evolved into customary celebrations.

Christmas dances in Wyoming

Among the prevalent Christmas traditions in Wyoming, dances hold a significant place. Originating from the participation of soldiers during the European settlement, these dances have become integral to the local customs during the festive season.

Families and friends also partake in these Christmas dances, offering a chance for visitors to immerse themselves in unique experiences synonymous with the region. Exploring these dances during your travels adds to the richness of your Christmas experience, as you join in with the local community.

Juniper Christmas tree in Wyoming

A globally cherished tradition, the Juniper Christmas tree finds its place in Wyoming as well. Witnessing locals heading to the forests to procure their Christmas tree presents a wonderful opportunity to engage with both the community and visitors from around the world spending their Christmas holidays in the region.

The juniper tree stands as the most popular Christmas tree in Wyoming, with male family members venturing into the forests to select the finest tree for their homes. Shaping the tree according to personal preferences is a customary part of the process.

Regardless of the specific region visited within Wyoming, finding a juniper Christmas tree to suit one’s taste and style is assured.

Christmas decorations in Wyoming

A prevalent tradition in Wyoming, participating in Christmas decorations offers an immersive experience worth engaging in. The materials used for decoration vary by region, encompassing carved wooden ornaments, gingerbread, cookies, colorful rags, popcorn strands, cranberry ropes, paper garlands, and more.

Some locales feature Christmas cards adorning trees to infuse a festive ambiance. In areas where space limits the use of trees, wreaths or adorned evergreen branches are common, emitting a delightful Christmas scent that enhances the holiday atmosphere.

Christmas stockings in Wyoming

Modern adaptations of traditions in Wyoming have reshaped the placement of Christmas stockings. With many households equipped with central heating, stockings no longer hang exclusively by the fireplace. Instead, you’ll find them placed beneath Christmas trees in various parts of the state.

These adult-sized stockings serve as holders for Christmas gifts and are often dispersed throughout the house. Essential for gifting, they remain a symbol of Santa’s arrival, carrying items like candies, apples, oranges, and other surprises, especially for the younger members of the household.

Santa Claus

Throughout Wyoming, belief in Santa Claus prevails, especially among children eagerly anticipating their presents. Homemade gifts are common, ranging from rag dolls, sachets, scarves, corn husk dolls, pillows, embroidered handkerchiefs, to socks.

Sewn quilts are also prevalent gifts exchanged among family members, providing an opportunity for meaningful interactions among friends and relatives during this festive season.

Christmas wish book

A deeply-rooted tradition in Wyoming, the anticipation for the Sears Roebuck and Co. catalog, showcasing Christmas gifts and toys, marks a significant event during the festive season. Originating in the early 1930s, this tradition has persisted for nearly a century.

Residents, especially rural children, eagerly awaited the catalog’s arrival by mail, flipping through its pages to peruse the array of Christmas gifts. Consulting with friends and family on the best gift choices from the book has become a common practice, making it an essential part of the Christmas experience.

Taking time to explore the catalog’s offerings can also inspire sharing gifts with friends and relatives.

Christmas dinner in Wyoming

Celebrating Christmas with a communal dinner is a time-honored tradition across various regions in Wyoming. Families come together to enjoy a feast, with dishes that differ based on local preferences. Typical offerings include domestic turkey, plump sage grouse, goose, venison, or smoked ham, reflecting the diverse culinary traditions.

Homemade preserves like jellies and jams from locally grown fruits find their place on homemade yeast rolls accompanied by homemade butter.

Potatoes, either mashed or stewed and served with gravy, are common in some areas. Additionally, pickled beets and side dishes like corn and canned beans, featuring summer garden produce, grace the table. Traditional desserts like fruitcake, mincemeat pie, and squash pie, topped with fresh whipped cream, add sweetness to the celebration.

Nativity scenes in Wyoming

While more commonly associated with Europe, nativity scenes find representation in various parts of Wyoming. These scenes typically depict Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the manger, and the shepherds. Churches play a pivotal role in promoting and setting up nativity scenes across the state.

Witnessing the active participation of children and communities in assembling these scenes adds to the festive spirit. The tradition holds significance in multiple regions, with younger members often joyously celebrating and contributing to these representations of the nativity story.

Christmas candles in Wyoming

The tradition of Christmas candles holds significance in Wyoming, notably within churches and religious organizations. Typically, four candles are lit, each representing the four weekends preceding Christmas.

These candles often come in varying colors, with most being pink, and a white candle for the last weekend before Christmas Eve.

Originating from Europe, this tradition has gained substantial popularity across Wyoming, where active participation in these traditions is commonplace.

Christmas parade in Wyoming

A longstanding tradition, particularly prominent in the capital city, Cheyenne, the Christmas parade marks a significant event in the state. With a legacy spanning nearly fifty years, this event draws participants from various corners of Wyoming.

During the festive season, people converge to engage in a myriad of organized city events, fostering connections among locals and visitors alike. The city hosts a countdown to the lighting of the community Christmas tree, bedecked with millions of lights, providing a spectacular sight and a chance for individuals to revel in the spirit of Christmas.

Christmas markets in Wyoming

Abounding in various regions, Christmas markets offer an opportunity to explore and discover unique items for personal use and as gifts for friends and family.

These markets boast a plethora of handmade and homemade goods native to the region. Visitors can browse through the stalls surrounded by fire pits, adorned with Christmas trees, and enjoy holiday lounge areas for relaxation post-shopping.

Live music fills the air in many places, accompanied by ready-to-enjoy food and beverages, inviting everyone to partake in the joyous Christmas spirit and engage with local communities.

Santa Saturdays

In various parts of the state, the tradition of Santa Saturdays has gained popularity, offering visitors a delightful experience during their travels. Families have the opportunity to engage with Santa Claus, fostering cherished memories in the region.

Additionally, these events often feature carriage rides, providing a magical experience for families to explore unique stores and indulge in local delicacies, adding to the festive spirit of the season.


Here are more Christmas traditions across different US states:

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.